Jump to content

Psychiatrist told me to think about ECT


Hermione
 Share

Recommended Posts

So my last session my psychiatrist mentioned ECT but the side effects scare me and it seems extreme. I am depressed and suicidal a lot but it just terrifies me. I have an eating disorder and depression and anxiety and PTSD my PTSD has been bad and I went back into a spiral of my eating disorder. I don't think I could work with doing ECT and my other option is also treatment which would also keep me out of work. I am a daycare teacher I think that is why things like memory loss sound so horrifying to me and knowing I doubt I could work at the same time. Besides my job I have no motivation to do anything I am too low. My psychiatrist is working on meds but I have tried so many ....I am to think about it no decision has been made but looking for thoughts...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First I disclose. I am a huge ECT supporter. It seems scary but really the side effects to me were less invasive than the 8 meds I was on trying to keep me away from the hospital. It's really not that dangerous, I've had 15 treatments and all the side effects, including memory loss, were pretty minor. You get a muscle relaxer so you don't actually seize, and all that happened was a headache and some jaw soreness...but they gave me stuff for the headache and to prevent nausea. Your out for not even ten minutes so it's not like you get the hangover from prolonged anesthesia, although your pretty wiped for that day. It works faster than meds and it got rid of my SI. there is a unilateral form that is milder and caused me almost no side effects. All in all, it gets an unfair reputation and I would go in with and open mind. I'm sure that someone will post with all the negatives because it is a controversial topic, and I'm not saying there aren't some potential problems, just to try and see past the stigma when you make a decision 

 

 

Edited by Iceberg
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Hermione, welcome to CB. 

First let me say I totally understand your fears. ECT is terrifying and how it has been portrayed in our culture doesn't help. 

You must be feeling pretty terrible if your doctor has recommended you consider ECT. I'll tell you that my pdoc pushed ECT  for a year before I tried it. I was so scared even after I agreed to do it. I was almost crying when they took me to the procedure room for the first time. A kind nurse came in and held my hand while they put me out.

I had a total of 31 treatments over the course of about 5 months. The first several were 2-3 times a week but after a couple of weeks we backed off to once a week. I used FMLA to take short term disability leave from my job as a mechanical engineer for 2.5 months. After that I worked 4 days a week and got ECT on Fridays (and I did not work those days). I stayed with friends for the first half of my treatments, but moved back home (where I live alone) for the last approx. 3 months.

If you're interested I documented my experience here

The side effects that I experienced were fatigue, headache, nausea and memory loss/foggy cognition. The doctors gave me medicine in my IV for the headache and nausea. The fatigue was pretty much only on the day I received treatment. I slept most of that day, usually.

Now, about the side effect you're probably most worried about: the memory loss. I understand. As I said above, I am an engineer so you can understand that having a clear mind is important to me. That said, the depression was making my cognition & memory pretty foggy on its own. I found my memory and cognition was pretty bad on the treatment days (when I just wanted to sleep anyway) and when I was getting more treatments close together. It was not so bad I couldn't function though. I think I acclimated to it somewhat too as I was able to work almost full time (32 hours/week) while receiving weekly maintenance treatments. 

There is a lot I don't remember. Pretty much anything that happened while I was receiving treatment I can't remember. Foods I've tried, movies I saw, and visits from friends/family. I was able to work, though I kept meticulous notes. I don't remember stuff from that period without some prompts, and often not even then. It's been better since I stopped ECT treatment.

Beyond the treatment period, I can't tell how much other memory loss is due to ECT and how much just from severe depression. Some of both. Prompts, notes, etc. make a big difference. I've reread journal entries, chat transcripts, etc. as memory aids. It helps.

I really do recommend ECT. It is not as scary or as damaging as it seems. It didn't help enough for me but I would try it again if I could get enough time off work to give bilateral ECT a fair shot. I only had 4 bilateral treatments and they were all a week apart. 

If you have any questions at all this forum is a great place to start/ask, but feel free to PM me too.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

thank you for your responses i am trying to get advice everywhere because it just seemed so extreme to me like i am very depressed and not doing well but it just seems like a lot for me. I appreciate your experiences because they make me a little comfortable about it but I still need to go over it with my treatment team and keep searching out opinions and see experiences as it really scares me still my job is very important to me but knowing i won't be able to work is hard for me but i know i can't keep going on like this its just awful i am exhausted and just sick of fighting...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Hermione said:

If I were to decide to do this when done with treatments would it effect work I am a daycare teacher and I love it and don't want negative effects later...

You won't forget big things like how to change diapers or what behaviours are normal in children of that age. You might forget parent names or the locations of items that are rarely used. Nothing that can't be brushed off as having a bad memory and making a joke. 

It might impact work because if it helps you could be more genuine in your happiness, have more energy to chase the kiddos and feel more optimistic about everything. If it helps, you won't have that voice in the back of your head sighing at every little task. 

This is all based on my experience, of course. Your mileage may vary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you I just want to cover all my bases and look into what all effects are I don't see my psychiatrist again until September 5th anxious to talk about it more I want to keep trying meds just not sure if that ship has sort of sailed...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ECT is considered the gold standard for treating depression. It is considered more effective than meds. It kind of got a bad reputation because of certain movies, but in fact a lot has changed over the years. I know it's scary, but in most cases that fear is unfounded.

Continuing the med merry-go-round when you have tried so many meds is just prolonging your suffering. ECT works fast when it works. You might even start to feel better halfway through the treatments.

Of course, it's your decision whether to go this route, but if my cocktail ever stops working, I'm going to ask for ECT.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure my psychiatrist didn't respond back I just told her I was willing to try it so when I get it or she gets back to me I will see. I have just been on so many nothing tends to work so I am not sure how helpful it will be for me 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing about ECT tho...the side effects are (usually) cumulative, so if you feel like the cognitive impairment is getting to intrusive you can always stop...I did that once. It's pretty rare to get severe memory loss from one treatment (at least according to the doc I had) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I wouldn't do it. The possible long-term side effects are too risky and for most, if not all, the "positive" effects (if you get any) are short-lived, anyway. Personally, I believe it's brain damage. Do your research and read about actual patient testimonials.

  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Igoryok said:

I wouldn't do it. The possible long-term side effects are too risky and for most, if not all, the "positive" effects (if you get any) are short-lived, anyway. Personally, I believe it's brain damage. Do your research and read about actual patient testimonials.

i'm an actual patient.

i had seventeen bilateral rounds (slated for eighteen but blood pressure too low one day) over the course of six weeks. yes, i had memory loss and still don't remember those six weeks and about a month prior. i was in super bad shape prior though.

i have not had strong direct command hallucinations since i completed those rounds in 2013. it wasn't entirely positive, it didn't make me not schizophrenic, but it did stop me, for the most part, trying to perform self surgeries because receiving orders i followed to the best of my ability.

i'm alive. so there's that.

there may be a need for maintenance at some point, i don't know. the side effects apart from memory issues i described above were headaches i don't remember suffering from and i was discombobulated for a couple of months after.

i lived to see my child be born. maybe i'll live to see her continue to grow up.

i think it really depends on your situation. psychosis is brain damage and i was treatment resistant and there ....it was really rough. it was a do or die situation. i may lack a chunk of a few months, but i'm not dead, so...yeah.

i want to see this research indicating that there are few positive benefits "for most' and that whatever they are end up being "short lived" and that the side effects are "too risky". all of those terms need to be defined because they're all rather relative and contrary to what research i was shown before i signed the consent forms.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, mellifluous said:

i'm an actual patient.

i want to see this research indicating that there are few positive benefits "for most' and that whatever they are end up being "short lived" and that the side effects are "too risky". all of those terms need to be defined because they're all rather relative and contrary to what research i was shown before i signed the consent forms.

I'm also an actual patient.

If it saved your life, I'm really glad. For me, it may have very well ruined it. After my 5th session, my emotions felt blunted, and I spiraled into a deep depression. Then I had a short "enlightenment" phase as I like to call it, which was very short-lived, unfortunately. I then relapsed into dissociation/depression, and only got worse from there. I now have a "blank mind"/loss of inner monologue, and I don't know who I am. A loss of personality and sense of self, if you will. I was never like this before ECT, and I believe it was the worst decision I've made in my entire life. This has happened, and continues to happen, to many other folks undergoing this "treatment." You can find such testimonials under the comments section in various articles about ECT posted online, from actual patients. You will also find them on Youtube videos about ECT. Every single article and Youtube video I've seen about ECT that allows for comments, there are much more negative testimonials than positive ones. Like I said, OP can do the research. There's also a Facebook group for survivors of ECT, where the majority of members have been devastated by the effects of this "therapy." One member recently committed suicide because of what ECT had done to her.

As for the "benefits" being short-lived, most who've actually feel they benefited from it, will report as much. Even the user Geek here reported as much, and now he is - according to what he posted himself - in a worse state than he was prior to ECT.

Finally, you can read this article, which talks about ECT causing brain damage: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/electroshock-treatment_b_1373619.html

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i respect that you @Igoryok have had different experiences. and i don't want to dismiss them. i'll read your link. i'm just saying, our situations are different. i still have refractory psychosis and may need more. but my situation was at the end of the line, so to speak. not everyone's is or is helped. i get that. my bestest closest got no results because they couldn't induce seizures. 

i'm just putting my experience out there, too. 

 

one other note: i think it's likely there are always more negative reviews for things than positive ones because those who have a bad experience are more highly motivated to review. 

but regardless, i'm sorry you're suffering.

Edited by mellifluous
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the record, Peter Breggin is a psychiatrist who is actually anti-psychiatry. He wrote a book against Prozac and SSRIs also, meds which have helped millions of people. I wouldn't take his word for anything.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@mellifluous - thank you, and the feeling is mutual. If it saved your life, I'm really glad. 

@jt07 - yes, he may be antipsychiatry, but the article I linked to is not really about his opinion, but rather the study he cites that shows "disconnectivity" in the brain resulting from ECT - aka brain damage.

I've also spoken with quite a few people - and read accounts from others - who talk about persisting cognitive deficits, lack of emotions/flatness, inability to form new memories, shortened attention span, loss of personality/self, inability to feel love, etc. as a result of ECT. Surely sounds like brain damage to me. Even my previous psychiatrist had urged me not to do it, and I wish more than anything that I'd listened to her. 

I also think a major problem is that most psychiatrists will never tell you of these possible devastating effects. There is no truly "informed consent." All I was told by my psychiatrist was that it was a "safe" procedure and all I had to lose was some short-term memory loss. Nothing could be further from the truth. If there is at least one person who's life has been ruined by ECT - and there are many - then psychiatrists should warn you of this possibility. It's truly tragic that most don't.

Edited by Igoryok
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Igoryok said:

@mellifluous - thank you, and the feeling is mutual. If it saved your life, I'm really glad. 

@jt07 - yes, he may be antipsychiatry, but the article I linked to is not really about his opinion, but rather the study he cites that shows "disconnectivity" in the brain resulting from ECT - aka brain damage.

I've also spoken with quite a few people - and read accounts from others - who talk about persisting cognitive deficits, lack of emotions/flatness, inability to form new memories, shortened attention span, loss of personality/self, inability to feel love, etc. as a result of ECT. Surely sounds like brain damage to me. Even my previous psychiatrist had urged me not to do it, and I wish more than anything that I'd listened to her. 

I also think a major problem is that most psychiatrists will never tell you of these possible devastating effects. There is no truly "informed consent." All I was told by my psychiatrist was that it was a "safe" procedure and all I had to lose was some short-term memory loss. Nothing could be further from the truth. If there is at least one person who's life has been ruined by ECT - and there are many - then psychiatrists should warn you of this possibility. It's truly tragic that most don't.

A patient is not a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc. They are probably the most biased.

They've been doing ECT for literally over 100 years and have never proven brain damage, even with the antipsychiatry movement, bans, and whatnot. Not on an MRI, scan, or any other way of showing it. It has never been documented. Shortened attention span is not equal to brain damage. They've talked about how the initial procedures, when it was "invented" was "barbaric", often traumatic, caused broken bones sometimes, and so on, but never brain damage.

I've had more severe, long lasting, side effects from untreated mood or thought (psychosis) episodes than from ECT. And yes, I had ECT, in 2008. I know people that have had great, good, neutral, bad, and horrible experiences. 

If it caused brain damage, which is irreversible at this time in medicine, it would not be legal, anywhere. There wouldn't be informed consent, the danger would outweigh the benefit. I was told there was a percentage that it flat out would not work and there was a chance there would be negative side effects - memory loss and whatnot, for no benefit. 

It is not an experimental treatment anymore. This isn't 1900. Sorry you had a bad experience, but you aren't quoting peer reviewed, scientific, proven fact.

Quote

Informed consent (short version)

permission granted in the knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment with full knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anecdotal evidence (patient testimonials) is very weak. People report the same symptoms that you posted from meds too. The fact is that people confuse their illnesses with the treatment. And if you are getting this from the internet, there are a lot of anti-psychiatry "testimonials" and also the inherent bias of the internet is that people with the less than favorable outcomes scream the loudest so they appear to be a large part of the population of people who have ECT when in fact they are a small minority.

Finally, one study does not science make. Breggin knows this. Science relies on repeatability of studies, and you can only draw a conclusion when you see a trend in the studies. Where are the other studies showing this "brain damage"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ECT has been studied for decades. Its aftereffects and safety have been proven repeatedly, by creditable researchers, and published by reliable sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12642045/

http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/electroconvulsive-therapy#1

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/electroconvulsive-therapy/basics/definition/prc-20014161

Any and every form of medical treatment has potential side effects. That doesn't make them unsafe. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/8/2017 at 9:14 PM, San said:

A patient is not a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc. They are probably the most biased.

Biased? They're the ones receiving the treatment and reporting the aftereffects. That's not bias, that's reporting their first-hand experience. The neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc. is not the one receiving the treatment. 

 

On 9/8/2017 at 9:14 PM, San said:

Shortened attention span is not equal to brain damage.

Persistent, long-term (possibly permanent) shortened attention span and the other "side" effects I've included doesn't sound like brain damage to you? Well, I beg to differ. I also know someone who's developed a seizure disorder due to ECT, and plenty of others who can no longer do simple math in their heads (not to mention other side effects) years after ECT. What is that if not brain damage? They've never had these problems prior to ECT. 

On 9/8/2017 at 9:14 PM, San said:

I know people that have had...bad, and horrible experiences. 

You've just proved my point in that there is no real informed consent. Psychiatrists generally don't tell patients that they can have a bad or horrible experience, which many have, and do.

On 9/8/2017 at 9:14 PM, San said:

If it caused brain damage, which is irreversible at this time in medicine, it would not be legal, anywhere.

Lobotomy was also once legal...

Doctors take the Hippocratic oath, "first do no harm." If there is at least one patient that's been harmed by ECT - and there are countless - then the least that all psychiatrists prescribing ECT should do is warn their patient of the various harmful, devastating effects they may experience. Unfortunately, most don't. 

___________

Here is another study, by the way:

“The cognitive effects of electroconvulsive therapy in community settings.” Neuropsychopharmacology, 32, 244-254. Sackeim, H., Prudic, J., Fuller, R., Keilp, J., Lavori, P. and Olfson, M. (2007). Based on numerous standardized psychological tests, six months after the last ECT every form of the treatment was found to cause lasting memory and mental dysfunction. In the summary words of the investigators, “Thus, adverse cognitive effects were detected six months following the acute treatment course.” They concluded, “this study provides the first evidence in a large, prospective sample that adverse cognitive effects can persist for an extended period, and that they characterize routine treatment with ECT in community settings.”

Some more sources to look at:

`Electroshock as head injury’, – Linda Andre;
`The Sham ECT Literature: Implications for Consent to ECT’, – Dr Colin Ross
`The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy: A literature review’, – Dr John Read & Dr Richard Bentall (One of the best)
`Time to Abandon Electroconvulsion as a Treatment in Modern Psychiatry’, – Hanafy Youseff, Fatma Youseff.
`Memory and cognitive effects of ECT: informing and assessing patients’, – Harold Robertson & Robin Pryor
`ECT Anonymous – Research Information’, May 1999
`Brain Damage and Memory Loss form ECT’, Peter Sterling, neurologist.
`Electroshock’, Dr John Breeding
`Psychiatry’s Electroconvulsive Shock Treatment A Crime Against Humanity’, Lawrence Stevens
`ECT: Sham Statistics, the Myth of Convulsive Therapy, and the Case for Consumer Misinformation – Douglas G Cameron
`A Shocking treatment?’ – Dr Lucy Johnstone.

`Adverse psychological effects of ECT’, Dr Lucy Johnstone
`Waiting for Oblivion: Women’s Experiences with Electroshock’, Prof Cheryl Leslie van Daarlen-Smith.

Edited by Igoryok
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to the Wikipedia and most studies ECT is very safe and more effective than medication, especially for psychosis, but also for the majority of depression patients. What confuses me is that it's still considered a "high risk" last line treatment by the FDA and that many professionals are reluctant to suggest it. I also found reports about severe and permanent memory loss, including someone who forgot every person that mattered to them, just to relapse into depression a few months later. Yet there seems to be overwhelming evidence of positive effects.

I'll mention it to my pdoc next time. Let's see what he says.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well all of this terrifies me and well my psychiatrist and I did not talk about it last session we are still going to try medications and therapy she even mentioned long term trauma treatment like my therapist but feels i am still functioning on some level so she can't imagine me going away for treatment i am struggling but she hopes i don't end up in the worse case scenario.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Igoryok: Your last post was hidden because it is inappropriate to lift an unidentified person's content in whole cloth from Facebook and post it in a public forum. We have no way of verifying the content of your post, or cross-checking the truth of the original poster's statements. Therefore, your post is just a spreading of sensationalist hearsay. Gearhead, having read it, already cast doubt upon its credibility.

I should add that your previous post cites a study from 2007 - a decade-old study in a field that has seen radical improvement, change and growth in recent years, including reduction in the area of the brain treated and significant reductions in the voltage employed. A ten-year-old study might as well be news from the Middle Ages.

If you have further personal experience to add to this conversation, you are welcome to do so. If you find recent, current, peer-reviewed studies, you are welcome to share them here. Otherwise, you've made your opinion known, and that will be enough of that.

Hermione - Please pay no attention to this sensationalist bilge these people are brewing up. In the developed world, the medical establishment simply does not permit procedures to be performed that have a serious risk of causing brain damage, an no ethical physician or surgeon would perform them if they did. While any medical procedure may entail some risk - and indeed, the act of daily living entails some risk - your doctor will not suggest a procedure that has a better chance of making you worse than of making you better. When and if the day comes that my meds no longer work for me, I will try ECT without a second thought. It is a safe and for many, many people, an effective treatment.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just so everyone understands what the staff is thinking, and indeed how the site works: this is a first-person site. That means we accept stories about what has happened to YOU, not your auntie's gardener's third cousin, and not some random person you found on Facebook. 

Furthermore, it is and has always been CB's policy not to permit categorical condemnations of any treatment. Anyone is welcome to give an opinion based on their own experience. Preaching that a med or other treatment is evil, unethical, or flat-out invariably dangerous is fear-mongering. And we don't need more fear. We need to know our options. All of them. 

So keep the conversation first-person, or post credible scientific information. Those are the choices. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, people can now judge brain damage without scan's, by Facebook post, and guess their own IQ by their kids homework.

Even a lobotomy won't drop your IQ 30 points. ie: Howard Dully. Quick synopsis, he wasn't a child genius, just average, maybe above, probably had ADHD, but had a bitch of a stepmom, way back, when Walter Freeman was at large, his literally evil stepmom convinced him to do an icepick (a bit after Freeman framed the icepick's, now a 'prefrontal lobotomy') lobotomy on a confused, probably slightly hungry, 12 year old kid that just wanted to swim and play.. (Other docs said the stepmom was the problem, Freeman was.. enthusiastic) Howard was happy to get away, to a hospital, to have brain surgery.. 

They did ECT a few times to literally render him unconscious. This was before they used a nice cocktail to put you out (okay,general anesthetic is pleasant to me) and then paralyzed your muscles. So, the "Dr" literally describes himself as "chasing the young boy around with paddles" until he was really out. 

Then he shoved metal picks into his eye sockets, swirled them, took a couple pictures The ice-pick replacements 7cm deep held in place for a photo(procedure, this is how he killed a few people) and swirled, pulled them out, and Howard woke up the next day woozy, with an infection, and black eyes.A day post surgery 

And, after a couple weeks - probably less than it took me to recover from ECT, he was pretty much his regular self, so his stepmonster sent him to live with his disabled at birth half brother, when they couldn't afford it, he was "certified" and send to an "insane asylum" for years, where he scammed patients, the doctor's wouldn't medicate, or use any form of psychosurgery or treatment such as ECT on him because they were outraged at what had happened to him, and later, discharged, sent to a therapeutic type school (shut down for a sex scandal), juvie, shown off as a miracle cure by "the lobotomist" who was screamed at, the 3 children had to be hidden from the crowd (he never tried that again) and then Howard lived off social assistance, scams, in and out of jail.. went into the asylum once or twice - but he wasn't "insane" nor would fit today's involuntary commitment criteria.

He eventually got it together, went to school, and then did amazing stuff for those affected by lobotomy.

Modern day MRI showed that the damage done, stated in his book (easy read, fast read, interesting, not triggery) that the damage done, and left, should have left him pretty much vegetative.

However, he was 12, and kids can recover amazingly. He bounced back. He lost a lot of memories.. But he essentially turned out how he would have, likely better had his stepmother been in his life - lobotomy or not. (His mother died of cancer when he was young, unfortunately)

Yea, and ECT, in 2017 causes brain damage, with the technology, study and whatnot, we have.

Feeling shitty, memory loss, being bad at math, losing motivation, or even headaches, aren't signs of brain damage. We have technology to diagnose it.

Sitting around on Facebook, diagnosing yourself, calling peer reviewed scientists that dedicate their lives, their money, and quote First, do no harm. On making people better, with ECT, meds and so on, liars, that are deliberately brain damaging people is fucking mental illness at its goddamn worst

You are not more qualified, better t diagnostics, or more educated on treatments ad mental illness than thousands of thousands of researchers and over a hundreds of years of study.

Jesus Christ. Yes, you're suffering. But you're blaming the people that are trying to help you, and that's you're problem.

The internet and Facebook is the worst thing to happen to psychiatry. I think your IQ has dropped 30-40 points, seriously. Get over yourself. 

Why the hell are psychiatrists evil now? Why does a psychiatrist want to force people into stupidity, to damage their brains? Why are you so special? Why have they chosen you to fuck up so badly? So they can get sued, bad reviews, idiotic comments on FB, twtter, and youtube? Destroy their profession, families, lives? It makes no sense.

Edited by San
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/10/2017 at 8:13 AM, Hermione said:

well all of this terrifies me and well my psychiatrist and I did not talk about it last session we are still going to try medications and therapy she even mentioned long term trauma treatment like my therapist but feels i am still functioning on some level so she can't imagine me going away for treatment i am struggling but she hopes i don't end up in the worse case scenario.

hey, i just want to tell you that i get being terrified, but really when you come to a point where you need to strongly consider ECT, all of this is not going to matter as much as your life will to you, i hope. i'm glad you have some options right now. ECT isn't a bad option though. yeah, it doesn't always meet with success, but sometimes it does. i wouldn't've done it if i'd had further medication options available, but i'm glad i did because it was like a "reset" button for me on treatment resistance AND it got rid of my command hallucinations.

there are more options, too. i have to go now and possibly vomit after the lobotomy post, but i'm just saying, if it comes to be the time where you need to consider this, brain damage/changes can be caused by psychosis. i don't know anything about mood disturbance, but it definitely can be caused by psychosis. so, for me, at least, it was stopping something that was doing damage, not doing damage itself. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, San said:

Yep, people can now judge brain damage without scan's, by Facebook post, and guess their own IQ by their kids homework.

No, people can judge brain damage by neuropsych testing and sometimes by scans (the study that showed reduced frontal cortical connectivity after ECT). Nobody's "guessing" their IQ - this woman was obviously tested, and the fact that she couldn't help her 8-year old daughter do homework confirmed her cognitive deficits as a result from ECT. But it seems like you don't want to hear others' experience, just the ones that "worked," right? 

6 hours ago, San said:

Even a lobotomy won't drop your IQ 30 points.

Are you suggesting lobotomy didn't cause brain damage?? Why would this poor woman who's now suicidal because of her ECT experience make any of this up?

6 hours ago, San said:

Yea, and ECT, in 2017 causes brain damage, with the technology, study and whatnot, we have.

Yea, there's a study from 2007 (and another recent one that I can link) that shows lasting (possibly permament) cognitive dysfunction and memory loss, preventing many people from ever going back to work. Among other side effects aforementioned, this sounds like brain damage. What else would you call it?

7 hours ago, San said:

Feeling shitty, memory loss, being bad at math, losing motivation, or even headaches, aren't signs of brain damage. We have technology to diagnose it.

What would you call it, then, especially when these symptoms (among others) are persistent and happen as a direct result of ECT?

7 hours ago, San said:

Jesus Christ. Yes, you're suffering. But you're blaming the people that are trying to help you, and that's you're problem.

The internet and Facebook is the worst thing to happen to psychiatry. I think your IQ has dropped 30-40 points, seriously. Get over yourself. 

Why the hell are psychiatrists evil now? Why does a psychiatrist want to force people into stupidity, to damage their brains? Why are you so special? Why have they chosen you to fuck up so badly? So they can get sued, bad reviews, idiotic comments on FB, twtter, and youtube? Destroy their profession, families, lives? It makes no sense.

I'm blaming them for not providing adequate informed consent, yes, among other things. I never said "psychiatrists are evil" or deliberately force people into stupidity, damaging their brains. Unfortunately, however, it happens, and people should be made aware of these possible consequences of ECT. You're literally making up stuff and putting words into my mouth, things I never even said. Maybe it was your IQ that has dropped.

Finally, people should be able to hear both sides of the story, but whenever someone mentions a terrible experience and yes, brain damage confirmed by neuropsychologists, you immediately dismiss it with indignation and delete people's posts. You admitted yourself that you saw or knew people that have had a horrible experience with ECT. Someone here posted of his wife's experience, but his post was deleted simply because it wasn't his personal experience. Are you serious? So one is not even allowed to post the experience of one's spouse? What a travesty. My previous psychiatrist herself considers ECT to induce brain damage, and she's quite well-known and respected here. She urged me not to do it, and I wish I'd listened to her. I'm not blaming my last psychiatrist for deliberately damaging me or calling him evil, but I'm certainly blaming him for not doing enough research and informing me of all possible side effects. I wasn't even depressed, let alone suicidal, before ECT. Now I'm both. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Iceberg said:

Yes but if someone is suicidal or a danger what else are they supposed to do when meds don't work? 

I don't know. You said you did ECT. Has it really helped you, or were the benefits short-lived? Do you plan on doing it again?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Igoryok said:

I don't know. You said you did ECT. Has it really helped you, or were the benefits short-lived? Do you plan on doing it again?

When I was chronically suicidal, an extreme danger to myself and had tried a range of meds (broader range but fewer in number than the OP, I think), I tried ECT. I don't regret it, despite the costs (both financial and physical). I had some initial benefit from it, though yes, it didn't last. I would try it again if I had the social and financial support to do so, because I didn't give bilateral ECT a fair shake (only had three treatments spaced far apart). It has been recommended to me that bilateral is more effective (though with more severe side effects, often), but I would need to give it a few sessions of 2-3 times a week to see if it could really help.

Severe depression had stolen much of my ability to think clearly or concentrate (including my ability to read even for pleasure and do mathematics - and I have a college minor in math!). Depression does that. I, too, call bullshit on the claim of 30pt IQ loss. Feeling hopeless is also a symptom of depression, and in my experience is only strengthened by the failure of treatments - especially something that requires as much investment as ECT. 

Honestly? I am not so attached to my memories of childhood or whatever that I wouldn't risk losing them in order to be able to live without the incessant pain of intractable depression. I lost some memories, mostly of what happened while I was receiving treatment but also some from before that. It was worth it. How often would I really think about the short visit from my parents (who live in a different country and I see rarely) or a movie I saw, compared to the emptiness and hopelessness of depression? I did not lose knowledge. I can still do my job (again, I'm an engineer - my job involves complex cognitive tasks, mathematics, etc.).

I am not saying ECT is a quick decision or should be a first line treatment. Everyone here has acknowledged that, like all treatments, ECT has some side effects. I have seen no convincing, peer-reviewed research that shows it is more damaging than prolonged, untreated, severe mood episodes (or psychosis). As others have said, testimonials (particularly unsolicited ones) are always going to be more negative than positive, more extreme than common. Given that, the only thing that can be trusted is repeatable, peer-reviewed research. There has been plenty of that done on the safety of ECT, and you have yet to share much beyond garbage from a known anti-psychiatry nut and a bunch of titles to articles (not peer-reviewed research citations, and lacking links to the reading). 

I found this review study from 2012 citing the one peer reviewed article you quoted. Their conclusion, after reviewing all studies of the cognitive effects of right unilateral brief and ultra brief pulse ECT (including the one you quoted), is as follows:

"The results indicate loss of autobiographical memory and impairment of verbal fluency, anterograde verbal and non-verbal memory immediately after brief pulse RUL ECT. To a lesser extent impairment of working memory and reduced speed of processing is found. Autobiographical memory is the only domain still being impaired between one and six months post ECT, but improved in this period. Verbal fluency normalized to baseline performance between one and six months post ECT whereas anterograde verbal and non-verbal memory normalized or even improved. Speed of processing improved within six months after ECT." 

J Affect Disord. 2012 Nov;140(3):233-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.02.024. Epub 2012 May 15. "Neurocognitive effects after brief pulse and ultrabrief pulse unilateral electroconvulsive therapy for major depression: a review." Verwijk E1, Comijs HC, Kok RM, Spaans HP, Stek ML, Scherder EJ.

Also check out this excerpt from a study published in 2016 (emphasis mine):

"Thirty-one patients with MDD were assessed with the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB), the Everyday Memory Questionnaire (EMQ), and the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale prior to, 6  weeks, and 6  months after ECT. Compared to baseline, the speed of processing, attention/vigilance, and reasoning/problem solving test results were significantly improved. The depression score was significantly reduced. There were no changes in subjective memory complaint. There was no significant relationship between the EMQ and the MCCB subtests, but a significant correlation between current depression level and the EMQ. Six months after ECT the cognitive improvement reported at 6-week follow-up was maintained and extended. The corresponding decrease in depressive symptoms and stability in subjectively reported memory complaints suggest that the antidepressant effects of ECT do not occur at the expense of cognitive function"

Front Psychiatry. 2016 Dec 19;7:200. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00200. eCollection 2016. "Maintained Improvement of Neurocognitive Function in Major Depressive Disorders 6  Months after ECT." Mohn C1, Rund BR2.

Note that they observed a significant correlation between depression levels and performance on the memory questionnaire. 

Finally, ECT does not cause brain damage. You must support your claim that it does. There are no structural changes to the brain because of ECT (source, source, source). No cell death. Memory loss and attentional issues are not brain damage. You are conflating a medical term with an emotionally-laden self-diagnosis. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, Geek said:

Finally, ECT does not cause brain damage. You must support your claim that it does. There are no structural changes to the brain because of ECT (source, source, source). No cell death. Memory loss and attentional issues are not brain damage. You are conflating a medical term with an emotionally-laden self-diagnosis. 

I ask again, what do you call persisting (possibly permanent) cognitive impairments, then, if not brain damage? Attentional issues, inability to do simple math in one's head, inability to take in new information years after ECT, blunted/flat affect - what do you call this? 

Here are some excerpts from a recent study, published in 2017:

“ECT is one of the most controversial treatments in medicine, particularly because of the still unknown mechanism of action and uncertainty about cognitive side effects.” (making this indeed an "experimental treatment" with many complaining of severe side effects).

"“Cognitive side effects of ECT are sometimes underestimated and may last much longer after completed treatment than it is usually expected. These cognitive impairments associated with ECT may cause significant functional difficulties and prevent patients to return to work.” - What would you call that, if not brain damage? Maybe I've used the wrong term; I think Traumatic Brain Injury is more apt. (The effects from the latter mimic many of the effects people often get from ECT).

- Kolar, D. (2017). Current status of electroconvulsive therapy for mood disorders: A clinical review. Evid Based Ment Health, 20(1), 12-14. doi: 10.1136/eb-2016-102498

Once again, my main point is that patients routinely receive inadequate informed consent that does not mention the risk of persisting (possibly permanent) impairment. Psychiatrists need to warn their patients of these possible consequences, which they very seldom do. How can you call a treatment "safe" if it can can cause cognitive impairments that result in people not being able to function normally and/or return to work? 

Edited by Igoryok
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would call them side effects, not brain damage nor traumatic brain injury. The cognitive side effects improve and eventually go away. You have never shown that they are permanent because they aren't.

Lamictal and most anticonvulsants cause cognitive side effects. Nobody would say that they do brain damage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, jt07 said:

I would call them side effects, not brain damage nor traumatic brain injury. The cognitive side effects improve and eventually go away. You have never shown that they are permanent because they aren't.

Lamictal and most anticonvulsants cause cognitive side effects. Nobody would say that they do brain damage.

Traumatic brain injury also causes "side effects." But it's still a TBI (usually called "brain damage" in layman's terms).

The cognitive side effects don't always necessarily improve. And the study I just linked doesn't prove that they "eventually go away," either. I've spoken with several people personally who weren't able to return to their careers (or do much of anything really) due to cognitive impairments from ECT that they've had many years ago.

Lamictal and most anticonvulstants generally don't cause the same cognitive impairments as ECT does. And once you stop the medication, you often recover whatever side effects you've incurred on account of the med - this may not be the case with ECT, unfortunately. My psychiatrist said the same thing, "all meds have side effects, but nothing is as serious and severe as ECT."

Edited by Igoryok
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you serious? I said "possibly" permanent. I just showed you a study that talks about cognitive impairment that may cause significant functional difficulties and prevent patients to return to work. This is at least 6 months post-treatment, and nowhere in the study does it say that cognitive impairments "eventually improve" as you so boldly stated, or that these patients can ever work again (I know some that cannot). The researcher of the study furthermore writes, "the literature on cognitive side effects of ECT and maintenance ECT is sparse and there is a lack of randomised data,” and “The loss of autobiographical memory has not been adequately investigated.” (this is where personal patient testimonials come in handy, at least for me).

“Cognitive side effects of ECT can persist for an extended period of time,” and “Robertson and Pryor consider that patients should be told that permanent amnesia is one of possible, frequent and serious side effects of ECT which affects at least one-third of patients.”

__________

Now if you'll permit me a question -  someone please show me a single study that has ever shown that ECT can ‘prevent suicide’ when compared to placebo. On the other hand, I know of people who have committed suicide after ECT (Ernest Hemingway being one of them).

Edited by Igoryok
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry @Hermione

I do not have experience with ECT, but i believe people who say they have had side effects.

Not to scare the OP, but here is a long  term study of the effects of ECT on discrete memory showing deficits

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1911194/

Abstract

Objective

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been controversially associated with long-lasting memory problems. Verbal learning and memory deficits are commonly reported in studies of people with bipolar disorder (BD). Whether memory deficits can be exacerbated in patients with BD who receive ECT has, to our knowledge, not been systematically examined.

Results

Compared with healthy subjects, patients had verbal learning and memory deficits. Subjects who had received remote ECT had further impairment on a variety of learning and memory tests when compared with patients with no past ECT. This degree of impairment could not be accounted for by illness state at the time of assessment or by differential past illness burden between patient groups.

From  a clinical perspective, it is unlikely that such findings, even if confirmed, would significantly change the risk–benefit ratio of this notably effective treatment. Nonetheless, they may highlight the importance of attending to cognitive factors in patients with BD who are about to receive ECT; further, they raise the question of whether certain strategies that minimize cognitive dysfunction with ECT should be routinely employed.

Edited by confused
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...