23 posts in this topic

Has anyone become numb, severely depressed, "blank" minded after ECT and recovered? I wasn't depressed prior to ECT, and the "ECT specialist" thought I had a "rare form of Bipolar." After my 5th bilateral session I started to feel "off" and different, and subsequently plunged into a deep depression. A few months later my mind went "blank"/silent after experiencing strong negative thoughts and emotions, and now I feel totally flat (this was becoming gradual until the blank mind), disconnected from my self and others/family, etc.

Has anyone experienced something similar and recovered their emotions and "self" again?

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Could it be the negative symptoms not the ECT?

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On 6/9/2017 at 7:59 PM, Iceberg said:

Could it be the negative symptoms not the ECT?

No, as I never had any negative symptoms prior to ECT. Like I said, I felt "off" after the 5th session, like my positive emotions went away or something, and then the rest occurred, as aforementioned.

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Posted (edited)

On 6/13/2017 at 11:48 PM, Igoryok said:

No, as I never had any negative symptoms prior to ECT. Like I said, I felt "off" after the 5th session, like my positive emotions went away or something, and then the rest occurred, as aforementioned.

I've been considering ECT for awhile as well, but scared of the after effects, timeframe and costs. my questions are below:

1.) Side effects & minimal, if not bad outcomes: The above is what I'm afraid of...and the memory loss. I have seen few posters indicate that ECT helped them longterm (a few yes).. I'm curious to what extent does the memory loss happen (ex; is it little bits like passwords & recent stuff, or is it full-blown memories and skills like playing an instrument?) Can it make Mixed episodes worse or make a Depressed person Manic?? An apathetic person more numb & dissociated?

2.) Timeframe: Perhaps I should post this as a new thread, but I am also wondering (on average) how long a timeframe you need for ECT for starters? (ex: is it minimum 12 sessions over the period of 6-8 weeks? Is it over 6 months???) I will again revisit with my pdoc because the meds are not helping enough if at all....

Edited by Blahblah

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I had problems with my memory after 12 treatments. I had 3 series of ECT. One 6 treatments, another had 9, and the last was 12. My memory was lost for about a year back BUT I was so depressed I was losing memory due to the depression. I had my treatments back before the days of passwords😵.

 

i had treatment on MWF. The first treatment was 2 weeks of treatment. The second one was 3 weeks with the final treatments over 4 weeks.

i would gladly do ECT again if necessary but I would not agree to 12 treatments as that is where my memory loss was at its worst. I also became so mentally frail that I couldn't take care of my family and it took awhile to recover.

please note that the first series was because I was profoundly depressed and meds weren't working. The other series were because I stopped taking my meds (I was young and stupid). After each series of ECT I went back on meds but they no longer worked. Nothing worked and I was treatment resistant.

 

hope that helps.

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Posted (edited)

How are you doing now, Savannah? Do you feel like the ECT messed with your emotions and/or personality? If so, did you recover your "self" later? Also, did you do bilateral or unilateral?

Thanks for the input, btw.

Edited by Igoryok

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What were the symptoms that led the doctor to suggest ECTs? I have felt blank before but that effect wore off. I have never felt more depressed. I have had unilateral, which did nothing, and bilateral with 2 initial series of 9 and then maintenance of one every 4 weeks for about 4 years or so. I lost memory, but for me it was worth it because I was no longer suicidal. I have fully recovered my personality and have not had any issues since stopping. I am diagnosed bipolar with occasional psychotic episodes and was considered treatment resistant. 

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2 hours ago, wadjet said:

What were the symptoms that led the doctor to suggest ECTs? I have felt blank before but that effect wore off. I have never felt more depressed. I have had unilateral, which did nothing, and bilateral with 2 initial series of 9 and then maintenance of one every 4 weeks for about 4 years or so. I lost memory, but for me it was worth it because I was no longer suicidal. I have fully recovered my personality and have not had any issues since stopping. I am diagnosed bipolar with occasional psychotic episodes and was considered treatment resistant. 

I had trouble coping and according to some pdocs I had a "mood disorder with psychotic features." I felt very uncomfortable around people, almost like everybody was a threat - constant fight or flight reactions around people. It may just have been a kind of depersonalization/derealization and high anxiety, but I'm not sure. Anyway, after the 5th bilateral session, as I mentioned, I started to feel "off" and subsequently plunged into a deep depression.

On the flipside, I did experience a kind of short "enlightenment" phase when I first battled the depression after the ECT. That only lasted like 2 weeks, though, and then I started feeling really depressed and dissociated again (depersonalized, I think) and then things went downhill from there. Depression seemed to be worsening, and eventually my mind went blank/silent a few months later.

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I noticed in your other thread, you mentioned that your pdoc thinks you have schizoaffective disorder. Echoing Iceberg, are you absolutely sure these aren't negative symptoms? Depression and negative symptoms can look very much alike.

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8 minutes ago, jt07 said:

I noticed in your other thread, you mentioned that your pdoc thinks you have schizoaffective disorder. Echoing Iceberg, are you absolutely sure these aren't negative symptoms? Depression and negative symptoms can look very much alike.

I'm not sure, but the bottom line is, I didn't have these symptoms - negatives - before ECT. I've read that ECT reduces prefrontal cortical connectivity, and I think I've read also that this may be responsible for negative symptoms...so now I'm really scared and hoping and praying I can actually recover and my brain can heal and restore connections it may have lost.

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16 minutes ago, Igoryok said:

I'm not sure, but the bottom line is, I didn't have these symptoms - negatives - before ECT. I've read that ECT reduces prefrontal cortical connectivity, and I think I've read also that this may be responsible for negative symptoms...so now I'm really scared and hoping and praying I can actually recover and my brain can heal and restore connections it may have lost.

I don't know what you are reading but I don't think it is correct. Negative symptoms are part of the disease. They are not caused by ECT or any other treatment. And I don't think that ECT destroys prefrontal cortical connectivity. That sounds like the old scare tactic that ECT caused brain damage. ECT is a safe and effective treatment for many.

Does it not seem plausible that the ECT caused a remission of positive symptoms leaving negative symptoms as the predominant symptoms? I'm saying this because you see people claiming that their AAP damaged them but what often happens is that the positive symptoms were controlled by the med, but negative symptoms are very difficult to treat with meds and the result is that they are left with negative symptoms that they blame on the med.

I'm not saying that you definitely have negative symptoms, and if you respond to antidepressants then it is likely to be depression.

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Posted (edited)

9 minutes ago, jt07 said:

I don't know what you are reading but I don't think it is correct. Negative symptoms are part of the disease. They are not caused by ECT or any other treatment. And I don't think that ECT destroys prefrontal cortical connectivity. That sounds like the old scare tactic that ECT caused brain damage. ECT is a safe and effective treatment for many.

Does it not seem plausible that the ECT caused a remission of positive symptoms leaving negative symptoms as the predominant symptoms? I'm saying this because you see people claiming that their AAP damaged them but what often happens is that the positive symptoms were controlled by the med, but negative symptoms are very difficult to treat with meds and the result is that they are left with negative symptoms that they blame on the med.

 

Like I said, I haven't experienced any such symptoms before I had ECT. And I was in the same mental state for 4 years prior. There is a research study that shows ECT indeed reduces frontal cortical connectivity. I don't know whether or not ECT damaged me - I certainly hope not, although I don't see why it had caused such a dramatic change for the worse. And by the way, ECT does indeed cause brain damage - I've spoken to many people and have read many people's experiences - many suffer long-lasting (perhaps even permanent) cognitive difficulties, memory loss, and even personality changes and flat affect. Some even developed a seizure disorder as a result of ECT. While ECT supposedly helps many, it has also harmed many (perhaps even more than it's helped). Even my psychiatrist (who dx'd me as schizoaffective) was against ECT and believes it can cause damage and sometimes lead to dementia. She's also quite a well-respected psychiatrist here.

No, the ECT did not cause any remission of any sort of symptoms. Like I said, I never experienced negative (or depressive - whatever they are) symptoms prior to my 5th session of ECT, and I was in the same mental state for 4 years before that - always had positive emotions and was able to enjoy things. An AAP has made me a "zombie" once, but luckily that wore off in about a week.

Edited by Igoryok

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But you did have symptoms that resolved with the ECT. Didn't you have positive symptoms? Wasn't that the reason for getting ECT in the first place?

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Posted (edited)

11 minutes ago, jt07 said:

But you did have symptoms that resolved with the ECT. Didn't you have positive symptoms? Wasn't that the reason for getting ECT in the first place?

 

I had no symptoms that resolved with the ECT. Before ECT, I was able to enjoy things, and in my current state I'm suicidal. I was never even close to feeling suicidal prior to the ECT for the entire 4 years of my "condition." The reason I decided to try ECT was because I wanted to feel "normal" again and be able to function like I used to. I was told by my current psychiatrist at the time that it's "safe" and I had nothing to lose but perhaps some short-term memory. 

You speak Russian, btw?

 

Edited by Igoryok

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2 hours ago, Igoryok said:

I felt very uncomfortable around people, almost like everybody was a threat - constant fight or flight reactions around people.

Didn't you write that? That could be interpreted by a doctor to be a positive symptom of psychosis (paranoia). Did that not resolve with the ECT?

Your writing the word condition in quote marks leads me to think that you don't believe your doctors and that you think there was never anything wrong with you. They don't give ECT unless it is needed. It is not the "go to" treatment for any disorder. It is reserved for severe or drug-resistant cases.

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Posted (edited)

9 minutes ago, jt07 said:

Didn't you write that? That could be interpreted by a doctor to be a positive symptom of psychosis (paranoia). Did that not resolve with the ECT?

Your writing the word condition in quote marks leads me to think that you don't believe your doctors and that you think there was never anything wrong with you. They don't give ECT unless it is needed. It is not the "go to" treatment for any disorder. It is reserved for severe or drug-resistant cases.

 

Like I said, nothing resolved with the ECT. I used condition in quotation marks because different psychiatrists gave me different diagnoses. Many didn't give me a proper diagnosis at all. Obviously I thought there was something wrong with me if I opted for ECT, don't you think? And naturally I tried various medications beforehand. As for ECT given "unless it is needed," when I voluntarily hospitallized myself before, the leading psychiatrist there would not allow me to have ECT (obviously believing my condition didn't warrant it, and since I wasn't even depressed, to begin with). I wish I listened to the psychiatrists and others who tried to dissuade me from having it done. Now my only hope is that there was no permanent damage done and that G-d willing I can regain my old self and feel pleasure and positive emotions again.

Edited by Igoryok

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Well, I don't think the ECT did any permanent damage, but I wish you luck in getting your old self back.

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Thank you, I appreciate that. 

К вашему здоровью,

-Igor

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Ага! Я так и знал, что Вы знаете русский язык. Спасибо за желание. К вашему здоровью тоже!

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Но, конечно, меня зовут Игорь в конце концов :0) Спасибо, еще раз, и то же самое для вас!

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On June 15, 2017 at 2:39 AM, Blahblah said:

I've been considering ECT for awhile as well, but scared of the after effects, timeframe and costs. my questions are below:

1.) Side effects & minimal, if not bad outcomes: The above is what I'm afraid of...and the memory loss. I have seen few posters indicate that ECT helped them longterm (a few yes).. I'm curious to what extent does the memory loss happen (ex; is it little bits like passwords & recent stuff, or is it full-blown memories and skills like playing an instrument?) Can it make Mixed episodes worse or make a Depressed person Manic?? An apathetic person more numb & dissociated?

2.) Timeframe: Perhaps I should post this as a new thread, but I am also wondering (on average) how long a timeframe you need for ECT for starters? (ex: is it minimum 12 sessions over the period of 6-8 weeks? Is it over 6 months???) I will again revisit with my pdoc because the meds are not helping enough if at all....

For me only the bilateral method gave me memory blanks but it was also the only thing that helped. I would always try unilateral first it's milder but with a lower success rate. Physically you feel a little winded/achy and you jaw will hurt the first time. They gave me toradol which is about the strongest non opiate pain med to help with the resulting headache. Also get anti nausea med. it's really not a big deal i was in and out in like 1 hr 

2) timing is typically 3/wk for 2 to 4 weeks...but in reality it can be 1-5

then sometimes you taper off meaning go to 2x a week and then 1x and then stop...or go on maintainance which is like once every 3 to 6 weeks 

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Possible that the ECT not working could have made you feel depressed?

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On 7/9/2017 at 4:04 AM, BrianOCD said:

Possible that the ECT not working could have made you feel depressed?

 

I guess it's a possibility, but of course I can't say for sure...

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