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ECT basics


trg247

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A few people suggested I add my two cents to this board so that is what I shall do.

I have started ECT again this last week and have had two sessions completed and I have another three scheduled next week, my doc is guessing it will take about nine sessions for me to see the whole effect.  Anyway here is a normal day for me when I have ECT remember I am an inpatient in a hospital.

6:30  Wake up, you can not eat or drink anything

7:00  We go up to the ECT waiting room

7:15  THey call me into the office, an IV is put into my hand and a mouthpiece is placed in

7:20 I am fast asleep by this point, I am having bilateral ECT done so a pad is put on each of my temples and a small bolt of electricity is put through my brain and the convulsions last close to a minute I am told.

11:00 I wake up in my room and I have no idea how I got there, depends on the day on how quickly my other senses come around, so far I have been lucky and it has not been too bad

I did not really have a choice when it came to getting ECT as I have hit the end of the line when it comes to a lot of meds and the time it would take to switch me to an other regime of drugs is too much so this is why I went for ECT.

If anyone has any questions just ask, but I have to warn you I am in the hospital for at least another week so it may take me a while to reply

take care

trg247

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TRG,

Thanks so much for being willing to share your ECT experience. I hope you'll keep it up. I would love to know when you start feeling better, after how many sessions and so forth.

The best of luck to you, and I hope you're feeling much better soon.

Greeny

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I've by no means exhausted my med choices, but I've really given ECT a thought. How long does the treatment last? How long does it take to do the treatment? Is it possible to go about your "normal" life, get ECT, and maintain a job, or do you need time off of work/inpatient treatment?

I think of all the drugs I take and wonder what it would be like to be drug-free!~!

Are you an always and forever inpatient, or is this just for now? I've been hospitalized 5 times and my stays last as long as I can withstand my leg hair.

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I've by no means exhausted my med choices, but I've really given ECT a thought. How long does the treatment last? How long does it take to do the treatment? Is it possible to go about your "normal" life, get ECT, and maintain a job, or do you need time off of work/inpatient treatment?

I've looked seriously at ECT as well, and my pdoc felt that it could be done as an out-patient. Others who have had it, have also been out-patient. However, you need someone to drive you home and some care -- depending a lot on your short-term memory loss. So you don't do things like turn the stove on for something then forget to turn it off. This is a normal effect and will pass after the series is done. So I think you probably couldn't continue working during the treatment.

I think of all the drugs I take and wonder what it would be like to be drug-free!~!
Alas, it does not leave you med-free. You'll take something as maintenance, although once you've maintained at a good level for a while you can try going off the meds completely. So it's not a quick trip to no meds.

Are you an always and forever inpatient, or is this just for now? I've been hospitalized 5 times and my stays last as long as I can withstand my leg hair.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Nope. As I said, it is sometimes done out-patient depending on your circumstances and status. My pdoc and I were talking that way because we decided a long time ago that neither I nor the psych unit would find an inpatient stay on my part useful. So there's no reason to be an inpatient unless there's no way for you to be safe outside the hospital.

Fiona

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I have started ECT again this last week and have had two sessions completed and I have another three scheduled next week, my doc is guessing it will take about nine sessions for me to see the whole effect.  Anyway here is a normal day for me when I have ECT remember I am an inpatient in a hospital.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I hope this brings you great relief.

Fiona

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Well I think I am up to six ECT treatments and so far the only real side effect is I am completly lost in my days.  The doc has suggested finishing the last three as a outpatient so we will have to see.  But I am still waiting for an amazing breakthrough in clarity

trg247

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Hi, trg247...

I just posted at the "Cocktails" thread before checking here. Oops.

How are you feeling? Has the ECT helped with the depression? Has it diminished the urge to hurt yourself?

Wanted you to know I'm thinking of you. When the weekend comes, I think "hmm, I'll have to see how she's doing," and I think of you throughout the week and wonder how you are. I do hope the hospitalization has helped.

Take care,

revlow

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I do not really know how I am feeling, I tend to over analyze any mental state I am in so that is not really healthy but what ever.  My wife has not said much regarding any improve in disposition.  I am not staying in the hospital longer than this week, cause A) I have been in the hospital close to three weeks by now B) Christmas is a bad time to be in the hospital, so the only question is whether my Doctor will sign me out or I will do the deed myself.  Has the ECT been working, well I have not had the urge to hurt myself in a while mind you I probaly could not get a way with it either.  THe ECT has made a small difference in picking my mood up but enough to warrant electricity through my head, I doubt it.

Well I am rambling so thats it for me

TRG247

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trg247:

My apologies...for some reason I thought you were a "she".

I'm sorry to hear the ECT hasn't had a more positive effect so far. Is there anything else they are doing that you think may be helping?

I hope things are better for you this week.

Take care,

revlow

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I signed myself out of the hospital a couple of weeks ago as I seemed to hit a plateau and did not want to spend new years in the hospital.  Any way I ended up with six ECTs and they were stopped as no noticeable progress was evident.  I watched others go through it and it seemed to be about fifty fifty whether it would be successful or not.  So do your research before going into the ECT treatments.

take care

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  • 5 weeks later...

The more treatments you have, the more you will lose.  You will very possibly gain temporary relief from the more intense aspects of depression, but your affect will gradually flatten as further treatments destroy portions of your frontal and temporal lobes.  Confusion is a common effect of ECT--USUALLY it passes in a short time, sometimes it doesn't.  And with each shock, memories tend to go which never return--a friend lost 18 months of her life some years ago and they never came back.  Your learning ability and attention span are likely to decrease.

Just as a rhetorical question, would you allow someone to attach a set of "paddles" to an extension cord, plug it into the wall socket, and apply the paddles to your head for a fraction of a second or until you went into a seizure?  Because, all the puffery aside, that's exactly the voltage and frequency you're getting during an ECT treatment--with the addition of anesthesia administered by the same drugs used as the first two stages of an execution by lethal injection.

A psychiatrist who served in Vietnam once told me that the paddles/extension cord apparatus was in fairly common use, both to subdue soldiers who had cracked and to torture prisoners who were then questioned while still post-ictal.  A similar technique is used to "stun" livestock before slaughter and indeed, the inventor of ECT got the idea for the treatment after watching pigs being "stunned" by electricity before having their throats cut.  Dr. Ugo Cerletti--feel free to look him up.

To be sure, pdocs generally offer ECT only as a treatment of last resort (save for some hospitals which give it to everyone to run up the bills and insure return business).  But even they will freely admit they do not know how or if it works.  In a double-blind study done during the middle 80s, one group of patients was given shocks, while the other received anesthesia, preparation, etc., but no shock.  Both groups were regarded as showing equal improvement by their physicians (source: "Omni" Magazine c. 1982-83).

To make a loose comparison....it is truly sad that some cancers do not respond to modern medical treatments.  This does not and never will mean that laetrile and "psychic surgery" are of the slightest benefit, even though some seem them as "the last hope".

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  • 4 months later...

Just a quick updat. It has been over six months since my last ECT session and the memory that I had lost still has not returned. Would I do it again........nope

take care

trg247

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