... therapy (ECT). I have Bipolar I and anxiety issues. My goals are to come out of it needing less meds, and I also want my ever-present funk and anhedonia to be lifted. I am interested in hearing from people who have had ECT
Hi Tonka, I have had ECT. Did a doctor tell you that you need ECT? If so he/she should have told you that ECT is not a 1 time fix. You have to have several treatments of ECT, the number of times and frequency is determined by the doctor. I also have type 1 Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. I understand your feeling of urgency to end your suffering. However, ECT did not work for me. I started having a lot of memory loss. I did not remember anything about the following couple of days after each treatment. I was going to nursing school and I could not remember enough material to take my classes. By no means would I suggest anyone to take any medication or diagnosis anyone. I am just telling you my personal experience. ECT may work for you but what worked for me was with the support of a Psychiatrist, counseling, medication and support groups I have become able to function much better.
I still do not go to social events or places unless I have to. I am able to hold down a great job as a Registered Nurse working with patients that suffer from mental illness. If you are like me, friends and family don't understand and think you are just lazy and think you should be able to control it. That is why support groups are so comforting and helpful, you can see there are so many others that suffer from the same thing you do and you are not just lazy. However, I do think that along with support groups seeing a professional is also very important so that you can receive all the help there is available for you. I hope I have been helpful. I am here if you have any questions or just want a friend to talk to. Have a blessed day.
Hello Tonka. A bit late in responding, to your question. I have major depression, and am refractory to most of the psychiatric drugs that I have been on over the years. I have had ect. It did seem to eleviate my depression, but only for a very short period of time. My series ran anywhere from nine to twelve sessions. At three sessions per week, (its administered every other day) Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It was done as an inpatient. So, I was always in the hospital a month and longer for one series. My memory is not very good. (to say the least). Would I recommend it? Difficult to say. It really is a last ditch effort, in those people who receive the shock "therapy". There is no therapy, per say. Just electricity causing you to have a massive seizure. Today, the medical establishment can still not come up with an explanation in how the shock treatments work.
They know the result(s) but not the why and how it does so. I can go into the specifics, unilateral, bi-lateral, the pros and cons of both. The other people that I know, old friends, who at one time also received ect, they as myself, were severely depressed. There is a cost factor, and liability. Weavers are signed that the dr. administering you the ect, along with the hospital, and then the anasesthesiologist, are not liable, for any damage that may be incurred. I did the treatments because I was at the end of my wits. I still, have the option for further treatment,. And its just that, an option. I'll once again weigh the pro vs the con. best of wishes to you Tonka.
Please think very, very carefully about this before you have it done. I have heard many people say that they have significant memory loss after doing ECT - one woman was so bad she didn't even recognize, or have any memory of, her adult children. For depression, there is now an FDA approved treatment for medication-resistant depression that is not invasive, and does not involve any medications. It's called TMS - Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation - the same technology used for MRIs. I've been having this therapy for the past week. You sit in what looks like a dental chair and a machine is placed to your right side of your head, another is placed above the left side. A loud, woodpecker-type sound is made (somehwat similar to the MRI sound) and you do this for 37 minutes, 5 days a week for 20 - 30 sessions. This treatment has a 70 percent remission rate - that is for 70% of the people have no depression whatsoever after this treatment.
I can't even imagine it, and I'm so excited to experience it! My depression being completely gone, after these past 27 years. Please do google this and look into it before undergoing ECT. Your memories are very important - they are a big part of what makes you YOU. Don't take a chance on losing them unless it is absolutely necessary.
I also am bipolar more manic than anything lately. But I know how debilitating the lows can be. I also have suffers from panic disorder for about 23 years. 5 Xanax a day, also a combined dose of 90mg of cymbalta . Seems the cymbalta was like a miracle drug 4 months ago now I don't think it has any benefits. Back to (ECT) I personally have not had it ... BUT my best friend went from being the perfect woman to having symptoms of anxiety which quickly turned into an almost constant state of TERROR!! MEDS were and are COMPLEATLY ineffective. Nothing helped! Last hope was the ECT. it did absolutely nothing but leave her with NO MEMORY AT ALL of the past year! She reacts with shock when she hears things like she's been sick for (at that time) one year. It's been 2 years. I can't even bring myself to call it just too sad and hits so close to home! Terror 24/7.
Also the only time I was on the psyc ward there was a young girl going thru ECT therapy I'm sorry to say she seemed much worse after her treatments. It was very sad! Im thinking you must weigh the possible benefits against what might be a considerable amount of memory loss!
Good luck to you my friend! Please keep me updated. I will keep you in my thoughts... shelery
I have had depression for about 5 years and have seen some stuff on ECT. I briefly discussed it with my old dr. And he said it is absolutely positively a last resort thing and he would not consider me a candidate. I am glad he took that approach because it was more just me exploring what was out there.
The weird thing is I have a history of seizures and I have experienced that memory loss, usually just for that 24 hours. Also I get really bad headaches from a seizure and nothing helps it. I have been put on Zoloft and this one seems to be helping me. I wanted to take Wellbutrin but ironically you can't take that if u have a history of seizures. Anyway my input is from actually having seizures, I would not wish that on anyone. I would have to be completely desperate to do that. Like a feeling of life and death. You feel so helpless and scared when you awaken.
Again this is just my opinion, I am not a medical professional. I just would research everything and discuss it with at least 2 dr.s before even considering it. It is a major thing for your body to go thru and even under supervision is a scary thing.
Hope this helps.
I haven't seen you around lately. Wish you were feeling better!
I was in the hospital for major depression and my psychiatrist did want me to try ECT but I refused. My mother had it about 40 years ago and she lost a lot of her memory and it did not help her. I know it was a long time ago.
The doctor tried several medications for me for 6 months before he found that Lithium and Manerix were the good combo for me.
The girl next to me in the hospital did have ECT. Every 2 days they would wheel her out and in again. She was exausted. She did say she was not sure if it was helping her much. She did go home before me though. But later when I was still going to my appt. as an outpatient she was re-admitted to the hospital again.
Well good luck with your decision! Take care.
Hi Tonka, I have never had this procedure and in my lifetime with Bipolar I will never entertain it as a possibility, but my ex-boss did. Like me, she suffers from bipolar- but with major depression. But my observations of her and the outcome seem to be totally in sync and characteristic of what nearly everyone here who has had it done has reported. My boss's memory and sharpness seemed to deteriorate, and the smart, intelligent woman that she was seemed to have disappeared. She had this done many times, as she was depressed to the point of being suicidal, and it sounds to me as though she was talked into it.
Now after all that, things have not changed nor become any better for her... she is still extremely depressed, but now I note that her edge is all lost, whatever this thing did to her. Her memory is horrible... to date she still does not remember things which I know that she should. So I am not seeing what possible benefit could be achieved from all this... and it has to be a bit of a traumatic thing - if the end product is that you are still as how you were, but with a whole lot more issues and problems added into the mix. So my impression of it is that I wouldn't touch it with a yardstick... it's nothing to be taken lightly, and as another poster said, think about it. Would you prefer to have electricity sent into your brain, when they are not even certain about what precisely happens, or what exactly it does, over and above taking pills which are known to have a long-term satisfactory outcome, contrasted with this, which does not?
- Lithium Information for Consumers
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