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Electroshock Therapy: Kitty Dukakis And Husband Campaign To Destigmatize Therapy For Depression

By Donna Marie Lapena Padua , Jan 18, 2017 01:29 PM EST
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Wife of former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis reportedly undergoes electroshock therapy to treat her depression. The world has been familiar with how Kitty Dukakis confronted her depression which started in the late 1980s. As alcohol and amphetamines did not work for her, but rather sparked an addiction within her, Kitty started to get help for her situation through the stigmatized electroshock therapy.

Kitty reportedly started to use electroshock therapy or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) since 2001 at the age of 64. Reports reveal that Kitty has been asking her depression which started when her husband Michael lost the presidential election in 1988 to George Bush. Kitty then admitted that she limited herself into a glass of vodka every night until she ended up binge drinking. Trying to manage her addiction and depression, she tried rehabilitation, talk therapy and antidepressants, but none of these reportedly worked for her.

Desperate to redirect her life, Kitty turned into a more daring treatment which for most people is a form of torture. Since it was presented in the 1975 movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," electroshock therapy has been out of the radar, but Dukakis reportedly took the risk. According to the NY Times, Kitty felt instantly alive after her first therapy session, making her and her husband advocates for ECT.

Fifteen years after the first shot of the therapy, the Dukakises have emerged as the most prominent evangelists for electroshock therapy in the United States. Reports say that Kitty, at 80, still continues to receive maintenance treatment with seven or eight weeks-interval and under the direction of her doctor Charles Welch. She admitted though that she experiences minor memory lapses as a side effect of the treatment, but acknowledges that the therapy killed her demons and stopped her from drinking, smoking and indulging in antidepressants.

Kitty went public about her involvement in electroshock therapy in 2006 through her book, "Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy." From their talk with the Morning Edition, Michael and Kitty tried to enlighten people about the procedure which most people look at as a way for torturing. Host David Greene asked for comparison between the real life ECT process with that shown in the movie and Kitty revealed that the modern day procedure is far from that of the 70s and that the therapy is continuously being renewed.

Currently, the Dukakises are holding a support group at their Victorian home in Boston. The couple is also managing a website where they answer people who are seeking guidance regarding the therapy. Michael and Kitty's efforts already extended to persuading the Department of Veterans Affairs to make ECT more accessible in the nation. Kitty is also giving speeches throughout the country and overseas regarding facts about electroshock therapy.

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