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Anyone have experience with ECT?


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I have bipolar, severe anxiety and depression. My Dr has tried me on several drugs. Some have helped to a degree but I'm still having suicidal thoughts and crying every day along with major anxiety. My Dr wants me to try ECT but I'm terrified of the side effects. Any input would be appreciated. Thank you.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have had A total of 27 treatments spread over 3 hospitalizations. The first 2 series of 6 and 9 treatments. They were great and minimal memory loss.

the last time I had 12. It did nothing and had a lot of memory losses. I would happily do the first 2 series but I would not do 12.

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I had 6 treatments inpatient.  Had slight short term memory loss and only about 20% improvement in my anxiety and depression symptoms.   15 years have gone by and it is suggested by my doc to try again, for 9 treatments.  Like you meds are not an effective treatment for me - I am diagnosed as Bipolar 2 with some OCD and PTSD.     I think the actual treatment weeks were kind of a blur for me - I took naps, had headaches, felt worn out from the ECT treatment itself.   My best to you whatever you decide. 

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It sucks. I was going to have the same choice to make as you but today i'm pretty stable. I tried many medications. For myself, the mix of Lithium/Epival/Lamotrigine made it. 

:/ hard choice, I wish you the best

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I had unilateral ECT 8n 2008… inpatient. It saved my life. I had a long episode of depression and couldn't function, I actually have more memory loss from mania, depression, a:d psychosis. Episodes that lasted months.

My memory of the month of ECT is fuzzy in places. I remember my nurses, my pdoc, the ECT doc and nurse, the testing (physical, I have tachycardia, so I had an EKG, echo and wore a Holter monitor for 24 hours... Turns out everything is fine, I am generally under 100bpm when not being tested or at a doctors! (My PCP said she has the same problem) I was cleared.

We got up around 4am, as I was in a psychiatric hospital (more like resort) and our ECT nurse gave us smokes while waiting for our cab (she bought everyone their choice, so we didn't lose ours!) And she'd chat, tell stories, calm everyone down, on the ride. She was so incredibly nice,reassuring, and amazing with an IV.

At the hospital, we put on gowns, the nurses grabbed heated blankets, covered us, if we were nervous, as soon as the IV was in, they offered a non_benzo sedative. I recall only one patient saying yes, and he said it was unnecessary after. The IV was tiny, nurses are great, more warm blankets, then ECT in the recovery room.

We went down, the staff fussed over us, "more pillows? Warm blanket? Is the TV on a good station?" They'd talk, the doc and anesthesiologist came in, ask how we were, chat, explain, tell us if we changed our mind, we could nap, no one forced us. Once everything was confirmed, the anesthesiologist asked if we wanted music, to count, to relax as we went out, and then it hit, floating.

I woke up with no IV and a mild headache each time. A nurse asked how I felt. I always knew what happened, date, etc. I took a tylenol, felt tired, We got dressed, smoked, got treated to Timmies (in every Canadian hospital) the cab came, we went back. My pdoc left me alone to sleep, the nurses would ask what I wanted for lunch, by then I was fine, so I'd get my own, rest or do crafts in the afternoon, by evening, I was playing baseball or whatever.

 It helped fast.

3 weeks after discharge I was working full time. I was discharged 2 weeks after ECT. I haven't had an episode of depression since (that meets DSM criteria, or wasn't because of a death in the family or other circumstance)

I would do it again if i needed. 

 

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