Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org

Lobotomy didn't take his soul, what about ECT?


yo123

Recommended Posts

Yo  Yo123,

Well actually this is the picture perfect advertisement for lobotomy isn't it?  This guy turned out to have a normal productive life.

Now, what bearing does an obsolete surgical procedure from 45 years ago have to do with modern psychiatric practice? NONE.

Likewise the technigues used in modern ECT are light years advanced from what was done forty years ago. I think we have some resources above on ECT.  We do have several members who have had moderate to excellent success with it. 

Read their posts, do research on reliable medical site that aren't given to hysterical exageration. Trust you Pdoc.

A.M.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you go search the depression board you'll find a lot of discussion of ECT, including people describing their own experience.

Modern ECT is a quite safe procedure. When doing research online keep in mind that many of the websites about ECT are biased -- often on the "all ECT is bad" end of things.

An alternative, depending on where you live and so forth, might be to look into rTMS. It's still in clinical trials in the US, but it's more readily available in Canada, I'm not sure about anywhere else.

Fiona

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First off--no, I'm not a Scientologist.  However, I have seriously mixed feelings about ECT.  Yes, it has changed since earlier times--mainly in that the patient is anesthetised and therefore does not actually convulse during the treatment.  As a result of the anethesia, however, a more powerful current must be used to initiate a seizure in the unconscious brain.

A friend whose depression doesn't really respond to anything had,  she THINKS, 36 treatments (she does not know the exact number).  Now, instead of being depressed much of the time, she is depressed much of the time, has little short-term memory or learning ability, and her entire left side is weak all of the time.  A recent MRI showed an "infarction" (basically a weak spot in a blood vessel that could lead to a stroke at any time) that did not exist before she had all those courses of ECT.

True, this is only one example--but I have known at least six people who have had ECT and not one has seen anything more than a brief improvement in their symptoms at best.  ECT acts by causing the brain to respond as it would to an injury--by releasing a massive amount of endorphins, which do indeed improve one's mood for up to two weeks.  The same results can be found in anyone who has had a grand mal seizure or in many cases of closed-head brain injury.  Mind, I don't recommend taking a baseball bat to one's head when depressed.

ECT MAY, I repeat, work for some....I'm just waiting to meet up with them.  Meanwhile, I regard it as a sort of Russian Roulette.

Anyone who is curious may write to me and I'll send them a copy of the manual for the Thymatron IV ECT machine, which the makers would prefer that its patients not have.  It can be quite interesting reading, but make sure to read between the lines....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a result of the anethesia, however, a more powerful current must be used to initiate a seizure in the unconscious brain.

They use the minimum necessary to induce the seizure in that individual.

True, this is only one example--but I have known at least six people who have had ECT and not one has seen anything more than a brief improvement in their symptoms at best.
It's not supposed to be a long-term cure. It pulls people out of the depths of depression in a hurry, then they have to follow up with medication and therapy to maintain the improvement. And many people are able to maintain long-term remission as a result.

The same results can be found in anyone who has had a grand mal seizure or in many cases of closed-head brain injury.

I think the many people here with seizure disorders would disagree with this.

ECT MAY, I repeat, work for some....I'm just waiting to meet up with them.

The success rate is very high, but not 100%. I don't recall the exact number, but it was around 80%, which by the time you become an ECT candidate is higher than the success rate of medication. Though the success rate for either MAOI is just about equal, so if those are an option they might be a good place to start. (Yay Parnate, saved me from the ECT decision last year!)

Fiona

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ECT is used only for severe depression(and severe in this case means life threatening or literally immobilized) that is unresponsive to other therapy.It is never a 1st line,or second line"drug." There haven't been "convulsions"  in the USA with the ECT  since the late 60's.Pt are given a short acting barb,then a paralysing agent and then the ECT-.When the ECT is given-nothing visible happens.It is strictly a last resort "drug."

It is kinda grim to think about, but many surgical procedures(done with the intention to save a life) are much,much worse.

If you can get yourself "up" enough to visit and write in a forum, you aren't a candidate for ECT.Luck,Charlie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you can get yourself "up" enough to visit and write in a forum, you aren't a candidate for ECT.Luck,Charlie

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually, writing here was virtually the only thing I could do, even while evaluating ECT for myself (six years and two dozen meds into this depression). I don't know if I would have gone through with it if Parnate hadn't worked, I was desperate and apathetic enough to really seriously consider it.

Fiona

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In {location removed}  Minnesota, there is a psychiatrist (actually an osteopath) who prescribes shock for the majority of his patients--{personal name and hospital removed} (he also sabotages the criminal cases of rape victims who go to him for counseling).  It's a great moneymaker for the hospital, since none of his patients improve and keep returning to the hospital receiving more shock (roughly $1000 a "pop" paid without question by Medicare and Medicaid).  In more than one case, patients' families have forcibly intervened and gotten victims away from the man--THEN they got better.

As to seizure disorders, I have had three seizures.  After each I was quite free of depression for 1-2 weeks.  As I said--it's the endorphin rush.  Surely no one would regard an uncontrolled seizure as "therapeutic".  And a seizure induced by electrical current is no more controlled than any other.

Yes, patients are given a fast-acting anesthetic, thiopentone or sodium pentothal and a muscle relaxant (succinylcholine (sp?) or its equivalent).  These are also the first two drugs administered in an execution by lethal injection.  A tourniquet is often placed on one arm or leg to block the muscle relaxant so that those administering the shock can see if a seizure has in fact occurred.  In a case some years ago, a California hospital used a shock machine for two years and praised the results--until someone noticed that the patients did not "twitch" and it was determined that the machine had never worked.

In a study reported in Omni Magazine during the early 1980s, two groups of patients receiving ECT participated in a double-blind experiment in which all got the same treatment, but only half actually received shocks.  Identical results were reported by both groups.

OK--you might have a point in stating that ECT is the treatment of last resort in cases that are "life-threatening or the patient is literally immobilized".  The doctor I mentioned above does not use it so.  And just how is a patient in such a condition able to make any sort of "informed consent"?

{edited by Fiona to remove personal information, "naming names"}

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK--you might have a point in stating that ECT is the treatment of last resort in cases that are "life-threatening or the patient is literally immobilized".  The doctor I mentioned above does not use it so.  And just how is a patient in such a condition able to make any sort of "informed consent"?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

By this time the patient is likely to be considered incompetent and a guardian who can give or withhold consent appointed.

I have a Power of Attorney for Psychiatric care that specifies who can declare me incompetent, who makes decisions when that happens, and what kinds of treatments I want or do not want consented to for me. It's written so that I can replace the pdoc and/or the guardian under the right (difficult to meet) circumstances while still incompetent, but I can't revise the whole document.

Fiona

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How competent is that person likely to be?  They will be shown a film made by the manufacturers of the ECT machine which shows people only AFTER they have been shocked.  The same people who make the machine also wrote the only medical textbook on the use of ECT.  An osteopath/psychiatrist I once discussed the subject with asked if she could explain, in medical terms that made logical sense, how ECT was therapeutic.  Her reply: "Oh, we do lots of things that don't make any sense--that doesn't mean they don't work."

Let's assume I set out one day to buy a car and am considering a Ford (name chosen at random--fastest to type).  On the way to the local dealer I see several Fords broken down along the roadside.  The dealer assures me that Fords are fine cars and what I saw must have been a fluke.  He shows me some showroom vehicles, then takes me out on the lot and starts a new car to show me how well it runs.  He gives me a bunch of literature published by Ford which extol the virtues of the company's product.  He even lets me talk to several mechanics, who were trained by Ford and proudly wear its logo on their coveralls.  They have nothing but good to say about any Ford product.  Now after all that, how do I explain the difference between what I have seen and what I have been told?  And where do I find any objective information on the subject?

There is, alas, no "Consumer Reports" for any form of psychiatric treatment--even the Physician's Desk Reference listing for any antidepressant will tell you that "the exact mechanism of (drug name) is not known".  ECT is not so much as mentioned in the PDR or similar reference books--it might still be in the Merck Manual, but I don't know.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Thymatron-DGx-ECT-BRAI...1QQcmdZViewItem  --a Thymatron ECT machine currently for sale on eBay.  Lots of switches and dials to impress folks, but I don't see anything sophisticated to control the current emitted--just a big knob with percentages of "full power".  There is a suggested starting point in the manual--if that doesn't induce a seizure (which would show up on the attached EEG readout), the instructions are merely to increase the current at unspecified intervals until a seizure occurs.

The Thymatron delivers 105-130 volts at .25 amps or more.  The same voltage at .10 amps across the chest is fatal to most humans.

Dr. Ugo Cerletti invented ECT after seeing electric shock used to stun pigs before slaughter and wondering whether it would quiet his patients similarly.  The same technique is presently used in the slaughter of turkeys.  And you'll never guess who makes the machine they use on the turkeys--they just don't bother with an EEG or anesthetic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm very thankful I didn't get ECT back when I was being treated for schizophrenia. It was really a toss-up, the luck of the draw as to the psychiatrist I was assigned. The other doc routinely gave ECT. My doc didn't.

Over the years I've met many individuals who have been through shock. I've not heard positive reports. To be honest, I've worked much as an advocate for mh consumer/survivors.

Here's a website on ECT put togother by a shock survivor:

http://ect.org/

also:

Relabeling ECT as a Low Risk Device Without Appropriate Research, CIRCARE InfoMail (2004-02-25)

http://www.circare.org/im/im25Feb2004.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How competent is that person likely to be? 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is a good reason to pick the person carefully, and discuss the issues fully. So that your guardian is informed before-hand and has had a chance to ask questions and such while you're still able to participate fully.

I have absolute trust in my guardian, and my pdoc for that matter. My case is, perhaps, unique, since th person who would be making my decisions is a neurobiologist.

Fiona

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...