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From Darkness to Light: Reid’s Second Chance at Life Thanks to ECT at UF Health

Reid sitting on a bench

Reid Schreiber lived in a state of darkness for 15 years, his depression consuming him. The mental toll affected his physical health as well. Despite various mental health treatments, Reid’s depression persisted. Desperate to end the pain, Reid unsuccessfully attempted suicide.

Although his first symptoms of depression began at age 14, Reid did not feel the disorder’s full intensity until he was 16. From then on, Reid was flooded with thoughts of suicide.

Reid received therapy and medication. Neither, however, freed him from this burden he had been carrying for over a decade.

“It was really uncomfortable being in my own skin,” Reid said. “I was really going down a dark hole, and talking through the problems wasn’t really helping that much.”

At age 25, after what Reid described as “being in the darkest place I’ve ever been,” he learned about electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT.

ECT is a medical procedure performed to relieve symptoms of a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, when other forms of treatment have been unsuccessful. By sending small electric currents through the patient’s scalp, a controlled seizure occurs in the brain. This pain-free procedure alters the brain chemistry with the goal of alleviating or completely reversing symptoms.

With its high success rate, ECT is considered a very effective option for people like Reid who are facing treatment-resistant depression. Though initially nervous, Reid trusted his UF Health doctors and grew comfortable with the treatments.

“It became something I looked forward to a little bit,” he said, “because I was getting that darkness taken away by the treatment.”

Reid sitting on a bench looking at the sky
Reid Schreiber suffered from depression before getting help at UF Health.

Through ECT treatment at UF Health, Reid’s dark reality was quickly transformed into a brighter, more positive future. He was able to stop what he described as a 15-year “cycle of self-destruction.” For Reid, ECT’s benefits included a new mindset.

“I started to challenge the negative thoughts that were coming up, reframed them and came up with alternatives to the very pessimistic, self-destructive thoughts,” he said.

Now, using what he has learned and experienced from his journey, Reid empathizes with and supports those going through similar experiences.

Reid, like so many others, turned his life around with the help of this innovative therapy. With a commitment to proper treatment and care, UF Health can help those who feel helpless.

For more information about UF Health’s treatment options for depression, visit the UF Health Psychiatric Hospital.

About the author

For the media

Media contact

Peyton Wesner
Communications Manager for UF Health External Communications (352) 273-9620