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Old 01-28-17, 03:35 PM
Aladin Aladin is offline
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Re: ECT - has anyone tried it?

Originally Posted by Optimist25 View Post
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: 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.
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