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Seriously considering ECT...at my wits end

16 posts in this topic

Posted

so depressed lately.

and...15 years of trying out different meds and cocktails. i don't know what else to do.

i want to give up.

ect is something pdoc and i have never talked about. gonna bring it up when i see her in 1.5 wks.

i am scared... (not of ect. i'm not scared of that. i have nothing to lose. i am scared for myself, my future...)

i don't know what i'm asking here... not in my right mind. if you've had ect and have had a positive experience w/it treating depression that you've not been able to keep under wrap w/meds please respond. tell me how it's changed you. both sides of the story, i guess. just want first accounts.

i hope this makes sense. trying to put words together right now is hard.

thanks.

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Posted

also, i live alone and wouldn't want anyone to know about it. parents live far away, they're the only ppl i'd want to know about this. would i need someone to look after me post treatment?

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Posted

oops.

no need to reply here, i'm finding plenty of info in this forum. i should have looked before posting a new thread.

mods, feel free to delete this topic .

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Posted

You definitely would need someone to drive you, pick up, and maybe look after you a bit.

Make sure you have food, etc.

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Posted

I've know treatment resistant depressive people who have had it and say that it is the only thing that made a difference, and by and large they say it made a big difference. But, if you go the ect route, you most likely will need a lot of help for a few weeks while you relearn things like which key opens your front door, your computer passwords, where you keep the flour, and a good deal of telephone numbers.

Good luck

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Posted

But, if you go the ect route, you most likely will need a lot of help for a few weeks while you relearn things like which key opens your front door, your computer passwords, where you keep the flour, and a good deal of telephone numbers.

This is very untrue. ECT doesn't make you forget things. You may not remember the time you had ECT (I don't remember the month I had my 6 sessions in, for example) but I didn't forget any of the above. That's a horrible generalization to make.

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Posted

I have had ECT on 3 occasions. The last was a series of 12. That time I did have some memory loss but it was more like,taking a while to remember things briefly. Plus I lot memory of the time of the ECT but that was totally ok since I was so depressed at that time. I would do it again if I got that bad.

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Posted

Go through some research on the different types of ECT and make sure you ask the psych who would administer the ECT what his/her experience with results, side effects, long term outlook, other/future treatment options. I had ECT last Oct/Nov (Hurricane Sandy put a big f$&king monkey wrench in consistency). I was suicidal before(apparently) but I would never do it again. There are things that I forgot and are slowly coming back. There are things I have absolutely no recollection of during or around that time. I went through my email boxes to reconstruct that time and a little came back and a lot I still do not remember. I have some long term stuff that is gone, and I still cannot find in the haze. But I can remember song lyrics from 25 years ago. There are other ongoing issues too, but I am not going to go into that. The overwhelming opinion is that it works and there are some short term memory problems but it is recovered in about 6 months. Do not try electromagnetic therapy. Insurance does not cover it, it is expensive, I did it for 7 months 2/3 times a week and nothing. Also tried ketamine...nothing. Botox between the eyebrows...nothing. Anyway, still looking for the magic pill combo. At 42 and doing this since I was 17, I am not to optimistic. Some mega geek in their little white lab coat could come up with something....hopefully soon. Good luck.

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Posted

Well, you have to be willing to lose the time around the procedure. Beyond that, the more restrictive the shock (unilateral/bilateral) the less you tend to lose. You can lose more, but it's rare. In the end, you have to weigh what's best for you. Some people have very minor memory issues.

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Posted

I had it in 1972 in a state hospital. It may be different now but I have gaps in my memory of that time that have never come back. I know I started my senior year of high school because I have seen my senior picture but I

have no recollection of that time period. I reconstucted things from talking to people but the actual memory is gone. The diagnosis, which I found out later was "acute shizophrenic episode". I personally would never allow it to be done to me again. I wish you luck with your struggle. I don't know what advice to give you. It's a different world now.

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Posted

I had it in 1972 in a state hospital. It may be different now but I have gaps in my memory of that time that have never come back. I know I started my senior year of high school because I have seen my senior picture but I

have no recollection of that time period. I reconstucted things from talking to people but the actual memory is gone. The diagnosis, which I found out later was "acute shizophrenic episode". I personally would never allow it to be done to me again. I wish you luck with your struggle. I don't know what advice to give you. It's a different world now.

Yeah, things are a little different now.  I think they were using car batteries back then.  :P

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Posted

Gday KD - regarding my go round with ECT - i have had a fair few courses of 12 in a session - did it help ? yes it helped - was it worth it ? with me the jury is still out on that - I was given Bi Frontal ECT, not bi lateral or uni lateral and have experienced some significant memory deficits, lots of missing events in my life, some of them i didn't really care about losing, others i did. So the positive is i am still alive because of it. The negative is i have memory loss, both short term and long term.

 

My suggestion to you is to get yourself as informed about ECT as you possibly can before you make a decision that you feel is right for you. Discuss with it with your family or with people you are comfortable with, because this procedure still carries a huge stigma in the eyes of the community. Most peoples idea of ECT is still from "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest" and as someone who has experienced that stigma it is not pleasant, i lost a lot of friends who just turned their back when they found out i had admitted myself to hospital for 12 weeks and was having ECT and they have never spoken to me again.

 

One important question to ask is if the machine they are using is a Sine Wave machine, here in Australia sine wave ECT is illegal but i am not so sure about other countries, and Sine Wave has been proven to cause memory deficits. This was written up in article by Harold Sackheim in The Journal of ECT, i am quite willing to send the article to you so you don't have to pay the $50 to get it if you so wish. Just send me a PM and i can email it to you.

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Posted

I just wanted to chime in on this...

 

I had 3 rounds of ECT between 2009 - 2011 - a totally of 38 times. 

 

I truly believe that it saved my life.  I don't think I would still be alive if I hadn't had it.  I have pretty major memory loss, but to me, it is worth it.  My depression is now well controlled and I haven't had any psychotic episodes either.

 

I know it is really scary to consider, but for depression that can't be controlled my meds, therapy, and lifestyle, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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Posted

ECT, nowadays, is effective in 85% cases (according to the ECT doc at the hospital I had ECT at) and unilateral leaves less memory loss. Bi-frontal is something new I've heard of over the past couple of years, but in 2008, my ECT doc decided on unilateral. (One side)

 

You'll lose some time, generally when the procedure is being done. Anesthetic is the same as surgery, except extremely short-lasting and not as brutal on your body. You'll have a headache, but mine went away with tylenol you can buy at any pharmacy (and I was IP, so if it presisted, they would have given me stronger painkillers)

 

You shouldn't lose memories you already have.

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Posted

ECT, nowadays, is effective in 85% cases (according to the ECT doc at the hospital I had ECT at) and unilateral leaves less memory loss. Bi-frontal is something new I've heard of over the past couple of years, but in 2008, my ECT doc decided on unilateral. (One side)

You shouldn't lose memories you already have.

 

Sorry to disagree with you but we are all individuals and ECT will affect each of us differently - i had bi frontal and lost established memories, but i see others who suffer from confusion around the time of the ECT and they are fine within hours and have no memory loss at all, so i really do believe it's a roll of the bones when you have ECT. The only positive is it saved my life ....

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Posted

I have considered, but have never undergone ECT.  Potential memory loss was a concern, obviously, but the bigger concern for me was the hassle factor of my husband having to ferry me back and forth to the hospital several days a week for weeks as we have a very small (okay, none) support system.

 

However, I was in the hospital briefly this last summer and actually spoke with and observed several people who were undergoing ECT.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that they did not seem at all addled, even just a couple of hours after a treatment.  A little groggy, yes, but no worse than me on a normal morning (not a morning person) :closedeyes: .  I asked about memory loss of course, and they reported none, really.  (I don't know if it ever emerges later on or not.)  As for alleviating their depression, it was too soon for them to say and I haven't kept in touch.   I was just glad to see with my own eyes that you can have ECT and still remember stuff.

 

In one case, a patient was having ECT because she was admitted in a COMPLETELY delusional and/or manic state. I had never seen that first hand--she was out of touch with reality, wandering the floors, singing, talking to herself, trying to undress in the hall completely unaware of her actions (!)  I figured it was end stage dementia.  Amazingly, within 36 hours of ECT, this person was like NORMAL again.  It was truly amazing.  I don't know if she was having a manic episode, delusional because of an infection or what caused her to exit reality.  All I can say is ECT brought her back to reality, and fast. 

 

So, that said, I personally would try ECT if I had the rides and support system.  Of course, it's a hassle, there are still a couple of drugs I haven't tried and the POSSIBLE memory loss is a consideration.  Then again, depression affects both memory and cognition.  It also affects a person's ability to get out of bed and do anything going forward to make new memories.  I've concluded that it would be worth it to have some memory loss if that was what it was going to take for me to ever have fun in the future.  Right now, I'm stuck in the past, can't find anything to look forward to, and it sucks. :wall:

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