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Hey everypeoples,

Checking in after feeling good for a few months and then having two complete bipolar cycles in TWO days. I have no idea why I'm feeling this way and I'm pretty sick of it. I'd been avoiding ECT for years, but at this point I've tried so many medications that I put "too many to count" on my newest doc's intake form. I literally have taken everything currently and formerly on the market except Geodon and ... maybe Tegretol or Depakote. I can't remember which one of those I was blessed enough to miss out on. Anyone have any idea if ECT is a good idea for bipolar, but at this point I'll pull out any of the options I have. I looked it up as much as I could and it seems NAMI, Mayo Clinic, and the NIH say it can be used for bipolar that's resistant to medications.

To be clear, I have BP1, OCD, and some sort of anxiety (pdoc thinks social anxiety). I only started having manias in the last 4-5 years and my rapid cycling is going insanely rapid.

Currently on Lamictal (150mg), Lexapro (20mg), Trileptal (900mg in two separate doses), Abilify (5mg) and Lorazepam (1mg at night for sleep). It worked for three months and then I totally lost it after a stressful phone call.

Is ECT my next step here?

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1) Im BP1 too and ECT helped me. It can help all the mood states, but is commonly used  for depression. However, your med doses are pretty low...could you go up on those first? But yes, ECT is for bipolar too. P.S. you dodged a bullet with Geodon (in my opinion of course...well...and one of my docs too)

however, it probably wont touch the anxiety unless the mood symptoms are specifically causing it

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You might want to check out Carrie Fisher's book "Shockaholic."  She talks pretty candidly about her experience getting ECT to treat her bipolar depression.  There's also a fair amount of celebrity stories which might not interest you too much, but they're generally funny and it's a quick read regardless.  The ECT stuff was by far the most interesting to me, since you don't hear too many first hand accounts about it.  It's still a pretty rare procedure.  Carrie got it several times and considered it a maintenance treatment, and had an overall positive view of it, although with some serious side effects, mostly short-term memory issues.

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ECT helped me tremendously. I going through manic, mixed, and depressed episodes in a flare of particularly rapid cycling spanning the last half year that lead to three hospitalizations and a suicide attempt. I was treated with bilateral ECT after the attempt and it basically "awakened" me and pumped the brakes on the rapid cycling substantially. And it worked quickly. It seemed to make me more responsive to medications as well. I have tried pretty much everything out there, and had recently gotten in trouble through the use of antidepressants whereas previously they seemed to be important parts of my cocktail. Now I seem to be much more responsive to mood stabilizers and antipsychotics alone. My pdoc told me going into it that it seems to have a tendency to treat bipolar patients more quickly, so fewer sessions are needed. This was definitely my experience. Side effects were limited to memory issues but they were not permanent and they were not debilitating. Absolutely worth pursuing if treatment wouldn't be a huge disruption to your life right now. ECT can be used to treat depressed, mixed, and manic episodes. 

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