FAQ

Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Panthera
Community Member

I have been advised by my psychiatrist to have Electroconvulsive Therapy. I am willing to do this, but would like to know of its effectiveness from those who have had the treatment. Some key questions I have are:

- How long does it last

- What happens if it stops working

My apologies if there are forums already devoted to this topic. I have just joined and am not sure how to search the forum database.

8 Replies 8

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Panthera, this is a topic that's not discussed as much as it should, as it's another way for treatment that is suggested by a psychiatrist.

I was close to having this treatment, but back away at the last minute, only because I was offered another AD as I have epilepsy, but I do know someone very close to me that has had this type of treatment and had it more than six times.

They were not awake during the therapy which lasted about 20 minutes and she woke up with some memory loss.

This was also suggested after she had tried multiple AD's with no luck and I can only comment on what I was told, however, the long term effect was 50/50.

Please ake care.

Geoff.

Panthera
Community Member
Thanks so much for your comments Geoff.

mmMekitty
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello Panthera,

Welcome to the forums, & I hope you can find some information here on BB... I did, but it is several levels deep. I found some information following the link at the bottom of this page, "Treatments Options", eventually finding a section called: "Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)"

Sorry these are not direct links. Treatment Options, as I said, can be found near the end of this page.

I have only known someone many years ago, so her experience isn't comparable to how ECT is experienced today.

I would suggest taking your questions to your usual therapist.

& I remember seeing questions here on BB before, only I don't remember the titles of the thread/s. There is a section on BB for threads dealing with questions about Therapy & Treatments. I would expect to find them there, however, they may be several pages in.

All the best.

Thanks very much for your help, I will investigate further.

Te55
Community Member
Hello Panthera, I regrettably dodged ECT for my treatment resistant depression for years out of fear. I mean, who wouldn't be afraid? Then in March this year I checked into a hospital under the care of a new psychiatrist and went for it. 12 sessions over 4wks, 3 per week. I planned 9 as an inpatient and the last 3 as an outpatient. My theory was if this worked then I would push for subsequent maintenance treatments as an outpatient. I felt an immediate positive difference from the very first treatment. And it just got better and better. The treatment for me was life saving. I wasn't partying in the halls, I just had a clarity I hadn't felt for years. I was able to complete my last 3 as an outpatient as planned, catching a taxi in and home and now attend in that manner fortnightly for maintenance. I initially suffered smashing headaches but that's settled down and I have had some memory loss but nothing that's embarrassed me as yet. The fortnightly maintenance has been perfect but I must admit I feel this week wasn't at all helpful so I'll go talk to my psychiatrist. I wish I had of taken their advice years ago but I'm alone on this journey and was scared. My Dr encouraged me to watch YouTube clips and get on Facebook pages of all things. I found the vast majority on those pages were 100% in favour of the treatment. For me the treatment was positive therefore I can only recommend you seriously consider it if that is what yr professionals are suggesting.

Panthera
Community Member

Hi Te55,

Thank you for your feedback. I have had my first ECT session. It did leave me with a strong headache, but this subsided as the day progressed. I don't think I can feel anything after the first session, so am looking forward to feeling better down the track.

Bob_22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Panthera,

Hope your ECT sessions are going well and welcome to the forums! Regarding 'how long it will last' and 'what happens if it stops working', unfortunately (as annoying as it sounds) that's a discussion you'll need to have with your referring psychiatrist and/or GP as it is highly individualised/unique to each patient. With my own experience with ECT, I found alot of relief and have utilised it for two separate bouts of major depressive disorder. For 'myself' I found the effects to be long lasting which is generally supported by the evidence around ECT treatment. You can find some of this evidence on the ECT info page on this website under 'Sources and further information'. If you can't find what you're looking for there you could ask your psychiatrist if they can recommend any articles or research studies for you to have a look at. There are a lot of good systematic reviews as it has been around for a very long time.

In terms of what happens if it stops working. Unfortunately again, that is another topic to raise with your psychiatrist. This, again, is highly unique to each patient but my psychiatrist has reassured me for my situation that even with ECT, there are always treatment options.

Hope this helps 🙂

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Panthera, the person I was referring to didn't notice too much after the first ECT, it needed about 6 or so, although this varies from person to person.

I wish you all the very best.

Geoff.