anyone here had ECT?

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by bluegrey, Aug 5, 2008.

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  1. bluegrey

    bluegrey Antiquities Friend

    Depression has always been the least severe of my conditions (OCD, GAD and psychological baggage from physical abuse) but it has been intense and immobilizing for about sixteen months now. I've gone through two rounds of ECT in the past- ten treatments the first time, eight the second.

    The experience was miserable. The intense headaches and confusion from the ECT along with the whole psychiatric ward experience of strict, sometimes humiliating rules, confinement, boredom, tedious groups, and insomnia.

    I have been trying different antidepressants, taking fish oil capsules (omega 3 fatty acids) and getting almost daily intense aerobic exercise. I seem to feel only the slightest relief from this regimen and my psychiatrist, sort of old school, swears by ECT. I honestly don't know if my ECT treatments did help lift my depression because my past depressive episodes never lasted more than several weeks each time.

    Any experiences good or not with ECT here?
  2. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    I've had it. It only made things worse for me with incompetent staff doing the anesthesia improperly, resulting in a roughly 5-10 second span where I felt completely paralyzed before I went out. Now I'm even more afraid of anesthesia, and I'll eventually have to have surgery done on my ear sometime soon.
  3. rojomi

    rojomi Banned Member

    what is it?
  4. bluegrey

    bluegrey Antiquities Friend

    Rojomi, ECT is electroconvulsive therapy- you are given electrical impulses through electrodes on both sides of your head to induce a seizure supposedly alleviating medication resistant depression. Because you are under anesthesia you don't thrash around, potentially harming yourself physically as with a person suffering epilepsy. It does sound barbaric.

    Obsessive, I am very sorry to hear of your ear injury. The anesthesia was no problem for me. I remember well the sequence. You feel as if ice water was injected into your arm, get a strong taste of garlic (!?) in your mouth, a humming noise in your head then everything goes black. You wake up less than an hour later feeling like a horse kicked you in the head.

    As miserable as this procedure is it would be worth the sacrifice if it can alleviate my depression. I'm not sure it did before. I don't know what to do but my psychiatrist wants me to go through it again. :sad:
  5. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    Nah, my ear has nothing to do with the ECT; just saying I'll need to go under anesthesia again soon.

    I really see no point in doing it again. From most accounts ECT is the equivalent of kicking a TV to make it work. Granted I suspect that's an accurate portrayal of not only ECT, but the entire field of psychology.
  6. Luliby

    Luliby Staff Alumni

    I've been researching ECT and other treatments for Treatment Resistant Major Depression . Basically, serious depression that has not shown any significant improvement after trying several different types of medications, or combinations, including ECT.

    Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In ECT, electrical currents are passed through the brain to trigger a seizure. Although many people are leery of ECT and its side effects, it typically offers fast, effective relief of depression symptoms.

    When you get to this point then what? You've tried all the drugs, been through the hospitalizations, filled out charts and workbooks, taken classes, seen a therapist, maybe even DBT groups as well, jump started your brain with electricity and still you are depressed.

    From my research I have found these options. Not that these are the only options, I am not a doctor. But there is still hope and possible recovery:

    These options, sometimes called neurotherapeutic treatments, include:

    Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). VNS uses electrical impulses with a surgically implanted pulse generator to affect mood centers of the brain. The FDA approved this treatment in July 2005 for certain cases of severe or chronic, treatment-resistant depression.

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is an experimental procedure that uses magnetic fields to alter brain activity. A large electromagnetic coil is held against your scalp near your forehead to produce an electrical current in your brain.

    Deep brain stimulation. This is a highly experimental treatment for depression in which the brain is stimulated with surgically implanted electrodes
  7. yanke

    yanke Active Member

    Today, ECT is most often used as a treatment for severe major depression which has not responded to other treatment, and is also used in the treatment of mania, catatonia, schizophrenia and other disorders. It first gained widespread use as a form of treatment in the 1940s and 50s; today, an estimated 1 million people worldwide receive ECT every year,[1] usually in a course of 6-12 treatments administered 2 or 3 times a week. Electroconvulsive therapy can differ in its application in three ways; electrode placement, length of time that the stimulus is given, and the property of the stimulus. The variance of these three forms of application have significant differences in both adverse side effects and positive outcomes. ECT has been shown clinically to be the most effective treatment for severe depression. For at least half of the patients, the benefits of the initial treatment are short-lived. After treatment, drug therapy can be continued, and some patients receive continuation/maintenance ECT. Side-effects include confusion and memory loss for events around the time period of treatment. Certain types of ECT have been shown to cause persistent memory loss. [2] whereas confusion usually clears within hours of treatment. Some forms of ECT cause a greater degree of lasting memory loss. It is widely accepted that ECT does not cause brain damage. Informed consent is a standard of modern electroconvulsive therapy. Involuntary treatment is uncommon in countries that follow contemporary standards and is typically only used when the use of ECT is considered potentially life saving.
  8. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    When I was in the psych ward at the hospital, we talked about ECT in one of the groups. A woman there was telling us about how she started doing ECT, and her memory got so bad, she forgot what she did at her job.
    I am pretty open to trying anything, so I think I would give it a shot, but there are risks to this treatment.
  9. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    I actually would've been happy just to have the memory loss side effect. There are few memories that I don't wish to suppress.
  10. bella muerte

    bella muerte Well-Known Member

    I've only had ECT once, after being hospitalized, the pychiatrist told me about it and said that he recommended I tryed it. It was a weird experience and my head felt like it was about to explode when I woke up. The only side effect I've recognised is my insomnia and GAD has increased. However I do seem to bounce back quicker from depressive episodes.
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