UPDATED: Impending ECT Treatment
Just new here and thought I would get some feedback on Electroconvulsive Therapy. I have suffered from chronic depression and anxiety for 13 years and despite trying different meds/dosages and talk therapies nothing has worked.
I havent worked for 18 months and when I did beforehand, the longest I ever worked for a company in the same industry was about 16 months.
I have had enough of this insipid, draining and tiresome illness and have been assessed as being suitable for an ECT program. I have researched the ins and outs of ECT and at this point, the pros outweigh the cons.
I will be going in as an inpatient for 4 weeks in 6weeks time so would appreciate any feedback from people that have had ECT.
Anything positive would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Daniel, welcome to the forums. Below are some threads we've had going on ECT at various times, you should find some insights there as well as other members to talk with about this:
I've had ECT & it saved my life. It was over 20 years ago now.
Like you I had tried so many different AD's with lots of different dosages. I remember my first ECT. I hadn't slept properly for so many months. The anaesthetic felt warm & sleepy & the staff allowed me to sleep it off afterwards.
The doctors would always say they planned 10-12 treatments but I used to feel so much better after 5-6 that we used to stop. They would talk about maintenance ECT of once a week ongoing but it never happened.
So I have to agree ECT saved my life. But I also have to say it ruined my short term memory. The doctors would never accept that ECT was the cause. However from what I read these days it is more openly acknowledged as a side effect.
I was extremely upset that my memories of my children's growing up years were just gone. I still have the same short term memory problems today.
But, as I said, ECT saved my life. Short term memory problems were the price I paid. So I guess when you weigh it up it was either alive with poor memory or dead with excellent memory. Obviously a ridiculous choice.
I wish you well. I think ECT has been further refined in the 20 since I last received it so some of these side effects could be diminished.
Good luck Daniel, Lyn.
My memory damage from ECT was traumatic. Whole years of my children's childhoods are just "gone". (I received ECT treatments during their childhood years. They are grown with families of their own now). For years afterwards they would say to me "do you remember when we ..................?" And I had no memory of what they were referring to. I still don't. Now however my girls just tell me rather than ask.
My short term memory isn't as bad now but it's not great either. I would speak to your doctors & see what they say. I think it was perhaps unusual to be so badly effected. I'd had such a good memory previously.
I hope everything works out well for you. ECT did save my life & improve my depression, so it was worth it.
Take care, Lyn.
I thought my first post should start with something particularly topical for me at the moment - my experiences with ECT.
I am actually starting ECT bright and early Monday morning as an outpatient. This is the second time I have lined up for a course of treatments, the first being in 2012/2013.
As to my experience the first time around... Not at all traumatic for me, which is why I am voluntarily having another go!
I work as a health professional and was very lucky to be able to see ECT done, before ever having it done... and as a medical procedure it's pretty much a non-event. That is NOT to say it is not taken seriously by staff or that people who have had negative experiences should feel diminished by this fact. For many, many patients, ECT is a huge step and individuals, worries or concerns are totally valid and to be respected. But as a treatment, there isn't much to it.
My first block of ECT was also as an outpatient. I have been an inpatient before, but have never had ECT during admission. If anything I think inpatient ECT would be slightly more enjoyable as you could at least have a good nap in a real bed afterwards, rather than a recliner! But otherwise it is always nice to go home to your own bed.
My ECT routine was/is the following:
Fast from 12 midnight, arrive at mental health unit (public hospital) at 0700. Quick blood pressure and pre-op checklist completion with ECT nurse then taken up to theatre with up to 2 other patients, no special pre-medication required. IV inserted by anaesthetist, hospital gown put over clothes and a couple of sticky dots on the chest. When it's my turn, I walk into the theatre and hop on the bed, get given a little bit of oxygen and then the sleepy drugs. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in recovery with lovely nursing staff watching over me. Once I'm awake, back down to the unit for a snack and relax. After lunch a quick check over by the nurse and on all doctor, then picked up and driven home for a nap!
A couple of times I woke up crying but for no particular reason and certainly not because I was distressed. Afterwards I generally have a few little aches and a bit of a sore jaw, but nothing a couple of Panadol haven't cured.
Part B (yes, I am long winded!)
I have had little bit of memory loss... I think... As you can probably tell, I actually have a good memory of the treatment and period of time around it, which is normally the worst affected. I think I have had some more vague longer term memory loss, with details of past events either missing or foggy.
However, I feel like my memory has been deteriorating slowly since the day I was diagnosed and started on medication. Unfortunately for me I think a slightly porous memory is simply a consequence of my entire mental illness - part sickness and part treatment-induced. Post-ECT I have never found myself forgetting the really important stuff. I have remembered important passwords, banking details, directions etc. I have also maintained the cognitive ability to work - but only when my entire condition improves. During an acute episode, all bets are off cognitively!
Obviously, since I am lining up again on Monday, ECT did not "cure" me the first time around a few years ago. It did however break a particularly crappy cycle I was in, which no medication could get me out of. ECT didn't do all the "fixing" but definitely provided the crucial kickstart to my eventually recovery.
I am extremely hopeful of the same result this time around. Having been off work for few months and on a truckload of meds it is time to take the next step. Fingers cross I have the same positive experience this time around.
Cheers and good luck. 🙂