Famous Shock Therapy Patients

Famous shock therapy patients include Dick Cavett, Lou Reed, Thomas Eagleton, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath. How they feel about ECT.USA Today Series

Dick Cavett, talk-show host. "In my case, ECT was miraculous. My wife was dubious, but when she came into my room afterward, I sat up and said, 'Look who's back among the living.' It was like a magic wand,'' he wrote in People in 1992.

Lou Reed, rock musician. "Lou's conservative parents, Sidney and Toby Reed, sent their (17-year-old) son to a psychiatrist, requesting that he cure Lou of his homosexual feelings and alarming mood swings. . . . Lou suffered through eight weeks of shock treatments haunted by the fear that in an attempt to obliterate the abnormal from his personality, his parents had destroyed him,'' according to Transformer: The Lou Reed Story.

Thomas Eagleton, former Democratic senator. He lost the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1972 when it was revealed that he received shock treatment for depression.

Ernest Hemingway, writer. He had shock therapy at the Mayo Clinic in 1961, shortly before committing suicide. He told biographer A.E. Hotchner, "What is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient.''

Sylvia Plath, poet. She wrote a shock therapy scene in her autobiographical novel The Bell Jar: "I wondered what terrible thing it was that I had done'' to get shock therapy.


next: Fighting Postpartum Depression
~ all Shocked! ECT articles
~ depression library articles
~ all articles on depression

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2007, February 18). Famous Shock Therapy Patients, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Last Updated: June 22, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info