Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by EmptyLife, Dec 13, 2007.

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  1. EmptyLife

    EmptyLife Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking of taking the step and getting electroconvulsive treatments.
    The problem is, I know the results are not as rosy as doctors portray them. I know people can have permanent cognitive damage from it.
    It scares me, but I don't think I have anything left to try. I've suffered from depression most of my 43 years, and have had an absolutely miserable, empty life, and no medication or therapy has worked.
    Suicide is also an option, of course.
    People don't understand the concept of not enjoying anything. They say, "What do you really want to do?" or "What do you like doing?" when I say I'm miserable at work. They just don't get it.
  2. darkrider

    darkrider Well-Known Member

    If they asked me what I really want to do it would be to escape mankind all together! in an ideal world I just wanna live on my own in some idyllic landscape with no worries and no crappy human civilisation. I'm guessing they're thinking more about promotions and stuff.. meh.

    I read a little about that electroconvulsive stuff (via wikipedia).. sounds interesting. The read up on treatments are usually always pretty bias but it does mention some adverse effects such as possible memory loss and confusion.. thats a bit worrying. With messing with the brains electrical signals do they really know what they're doing?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2007
  3. Melmoth the Wanderer

    Melmoth the Wanderer Well-Known Member

    ECT can have some pretty serious side effects, so I'm a bit concerned that your doctors have painted a rosy picture. ECT should not be taken lightly. How much experience have they had with the procedure?

    I don't know a lot about ECT, but I've done some research here and there out of curiosity. I thought I'd write what I know just in case you don't feel up to researching it.

    The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon is a great book about depression in general, and he talks about this particular treatment--I'm quoting from him mostly, but I've read the same info elsewhere.

    ECT has a high success rate and, if it works, can improve your mood within a few days, though sometimes it takes months and/or repeating the procedure. You have to get a lot of tests done before; it's pretty much like other medical procedures with the preparation requirement, I suspect. ECT itself takes less than ten minutes, and you're on anesthesia the whole time.

    It does result in temporary short-term and even long-term memory loss for most patients. Some have permanent memory problems--for example, forgetting years of their lives or even how to do their jobs. About one in 10,000 patients dies afterward, usually because of cardiac issues.

    I guess you have to figure out if the benefits are more important than the risks.

    But we're always here for you. :hug:
  4. RySp123

    RySp123 Guest

    take more information hun and do a lot of research on your own via internet.
    side effects and irreversable damage are not small or to be dismissed.

    you could end up with more problems and way worse than the one you have at
    the moment so get informed before to decide one way or another...... once informed
    you can decide knowingly.

    good luck and best wishes

    granny xx
  5. SoHappyItHurts

    SoHappyItHurts Well-Known Member

    I had 8 sessions of ECT for depression when I was 19 or 20 due to having apparently no positive effect from medications over a 2 year period, including cocktails of multiple medications at high doses. I was desperate for anything because I had a growing rate of suicide attempts and hospitalizations. (Therapy did calm me down, but I was still very disillusioned and attempting suicide at least once a year, with multiple attempts the previous year.) In order to have the procedure, two psychiatrists had to approve of it, and a chest x-ray was required. My regular psychiatrist approved it in a heartbeat and the other psychiatrist agreed after interviewing me and reviewing my psych records.

    The ECT didn't help me, but I didn't have any long term side effects. So it was a "wash" in my case -- no harm, no foul. I was even able to get As on the community college final exams I was taking during the time, so the temporary memory issues I had were extremely minor and barely noticeable even to myself. Also, the psychologist I was seeing did not notice any side effects.

    More than anything (except continuing with therapy), I would suggest you also consider getting a personal trainer since aerobic exercise has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant medication. The problem is that people with depression rarely have the motivation to exercise 30 minutes a day, which is why a personal trainer can help. I didn't use a personal trainer, but my therapist was helpful in encouraging me to stick with exercising. What helps me most is therapy + exercise (aerobic exercise and strength/weight training). What I need to focus on now is socialization. (The philosopher Epicurus believed that one needs to see friends on a very regular, very frequent basis in order to be happy:

    I also assume you have already tried all the latest drugs in different cocktail forms like Wellbutrin with an SSRI and another antidepressant. I would also assume you have seen at least several different therapists in the last 5-10 years, with a total of at least 30 sessions in the last 5 years. Otherwise, I don't think you can say therapy isn't going to work for you since a good match is required, not only a good match with the personality of the therapist but the approaches used by the therapist (CBT, client-centered, existential, solution-focused, etc.).
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2007
  6. VALIS

    VALIS Well-Known Member

    I would give it a shot if you're out of ideas- I've considered it myself as a last resort but then luckily I stumbled across the right meds. At least it might give you a good perspective to be out of the deep depression for awhile. If it comes down to suicide or trying ect I would totally say do the ect....
    I think it shows strength that you're willing to try all the available methods and to consider the alternate path- that shows a will to survive that impresses me.
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