For many -- if not most -- of us, the term electroconvulsive therapy or ECT brings to mind an upsetting illustration of the therapy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. But for Amy S.F. Lutz, a mom of five whose 15-year-old son Jonah has autism and a history of frequent, unpredictable rages, ECT is a lifesaving treatment.
Where anti-psychotic drugs failed and may have led to frightening, possibly permanent side effects like dystonia, tardive dyskinesia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome, ECT has proven both effective and without worrying side effects. Thrilled by the results, Amy wrote Each Day I Like It Better: Autism, ECT, and the Treatment of Our Most Impaired Children to raise awareness about the widely misunderstood therapy.
Amy recently talked to The Stir about what led her to turn to ECT for Jonah, why there's such a stigma around it -- especially for kids -- and what she advises other moms who feel it may be right for their child.