Parnate – 1, ECT – 0. A personal narrative

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  • Post last modified:28 July 2022

A personal narrative. Parnate – 1, ECT – 0

Those familiar with my writing will be aware that I concentrate on scientific evidence rather than anecdotes and case histories. However, when I was reading over my recent editorial about the ever declining use of MAOI antidepressants (1), I decided that a real case history of one of the many people who communicate with me about severe illnesses, via the website, might be helpful for all. So below I publish the detailed account sent me by this man (with his permission) preceded by my brief summary of what I consider are the key points and lessons to be gleaned from it.

I am aware that some colleagues are influenced more by personal experience and emotion than by science. When I was writing the lines in the editorial about how MAOIs are quite frequently successful even after ECT has failed, the story of a professional man who had had a long history of severe illness, that had failed to respond to many treatment attempts, including to a few dozen ECTs, was very much in the forefront of my mind. It made me reflect yet again on how many hundreds of people there surely are ‘out there’ in similar situations who would be greatly and easily assisted by an MAOI.

If only more of my colleagues would overcome the views that they hold a great many people could be helped.

So, here is the story of this man, who coincidentally contacted me about the time I was writing the editorial.

To be posted soon …


1. Gillman, PK, “Much ado about nothing”: Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, drug interactions and dietary tyramine. CNS Spectr, 2016.

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Dr Ken Gillman