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Dick Cavett - Actor, Author, Host

Electroconvulsive therapy made a big difference to him


Updated June 30, 2006

Dick Cavett was one of the first celebrities to talk publicly about his experiences with major depression. He has said that he began to experiences periods of debilitating depression when he graduated from college in 1959, at the age of 22. In 1975 he was given an antidepressant which worked well, but once he felt recovered, he discontinued the treatment.

In 1980, after an episode in which he became disoriented, Cavett was given electroshock therapy. He was quoted in 1992 as saying, "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."

That same 1992 article said Cavett had been on antidepressants ever since. However, new mental health-related difficulties arose for Cavett early in 1996. He had signed to host a nationally syndicated radio program, but left after only two weeks. "We were first told that Cavett had the flu," said Producer James Moskovitz. "Then we were told he had pneumonia, and then we were told he had a manic-depressive episode. We have no evidence in writing that's what it was." A court document dismissing portions of the suit includes this: "It is undisputed that Cavett has a lengthy history of mental illness, and has in the past been diagnosed as suffering from manic-depressive illness."

Dick Cavett's talent is indisputable, and we at About Bipolar Disorder wish him all the best in his battle against bipolar depression.

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