View Full Version : ECT - has anyone tried it?


Optimist25
01-27-17, 07:12 PM
There's an interesting reason I bring this up.....

The below quoted section is not relevant to ECT but I figured I'd give a little personal background regarding my experiences with anxiety/depression:
I'm not on anti-depressants now and depression has never really been my primary problem (inattentive ADD is) but low mood and anxiety have always existed to some extent (as they do with most ADDers). When my ADD isn't being properly managed and my life begins to be negatively affected, then my anxiety levels go way up which further undermines the management of my ADD which leads to disarray, stagnation, social withdrawal and discouragement ultimately resulting in major depression.
I've had 2 major depressive episodes in my life and I know there is nothing worse than being deep in a depressive state because recovery from such despair is such a giant catch 22. The low energy, low self-esteem, stagnation, and failure to thrive that are a part of major depression are exactly the opposite of what you need most to recover from the depressive state (energy, confidence, movement/structure, and achievements). My recoveries were slow, arduous, and had no silver bullet solution - anti-depressants didn't help much (if at all) and my recovery basically boiled down to starting with accomplishing small goals and gradually increasing my goals/accomplishments (working out, re-connecting with friends, getting a job, re-enrolling in college, etc.) until I was back to "normal" ....so here's why I bring up ECT in the depression subforum:

Over this past summer, I was home at my parents house and cleaning a white stucco exterior wall of the house with a bleach solution that I put in an old Windex spray bottle to get the hard to reach areas. There was still some Windex in the spray bottle but I didn't think anything of it. Turns out that the combination of Windex (basically ammonia) and bleach creates chlorine gas... yes, the same stuff dictators use to kill their own people.
I started feeling dizzy, disoriented, and eventually lost consciousness falling into the furniture on the back patio. My parents heard me fall into the patio furniture and saw me outside on the ground having a grand mal seizure.
I was completely out for about 20 minutes and only regained consciousness when I was hooked up to an IV in the ambulance (although I was still very, very confused and unaware of what happened). I spent several hours in the ER having tests done and the whole deal while they attempted to determine what was wrong and that it was likely a one time incident. I was discharged at around 2am (~8 hours after the initial seizure).

Anyways, I noticed two distinct mental changes that lasted for no longer than a week following this grand mal seizure:
1. My working memory was very poor at first (the day after, it took me like 15 seconds to answer the neurologist when he asked me what 3+4 was) but this rapidly improved and was back to normal within probably 2-3 days.
2. My mood was significantly better during that week then it had been for my whole life. The constant low-level anxiety and sub-par mood (which I had and do accept as normal for myself) was completely relieved. I was basically free and actually living in the moment. This very pleasant effect from the seizure subsided after 6-7 days and I'm back to my normal self (meh).

I told my psychiatrist about this and he said that this mood increase after a significant seizure was not unheard of, in fact, reports of mood improvement following seizures is basically why doctors/scientists started researching/using electroshock as a form of treatment in the first place (the goal is to induce a seizure).
Nowadays ECT is much more targeted and safe than it was initially (which you could say about all medical procedures really) and is done while the patient is under anesthesia to prevent the intense physical reactions.
My psychiatrist didn't go into much detail about it (since our primary focus is on continuing to successfully manage my ADD rather than on mood) but said essentially that seizures (and ECT) can act as a sort of "reset" button for the brain.

Anyways, that's my story. ECT sounds terrible and is not without some risks but apparently can cause immediate and very dramatic improvements in mood.
The sustained mood elevation that lasted ~1 week following my seizure is something I'll always remember, especially if I ever fall back down into a deep depression (note: the mood elevation wasn't euphoria, it was just a complete relief from the persistent low-level anxiety and negativity that weigh me down to varying degrees throughout my life).

Anyone ever been treated with ECT? Or have a major seizure with similar mood improvements?

Little Missy
01-27-17, 07:41 PM
No, I have never tried it but I had a doc friend who shared many stories and one man in a group she had that I met had depressive problems so bad he asked for it. She didn't want to recommend it but gave his case to another doctor who did.

Later on I asked how he was and she said, "Great!" He had a few sessions and was happy and saying he, "Loved it!"

That's the best I have to offer. :)

peripatetic
01-27-17, 09:40 PM
It can absolutely make life livable again. I'm not discussing such things on the open forum because I don't. And it wasn't for depression, though for most I know who've done it that's their deal.

Anyway, feel free to message if you want to discuss. I had bilateral. No maintenance.

Unmanagable
01-27-17, 10:08 PM
My sister has had it several times in her lifetime for multiple issues, including depression.

It's been an amazing tool for her and has brought her back from what surely seemed like way too far over the edge to be able to return from.

I'm not sure of all the technicalities, as she doesn't discuss it in any great detail, but her last hospitalization was quite severe, and she's been managing very well ever since.

It zaps some of her memory, but she said she'll gladly trade some of them to be able to feel as well as she feels now.

It had been 9 or more years since her last one. She went for a series of four follow up treatments after being released from the hospital, if I remember correctly.

Johnny Slick
01-27-17, 10:36 PM
I've never had it myself but have met a couple people who have. It's not risk-free but I also don't think it's as crazy as the media sometimes make it sound, and it does seem to have real, positive effects on depression (both people I know were treated for depression, in fact). I don't think it's a long term solution so it can't replace medication but from what I gather it *can* help people out of the deepest, darkest depths of depression and is especially useful when said depression is situational (one of the people I met, for example, got it for post-partum depression).

Aladin
01-28-17, 03:35 PM
There's an interesting reason I bring this up.....

The below quoted section is not relevant to ECT but I figured I'd give a little personal background regarding my experiences with anxiety/depression:
....so here's why I bring up ECT in the depression subforum:

Over this past summer, I was home at my parents house and cleaning a white stucco exterior wall of the house with a bleach solution that I put in an old Windex spray bottle to get the hard to reach areas. There was still some Windex in the spray bottle but I didn't think anything of it. Turns out that the combination of Windex (basically ammonia) and bleach creates chlorine gas... yes, the same stuff dictators use to kill their own people.
I started feeling dizzy, disoriented, and eventually lost consciousness falling into the furniture on the back patio. My parents heard me fall into the patio furniture and saw me outside on the ground having a grand mal seizure.
I was completely out for about 20 minutes and only regained consciousness when I was hooked up to an IV in the ambulance (although I was still very, very confused and unaware of what happened). I spent several hours in the ER having tests done and the whole deal while they attempted to determine what was wrong and that it was likely a one time incident. I was discharged at around 2am (~8 hours after the initial seizure).

Anyways, I noticed two distinct mental changes that lasted for no longer than a week following this grand mal seizure:
1. My working memory was very poor at first (the day after, it took me like 15 seconds to answer the neurologist when he asked me what 3+4 was) but this rapidly improved and was back to normal within probably 2-3 days.
2. My mood was significantly better during that week then it had been for my whole life. The constant low-level anxiety and sub-par mood (which I had and do accept as normal for myself) was completely relieved. I was basically free and actually living in the moment. This very pleasant effect from the seizure subsided after 6-7 days and I'm back to my normal self (meh).

I told my psychiatrist about this and he said that this mood increase after a significant seizure was not unheard of, in fact, reports of mood improvement following seizures is basically why doctors/scientists started researching/using electroshock as a form of treatment in the first place (the goal is to induce a seizure).
Nowadays ECT is much more targeted and safe than it was initially (which you could say about all medical procedures really) and is done while the patient is under anesthesia to prevent the intense physical reactions.
My psychiatrist didn't go into much detail about it (since our primary focus is on continuing to successfully manage my ADD rather than on mood) but said essentially that seizures (and ECT) can act as a sort of "reset" button for the brain.

Anyways, that's my story. ECT sounds terrible and is not without some risks but apparently can cause immediate and very dramatic improvements in mood.
The sustained mood elevation that lasted ~1 week following my seizure is something I'll always remember, especially if I ever fall back down into a deep depression (note: the mood elevation wasn't euphoria, it was just a complete relief from the persistent low-level anxiety and negativity that weigh me down to varying degrees throughout my life).

Anyone ever been treated with ECT? Or have a major seizure with similar mood improvements?

Interesting story... My two brothers are epileptic and I never notice a mood change after their seizures but it must depends of the person and of the type of seizure.

Anyway ECT seems efficient according to studies and seems particularly releavant when a quick mood lift is needed. However it also seems that the positive effects are not very long lasting so it's hardly a long term solution, as already said above. Plus there is indeed the risk of sometime marked memory loss.

It's an option for severe depression but in my opinion it should come after other treatments that are often overlooked, like maoi antidepressants, that are quite effective against refractory depression and anxiety and not as dangerous as many people think. Plus they can sometime help to aleviate adhd, since they increase dopamine, especially parnate (tranylcypromine). They are not as effective as stimulants in that regard of course but maybe more tolerable long term.

Fraser_0762
01-28-17, 03:49 PM
I can see it's usefulness in the most serious of situations. I wouldn't recommend it as a standard treatment option though.

It may cause a lift in mood, but the underlining issues that resulted in a downspiral of mood is still there.

For example, i'm frustrated, stressed, depressed, angry and anxious quite regularly. But there are reasons for me feeling this way. Although it would be nice to feel better, its these emotions that remind me what the underlining causes are, forcing me to try and address them directly. If I allowed my emotions to become more apathetic, I would never attempt to address the unlining issues, as I wouldn't care enough to do so.

ToneTone
01-28-17, 05:17 PM
Thanks for sharing ... very informative.

I read a great book by a woman named Martha Manning, a psychologist who suffered from severe depression. She reported on her successful treatment with ECT.

There was a recent article in the New York Times about Kitty Dukakis, wife of the former governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis. She suffered severe depression and was helped enormously by ECT ... and she runs a support group for people considering ECT or who have undergone the treatment.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/us/kitty-dukakis-electroshock-therapy-evangelist.html

I have a friend who had a close friend who was severely depressed ... and had been for quite a while. I immediately said to my friend, If I were her, I would go for ECT. Well ... months later she did undergo ECT ... and the last I heard, the friend was doing MUCH better.

I guess it's good to know that there is this option all there for people who have deep depression that isn't responsive to any other meds or therapy.

Tone

Little Nut
01-29-17, 03:06 PM
Hey Optimist, no personal experience w/ ECT other than review/study. OTOH you have suffered from recurrent MDD and are interested in a way that may keep you out of the darkness. Assuming you have routine check-ins w/ your Doc. Maybe ask him/her what would be their approach if the anxiety and/or depression started to return. If you want, after they respond to your liking, ask what they would do if that approach showed little to no improvement. I would bet your Doc is well prepared to respond to these issues, but checking doesn't hurt. -LN

Joker_Girl
03-17-17, 04:47 PM
I have thought about doing it. I always have to be on antidepressants in addition to adhd medicine. What happens is, i will start a med, over time it becomes less effective and has to be increased, and eventually it will quit working and i will have to switch.

Anytime i try to go unmedicated, especially concerning antidepressants, i will pretty much lose it after about 3 days, and will be a crying, nonfunctional mess.

Right now my meds are propranolol for blood pressure, effexor xr for depression, adderall for adhd, ambien for sleep. Just added 2 new ones this week...abilify at bedtime and provigil because i am tired at work. So far have not noticed any difference.

If i could be off everything and not be suicidally depressed, nonfunctional, and a mess, i would do ECT in a minute. I would even do it if i thought it might cost me some IQ, up to maybe 5 points. That would suck, but it would be worth it.

Our nephew who is schizophrenic tried it, but he hasn't noticed much unfortunately. He has not become more forgetful or anything, though, so that is good. He said he doesn't remember any of it and there was no pain or even a headache after.

Postulate
03-19-17, 02:11 PM
You took 15 seconds to answer how much 3+4 was and you say your mood was great? This is not an insignificant detail. Perhaps, instead of wondering if seizures are therapeutical, wouldn't it be better to know why you're only able to enjoy yourself when you can no longer recall how much 3+4 is equal to?

Optimist25, I also have a hard time believing that leftover Windex reacting with bleach produced enough chlorine to render you unconscious. More likely you used bleach in a non-ventilated area and intoxicated yourself with it, with bleach. Always make sure the area is ventilated when using bleach.

finallyfound10
04-01-17, 09:16 PM
I haven't and am probably too scared to try it but I would try Alpha Stim and NeuroStar.

IDK, I am getting so sick of the depression so maybe I would try it. Something has to give soon. I am hopeful that after I find a new job that is better suited for me and my issues that things will get better.

unstableAngel
04-02-17, 12:33 AM
My Mom had a few treatments, worked wonders. The memory loss was substatial
tho, but on the positive side she forgot she smoked & never did again! I too have had several grand mal siezures. I had lost my med insurance & was off my meds, one being lamictal. I had aprox 15 seizures in a 2 mo period (if it was that long) of course they werent all witnessed but when i seizure i bite my tongue, so i knew if i had one, be it in bed or whatnot. Otherwise id hit the floor. Anyways I also felt better than i had in idk, maybe forever! I dont recall how long it lasted, but i now know that ect is a viable option.

dormammau2008
04-07-17, 05:49 PM
yes ect is good for short tream but long tream it dagmers the brains pathways and nurogenise carnt keep up baiscly a burnout but not one you can fix at this time.....as the pathways and the way the cells work changes id not remecmend it,,,magnet therapy deep stimulation therapy can also do wounders but a healed gut can do much more read on bio dome reseach

trmdd1
07-05-17, 01:24 AM
I have been suffering from TRD and social/GAD for years, and now PTSD after a traumatizing incident in the hospital being mistreated led me to go into delirium tremens and had the most scary delusions/hallucinations of my life.
I have been on dozens of ADs to no avail.
I recently realized I had low Testosterone, so I'd like to pursue TRT and see if it helps with the physical weakness symptoms.

I am really considering ECT as a last resort, I can't live like this anymore, I am 26, live with my parents, and have been laying in bed in a dark bedroom for 5 years now. I feel like I am just waiting to die
Any suggestions?