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Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

12 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

OK, i want to do more discussion, not argument, on this topic. The other thread i found is locked.

I'm wondering if there's stuff you don't hear about that happens. And what questions should i ask my pdoc?

I'm currently scheduled to start treatments on Feb 8th.

I'm treatment-resistant bipolar I. I've been on over a dozen meds, 13 year documented history, suspected since childhood (i'm 32 now), 8 or 9 hospitalizations. VERY suicidal at nights for the last 2 1/2 or so weeks. Currently in IOP (4th time), DBT (2nd time), and a general MI support group. That's me.

Thanks

:)

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Posted · Report post

For me there wasn't anything that I hadn't heard about happening that happened. But it has truely changed my life. I'm MDD not bipolar so I can't really speak to your expierence, but I haven't been suicidal since we got me stabalized on ECT. I hope for the best for you and that it makes a real difference in your life, too.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I had 9 bifrontal in october and it did not help me. No harm done either, though. I have a blog about it here on crazyboards, including journal entries from when I was in the hospital. I also have the blog at the url http://electroshockme.blogspot.com it should have identical posts. I hope it is helpful.

Something that was mentioned by my ECT doctor which I don't hear brought up often in ECT discussions... he said that people with a history of sexual abuse don't generally respond as well to ECT as people without. I am not stating this as a hard fact, I don't know his sources but the guy does perform ECT's 3 times a week, and works alongside a doctor who has been doing them for over 20 years, maybe 30.

Edited by Penguin

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Posted · Report post

Make sure you are starting with unilateral treatments. Ask your doctor what kind of pulse s/he uses. Make sure you have someone who can be with you on the days you have treatment. I had it for MDD as well, not bipolar. It helped me a lot though and I wish I had done it sooner. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

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Posted · Report post

I have had ECT 3 times (12 rounds each) It really helped me a lot, however my memory of the time is a bit blurry.

I had bilateral treatment done.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened to me.

I was woken up at 5am, preped, taken to the waiting room, went in had treatment, woke up in recovery and had a normal day after that.

I did not feel groggy or have any side effects from the anesthetic, as i said before my memory was affected a little bit.

For me the effects of ECT do not last. I will feel really good, no suicidal thoughts or depression for a couple of months and then it rears its ugly head again.

I hope it works out well for you.

ps don't be scared. It's not scary

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Posted · Report post

moved to the correct board . . .

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Posted · Report post

TED talk on ECT (link)

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Posted · Report post

Something that was mentioned by my ECT doctor which I don't hear brought up often in ECT discussions... he said that people with a history of sexual abuse don't generally respond as well to ECT as people without. I am not stating this as a hard fact, I don't know his sources but the guy does perform ECT's 3 times a week, and works alongside a doctor who has been doing them for over 20 years, maybe 30.

I have a history of sexual abuse. ECT is working for me, dispite this. I think it is probibly a YMMV guideline.

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Posted · Report post

I have 6 bilateral. It didn't work for me, but I've heard of tons of people it DID work for.

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Posted · Report post

I had 6 ECT treatments in 2003 which worked really well for me, leaving me totally depression free.

I also had 11 ECT treatments in 2005, also extremely effective for my depression

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Posted · Report post

I read a lot about the side effects and didn't experience any (nor did I talk to anybody in the waiting room receiving ECT) that had experienced side effects that I hadn't heard about. Still, ask your doctors.

I was lucky that I didn't have any memory loss, but most people do have some short-term memory loss, so be prepared. I got really severe headaches after treatments, even though they gave me a lot of medications for them. That was really the only side effect I dealt with.

I started mine in August of last year. The first time I did it, I had fifteen unilateral treatments, and started to feel results around my 11th treatment, even though I was told I would probably start feeling results earlier. (That's really the only thing that was "wrong" about what I was told.) The results lasted for a month. I then went back and had 13 bilateral treatments, but had no response. Though I had no memory loss, the doctors stopped due to the fact that they didn't want to cause any long-term cognitive damage.

Would I do it again? Yes. I'm one of the rare people who just didn't respond. However, I saw SO MANY people who did respond. I saw people who transformed before my eyes... they looked like COMPLETELY different people. And for the month that the results did work for me? Wow. I had never felt that way in my life. I felt like I was living for the very first time. I wondered if this is how everybody normal feels... like every day. It was amazing. And the best part? Someone I knew well came up to me and said, "Wow, you look incredible! What did you do?" I had done my makeup the same, my hair the same, and was wearing my usual t-shirt and jeans. I realized then that I had transformed, too, just like the people in the waiting room. I looked happy.

As for side effects? YMMV. Some people had more memory loss than others. Some people didn't get any headache like I did. Some people got nauseated. It's different for everybody. And don't listen when people tell you when you'll feel results... I had so many people, both doctors and patients, tell me things... but everybody's body is different. So don't get discouraged like I did if it takes you longer than other people to feel results.

I would recommend ECT a thousand times over. (And for the record, every other patient that I met did respond to ECT, so it truly can be a lifesaver.)

As for what to ask your doc? Ask what kind of meds you can take and when -- both prescribed and over the counter. Ask if you'll be receiving unilateral or bilateral treatments, definitely. Bilateral treatments are usually (but not always) more effective for most people, but they also have more side effects, especially an increase in memory loss. Ask what side effects that they personally see most often. After you have your first session, see what side effects you personally have and ask the best way to treat them. Hmm... I can't think of any other questions right now, but I will be thinking about it and I'll reply again.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks all :)

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