New therapy helping patients deal with depression

Electroconvulsive therapy has shown life-changing results

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HOUSTON- – For Karen, depression loomed over her life like a dark cloud.

"That darkness is so profound and so all-encompassing that there's no way to really describe it,” said Karen, who requested that her last name not be used for this story. 

It started in her youth, and after a back injury nearly 20 years ago, Karen says her depression intensified.

“Every day was just a struggle to be alive," she said. "I didn't do activities of daily living. I just wanted to be dead all the time.”

She tried several medications over the years, at least six different ones she can remember.

"They would work for a couple or three months maybe," Karen said. "Towards the end of that period of time, nothing was working at all. Didn't matter what medication I took, it didn't work.”

Then, last August, her doctor told her about a treatment being offered at UT Health’s Harris County Psychiatric Center.

The treatment is called electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT.