Electroshock Therapy is ‘Absolutely a Miracle’ for Arlington Man (page 2)

Jumpstarting the Brain to Restart a Life
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Morry Efrach, in 2013, one year into electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) every 6 weeks for life. His depression symptoms are gone; his cancer is in remission. (credit: Kimberly Suiters)

Morry Efrach, in 2013, one year into electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) every 6 weeks for life. His depression symptoms are gone; his cancer is in remission. (credit: Kimberly Suiters)

Kimberly Suiters, All News 99.1 WNEW (Credit: CBSDC.com) Kimberly Suiters
All-News 99.1 WNEW Reporter Kimberly Lohman Suiters is ...
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“My first or second ECT treatment, that dark cloud receded. I opened my eyes and realized, all those things I had passion about, music, restaurants, friends, drinking, all those things that were gone started to come back.”

ECT has roots in the 16th century, when doctors induced seizures in patients to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions. The therapy gained more traction in Europe throughout the 1940’s and 50’s, but then saw a decline, due predominantly to negative public perception. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” might have been the worst jolt shock therapy ever received.

By 1985, the National Institutes of Health deemed ECT the “most controversial treatment in psychiatry.” There was widespread agreement in the medical community that it could jumpstart the brain, but the benefit did not last, with most patients relapsing within six months. Today, NIH reports that ECT, performed only when patients are under anesthesia, is “very effective” and “generally safe treatment for depression.”

Efrach calls it painless. And miraculous.

“For people who saw me go from stage IV, near death, to, knock wood, healthier, more invigorated, they can’t believe it. It brings tears to their eyes. It absolutely, no doubt in my mind, is a miracle.”

Efrach confesses the caffeine he’s drinking is starting to kick in, and his mind flows with ideas about how to rebuild his real estate business, yes, but now he wants to inspire, motivate, and invigorate the lives of those around him, starting with his family. Adriana does not tire of telling friends, with a smile and a fist-pump, “My Morry is back. He is really baaaaack.” Their three children tend to cuddle up to him more often, he says, having faced the fear that they might never see their father healthy again. Efrach doubts there are many people who feel as awake to life as he does.

“I don’t believe that for a minute! I look around and I don’t see the passion, the drive, the glow that they could have.”

Off all other medication for depression, Efrach may need ECT to keep his brain in balance forever. Every six weeks, he undergoes the shock therapy. But he brushes it off with a pink-cheeked smile, the sunshine twinkling in his bright blue eyes.

“A tune-up. Just a tune-up. And when my friends at the gym see how much energy I have, how much I enjoy my life, they almost wish they could get this ECT too.”

Almost.

Morry Efrach in 2009, one year before a journey through stage 4 lymphoma, severe post-chemotherapy depression, and electroconvulsive therapy. (credit: Kimberly Suiters/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

Morry Efrach in 2009, one year before a journey through stage 4 lymphoma, severe post-chemotherapy depression, and electroconvulsive therapy. (credit: Kimberly Suiters/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

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