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By Nancy SchimelpfeningJanuary 10, 2005
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YES. AND IT RUINED MY LIFE. I used to be very artistic, and now i rarely even feel motivated to create anything. I am STILL depressed, I cant remeber anything barely from my childhood, I have a horrible memory now, no short term, and long term ,HA, nothing. I have nightmares about it everyonce and a while, and I cant sleep and I cry endlessly. I cant spell as well as I used to( I used to be very much into poetry and writting and art)no more. I had it about 5 or 6 years ago, and still to this day I will never be that person that I was. I WAS a great person, just sad and confused at the time. And now I am a NOTHING with no memory. DONT DO IT.
NOT TRUE. It is different for everybody. I think that results differ from person to person. Everybody is and individual and has individual results for things. Everybody changes and nothing stays the same. Just because you are depressed more could mean anything your illness could’ve gotten worse. Hind sight is 20/20. At that time you must’ve been pretty bad to be considered for the treatment and for you to consider getting the treatment. Now that things are different you see things different you want what you used to have because it doesn’t seem like it was that bad. Depression has that effect on our point of view.
How can you say NOT TRUE to someone’s experience? Maybe it’s different for everyone, but that’s how it was for her.
I see this is not a popular forum. Quick look over my situation: 12 years drug resistent. Heart problems. Can’t take MAO’s because of the heart problems and can’t do E.C.T. for the same reason. Anyone in my boat? BTW How messed up were you after a treament? I have heart slightly for 2 weeks to daffy forever.
Dee your experience is exactly what I feel. I keep asking the doctor is ECT changes IQ and he keeps saying no, that is does for a while and then it all comes back. I have 2 friends who have had it and both have become spacey. Do you mind me asking your age? How many treatments? In a big city – or country doctor. How many years of therapy/psychiatry first? I am so discouraged, and like you I have strong artistic abilities (writing). What would have happened if I had just ignored this all business 12 years ago? Can’t be worse then the mess now.
i had ect oce i loved it i was like dieing i was in a seizure hell yeah
i’m in the middle of a bout of ect and it has helped my depression HUGELY. i used to be on the brink of suicide all the time, and was a chronic cutter — i’ve had about 15 or so ect treatments, and i no longer cut (at all!!!) and am much less depressed than i was.
it definitely affected my memory, mostly short-term, but i consider it a worthwhile trade at this point.
ECT saved my life. But I lost my previous life at the same time. I attempted suicide twice. I lost the ability to do my computer job due to Long-term memory lost. Just like Alzheimer’s disese. Doctors are now treating the brain damage the same with aricept. http://www.aricept.com . I’m getting a divorce because I am no longer the person I was in my previous life. I will be disabled the rest of my life from the damage.
I am currently goin through severe depression..i’ve tried several antidepresants and nun have helped…my doctor mentioned ECT today and it seems a good idea..but i want opinions from people who took it..im very suicidal..would ECT help?
my husband just completed a series of 8 ECT treatments for major depression, and YES it helped his depression, as anti-depressants were not working.. we needed something to STOP the depression as it was ruining our lives.. but I was not prepared for the memory loss.. his short term memory is GONE, he asks me the same question about 3 times a day, as he forgot my answer before.. I am sad for him, and its frustrating for me going through ti as well.. I just hope it comes back, as the dr. said about 5-6 months he should be better memory wise..
I’ve been wondering if there is anyone who can describe their long term effects from ect? I had ect 15 years ago. Yes my memory still isn’t very good. That is not so bad because my family frequently fills me in with whole story, so it feels like my own. But, is the memory problem from the ect or the depression, or the antidepressant meds I’ve been taking since the ect? Now, my question is, has anyone had any physical side effects? Like balance or clumsiness?
I have been a bit clumsy but I am taking multiple meds, 5 of which say may cause dizziness. Currently I have given the meds the credit. And I just have to eat it and ask people questions that I should remember. Some days that is o.k. and other days it is quite a downer.
DON’T do it! It ruined my life! I did 17 treatments and i’m far worse off than when i started. Ihe old me is dead. Now feel like i’m on a neverending bad acid trip.
Everyone is saying how it ruined their lives and how they will never be the same person again but, for me, I dont want to be the same person. Isnt that why we consider this option in the first place? All other treatments have failed me and its not like I chose this type of treatment first. Its kind of a last hope for me. Maybe I need to forget some of my past in order to drastically change, which is what I need. I have sympathy for those who didnt try alternatives first but if you are as depressed as I am, you would gladly accept a new person. I dont think it is a bad idea since I am going to have this procedure done soon. I cannot keep on the way I am now and I welcome the changes it makes. Even though there may be struggles, it cant be worse than the struggles I already face. If you really feel like you need it, go for it. It may help but be prepared if it doesnt solve everything.
And how wonderful were your lives to begin with if you were to the point of needing ECT!?! Are you sure youre not just looking for something to blame your problems on? Or using it for an excuse for something or everything? . . . anyway, let me know what you decide and how it goes. I will do the same. Or if anyone has any success stories. email@example.com
I am currently going through my first ECT treatments after years of sever medication resistant depression. My doctor brought up the option of ECT I was resistant to the idea at first but after doing a lot of research I finally decide to try it. I did the first series of 3 per week for 4 weeks as an inpatient and I am now doing monthly maintenance treatments as and out patent. For those of you that haven’t been though it and are wondering what that procedure is like. I will give a quick overview of me experience with it. Generally I received it in the morning at about 8 am. I would go and get a quick once over by the doctor checking my vitals and that stuff. I would then be given a gowned to change into and a adult diaper because the procedure can cause loss of bladder control. When I was all ready a hospital worker would come in with a gurney that I would lay down on and be wheeled to the ECT room in the hospital. There would usually be 5 people waiting for me the anastisalligist, the doctor, and 2 or 3 nurses. Once I was in place an IV would be put in my arm by one of the nurses while the others would put several monitoring devise on me and a blood pressure tester on my ankle (that is put there to limit the effects of the muscle relaxed so the doctor can monitor how long the seizure lasts they want it to be 30 to 90 seconds). At that point the Anastasialligist would begin administering the Anastasia. I would drift off into sleep and wake up in a recovery room disoriented with a huge head ache that would last and hour or so then I would go on about my day. As for side effects I have been extremely fortunate in that mine have been minimal so fare in comparison to some of the people I have talked to. I have suffered minimal memory loss the most noticeable side effect is that my spelling has become very poor (as you may have noticed) and I have a spacey moment or to hear and there. Well worth it considering I have experience a recovery to the point that I am not using any meds at all for the first time in years. I feel that ECT is working for me but it may not work for everyone and should not be taken on lightly. I hope this helps answer some people’s questions.
I had two seperate sessions of ect each consisting of 12 lots. That was 13 years ago now. I suffered chronic despression for 5 years and the medication did nothing for me. ECT combined with cognative behavioural therapy and TIME worked for me. The side effects were short term memory loss, nothing compared to the pain I went through. However, do not think that you will be automatically recovered after your last session. You still have to allow yourself time……. even when a broken leg has been repaired you have to get used to it working again gradually!!
I had seven ECT treatments in 2007. They were right unilateral at 50% charge and five times the seizure threshold level. I thought I was okay at first, but after number six I noticed things were bad. Number seven did me in. Seizure was three times as long; a tooth was cracked and had to be pulled; I am not like someone with ADHD. I can not focus and concentrate. I can’t spell anymore. I can’t do math; I have word finding difficulties. I cannot read, process, and retain new information. I forget what happened two days before. It goes on and on. I am in the process of getting neuropsychological testing. I don’t feel like me anymore; I feel like part of me is missing, a good part of me. I think sometimes I would rather be dead than like this. I was not suicidal when I was referred for ECT. In fact I was going to work everyday. As I look back on it, I don’t understand why my psychiatrist at that time started pushing ECT from the beginning when I started seeing him. I finally gave in to his wishes after a year and his anger with me for not getting better.
I had 19 treatments of ect over 4 months ago. He made a mistake on the last treatment. It has destroyed my life. Once I was a charismatic person who enjoyed doing things. Now I resemble a no body who can’t do anything except stay in bed. I hear everyone and I am having the same symptoms as everyone else. I am a different person. I have also been passing out every few weeks, losing my speech, having difficulty walking etc. I hope their will some light at the end of the tunnel. I am getting neuro testing but I just don’t know how.
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My mother had ECT 3 years ago. It was the only thing that brought her out of her 2 year deep depression. She was able to go back to work as a legal secretary (this requires computers). She did suffer some memory loss, but learned her computer skills back. Because she is very bad about seeing her doctor to adjust her meds, she is not half way through a second round currently. Being a caregiver going through this with her, you have to make a decision between losing your loved one to suicide or them losing some of their memory. Before my mother started this treatment she cried multiple times EVERY day. Now, I don’t see her cry at all. She’s started to resume normal activities like cooking, doing her laundry, going to church and getting a hair cut. I believe most of these comments have suggested that it is a bad treatment, but there are good things that come of it. Make sure you choose a good hospital. For the person who experienced the huge headache following the treatment, let your doctor know. They can administer medication prior to the treatment to prevent that, as well as any nausea from the anestisia. My mom gets meds for both prior to her sessions. Good luck to all of you and many prayers.
Your mom’s story really sounds like my mom as well. She went through a 2 year depression when she was 55. After 2 years of being non-compliant with her meds we decided to make her get ECT. She had 9 treatments and now is more manic and complains that her body is messed up. What were the long-term side effects that your mom had? My mom doesn’t seem to have any memory loss, just a lot of body aches and edema – she blames the ECT which I can’t get any answers out the of drs.
I had enforced ECT when I was 20 because I had insurance through my dad and my parents signed. They were told it was an electrical treatment that would not hurt as I would be sleeping. ECT made me angry, suicidal and ruined my memory (I was a college junior.) The antidepressants created the same damage. I find over 30 years later I still have amnesia from bilateral daily ECT treatments. I would never, ever recommend ECT to anyone.
I am scheduled to take a third series of ECT in January (2009). They will be unilateral as I find the bilateral to be scary in that they caused some memory loss. This memory loss was temporary, however, there may have been some permanent working memory negative affect.
My first series of ECT, in January 2007, yielded wonderful results with no memory loss. The treatments were; 12 unilateral over a month. My depression lifted after the third treatment and never returned for 16 months, even without any maintenance ECT.
One thing to keep in mind is that when I am not depressed, I think much quicker, clearer, and have a better memory. Therefore, the improved mood more than offset the downside of bilateral ECT (summer 2008), but it wore off after a couple of months.
I have received multiple different meds (dozen or two?) with no help, other than treating the symptom of insomnia. I first took anti-depressants in 1994 and never received ECT until 2007. I have never attempted suicide.
I have a friend who gave me a scare telling me all of the awful things ‘they’ have discovered about long term side effects of ECT. It made me start looking to see if maybe my acceptance of ECT should be questioned. I had it in 2002-2003 and my husband says it saved my life. I feel that it did…though ironically I don’t remember it at all! I remember the depression though…and the pain…and the anguish on my friends, husband and children. I was sure that it would be better for all if I was dead and planned that death out carefully. I was discoverd and hospitalized. Nothing worked to bring me out of ‘the pit’, I suspect in fact the depression meds were making it worse. The ECT did save my life and I will always be grateful for that. I have accepted the memory loss and the tendency to write things down or I forget them. Yet, I am a Master’s Student in History, a Mom with two great kids (sometimes!!) and a wife of a wonderful man. The ECT helped me break the cycle and be able to see a way out. It tokk time and talk therapy, and meds but the breaking point was the ECT…I am not sure I could have found the ladder out of the pit without it.
What is upsetting to me is the way ECT has been offered (and not only my case). The Dr reccommended ECT and apparantly I said yes, however I was in no state at that time to make the decision. If I had thought it would kill me I would have jumped at the chance, if I thought it would destry my memory then again I would have jumped at the chance. There was no way out, so I didn’t care. My Doctor was the one who was making decisions despite the fact that I was married and had family present.
I was dying and blind to everyone and everything around me. Is that any condition in which to make an informed decision?
I am blessed that I do not have the side effects that many others have experienced with ECT but I am angry at the ability of Dr.s to make the decisions for you without consultation of husbands or any other advocate. This is where I feel betrayed and where my husband and family does as well. If I could change anything it would not be the ECT it would have been who held the decision making power to begin with.
I also agree It certainly helps break the cycle but the decision is very hazy and blurry. I am also still depressed to a certain extent but much better than I was before the treatment. It feels like I am much more in control and able to manage the depression now.
I think some people must make a full recovery and for others it will always be a constant battle/struggle.
I still haven’t decided if the treatments were the right thing or not. Ended them about 6 months ago. I have lost memory from the last two years approximately. Have lost the ability to understand the technology I used to enjoy… I used to love movies, and now do not. Do not like any kind of music, I have no sense of humor, I feel like I’m in a stupor.
I am 49 and I feel like I have Alzheimers or something. Someone, PLEASE give me something to look forward to!!
I agree with Melanie. I had ECT in 1998 after my third suicide attempt. I think it helped break the cycle along with follow up meds and therapy. I also was given the choice of this therapy while inpatient after the third attempt. I was depressed, angry and annoyed and would have said yes to anything. I had a very caring husband and parents who were never consulted. I feel that even though I was an adult of 40 years of age, because of my condition, I feel the family should be consulted on major decisions such as this. A depressed person should not be responsible for their own well being! today I still have depression but it is manageable. My only fear is that I find I can not concentrate well and seem to be loosing some memory. Now this is 11 years after ECT so maybe this is to be expected? I have not met anyone who has any symptoms this long after the treatment. Does anyone else know about this?
I was given 11 rounds of ECT at the age of 17 and I was thoroughly traumatized by the whole experience. I would have had 12 if I hadn’t staged a ward-wide protest with other ECT patients. We were spared just one day before we were promptly drugged and forced to continue (at that point, I’d had only 6 “treatments”). My memory never fully recovered and I have yet to come to terms with what ECT (done without my parents’ consent) cost me. I now fear everyone in the psychiatric profession and have flash backs each time I must undergo a medical procedure of some sort. You see, ECT robbed me of the memories which made me who I am… I remember all the horrible things that were done to me during that time but little else. Furthermore, I wasn’t even sick in the first place… I didn’t know until I escaped halfway around the world and stopped taking all those pills! Adolescents are VERY sensitive to psychiatric drugs and psychiatrists MUST take this into consideration… no matter WHAT initial diagnosis a patient comes to them with! I am trying to learn how to forgive the psychiatrist who did this to me but I just don’t know how… 16 years is a long time to carry this burden around.
Ive been severly deppressed for 25 years, after trying almost every med out there (and gaining 40 plds) i was desprate for any type of help i went through ect (for the 2nd) time in my life, 12 treatments at 23 years old and 9 treatments just recently (i’m 40 now) i’m more depressed, cant think, still want to die, never want to talk to anyone becouse i sound like an 90 year old with altimers (cant spell anymore eaither as you can see) i have no long or short term memery, at one point i didnt even know who my daughter was. This is horrible and ruined me forever i wouldnt suggest it to anyone, if your really bad just go into the hospital at least thats only a few weeks. the effects of ect are forever. And dont believe the doctors, they get over 5,000 dollars a treatment, i know this becouse my uncle is a phyciatrist.
Holy Crap! It sounds like it is like Russian Roulette. So ECT helps something like 10% of people, but the memory losson some level is something close to 100%. Granted, I would rather have little memory than feel depressed all of the time, I am not sure how I would be able to go back to work as a Network Admin if I lose any memory of my job. I would have to be in dire straights to do this. I am just not there yet.
for what it’s worth, please read through http://alittlespark.wordpress.com. I chronicled before, during and after my 15 ECT sessions, and backed up a lot of my info with sources. This journal wasn’t meant to be for or against this procedure, but it is a very meticulous account of the day-to-day life of going through ECT.
Josh: I don’t understand why churches and ‘family groups’ spend millions of dollars a year on abstinence-only instruction when a World of Warcraft account only costs fifteen dollars a month and has a much better record of ensuring virginity.
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I have had ect and it really saved my life!
I had 11 sessions of unilateral ECT and it felt like nothing short of excessive blunt force trauma to the head. I don’t think it did anything for my depression (although the doctors try everything in their power to act as if they are certain it’s done something to help with your depression, I say it’s just self-fulfilling prophecy). It impaired my memory immensely and I couldn’t remember whether or not I had sex with my ex-boyfriend one time. I’m sorry, but things like that are things that you want to have some sort of recollection of. I also had some sort of mini-seizure after being an idiot and smoking pot during the course of my treatment. It scared the bejeesus out of me- I thought I was dying. Obviously I wouldn’t have had a problem with not smoking pot if I knew that something like that was going to happen. It was terrifying. And apparently you can even have a seizure in your daily life which is why you’re not supposed to drive. Don’t do ECT. Doctors can’t even explain on a scientific level why or how it’s supposed to work (if it even does). I think there’s a reason why it became so stigmatized in the 50s and 60s.
I had 15 ECT’s almost 30 years ago while an inpatient at a very reputable hospital in North Carolina. I was not responding to medication at that time. Because my mother had had good results with ECT’s, I agreed to the treatments. I had fantastic results, had some memory loss. Seemed to be limited to spots within the prior 3 yrs or so. I have since led a very productive life, raised my family and have been blessed with a very understanding husband . I did not suffer any loss of intelligence, artistic talents or creative. One must be sure of using a very reliable and well researched clinic or hospital.
I am currently looking into ECT because I suffer from treatment resistant depression and can barely get out of bed. My only problem is that I can’t find anyone around KS who does unilateral ECT. Does anyone know how I can find a university or good place in ks that does unilateral ECT and actually knows what they are doing when it comes to pulse range, safety, and effectiveness?
Since people still seem to refer to this forum for ECT information, I’ll share my experience.
ECT saved my life. Plan and simple. I was severly, dangerously suicidal. No medication would help my depression and symptoms of BP II and BPD. Which made me feel even more hopeless and desperate. I was hospitalized three times in one year to keep me safe.
ECT is frightening. No bones about it. It’s not fun. You get an IV (yuck) through which they give the anesthesia- which is an awful sensation, imo. Then you wake up confused and feeling headachey and a bit sick.
Amnesia is severe. Memories during the period of ECT (usually over a period of several weeks) don’t “stick”- so there will be experiences and conversations you’ll never recall again.
I’m this close to being phobic of the ECT procedure. It’s that un-fun.
That said, I’ll go back in a heartbeat when my depression recurs. Which it will. Wild horses couldn’t keep me from ECT. It’s a miracle cure. Truly.
ALSO- I’m an artist and a writer. Currently working on a children’s book. Before ECT I didn’t touch my art. I didn’t give a rat’s a$$. All I could think about was killing myself. After my last ECT (I needed seven treatments), I couldn’t wait to start working on my book, again! So not only is it a myth that ECT will ruin your creativity- but it actually SAVED mine!!!!
To answer the last person’s question, I’m in Maine and had unilateral ECT treatments and they seemed to have very versitile equipment. Not exactly a hop-skip-and-a-jump from where you are, though.
At this point I wish I had never found this forum. My wife has been treated for major depression for over 25 years now. She has taken every anti-depressant known to mankind, has been hospitalized twice with prescription drug overdoses that were ruled “accidental” and hospitalized once with a suicide attempt. She has been in and out of in-patient and out-patient treatment. She has been to at least 10 different psycho-therapists. She went onto total disability 11 years ago.
She is in a psychiatric hospital at the moment and I am going to meet with them today about ECT. I have done a lot of research about ECT and this site makes it sound like it destroys people’s lives about 90% of the time. Are all of the other sources like Mayo, the Cleveland Clinic, AMA, American Psychiatric Association, National Institute of Health, and other organizations wrong about this?
My wife is nearly catatonic from depression now. She cuts herself. She doesn’t want to live and says that every day of her life is like she is in hell.
Ever since the suicide attempt 7 years ago, I come home every day not knowing if I am going to find her dead or alive. We’re both in hell.
We know about the potential for memory loss. She already has memory loss from 25 years of anti-depressents. We also know that she will be probably be dead from either not taking care of her other medical problems or by finally cutting herself too deep and bleeding out before I find her.
Part of the problem with the posts here are that almost no one says when they had these treatments. Treatements done 30 years ago were far different than they are today.
This scares the shit out of me. I hope that what I have found here is that 10 times more people are willing to post here to tell horror stories than those who tell about success.
Gary, I read your note about your wife and felt so bad for both of you, I’m hoping you did try the ECT. I’ve suffered depression since I was twenty years old and relapsed back into a severe depression last year at forty-seven. Medications were not effective like they initially were, my weight went from 129 lbs to 102lbs in 2 months and literally was dying. I knew ECT was my last chance, yes I was a little scared, but the depression was so bad I had to try something. I started ECT in Nov 2011 took a month off work and continue to get monthly treatments as we speak. All I can say is that it saved my life and without it I would be dead or institutionalized. The memory problems for me are inconsequential, compared to the mental torture I went through with the depression. I’m back to work as a R.N. and going to school, I have reduced my medications dramatically, I take good care of myself, have a great team of medical professionals working with me I’m very optimistic about my future.
Gary, please let me know how you and your wife are doing.
I just finished 12 sessions of ECT about 3 months ago. While I was doing the ECT I felt like a million dollars for the first time in my life. Depression was gone. And all the symptoms of depression and anxiety were gone. It was a miracle. It got me off my lexapro which I was on for like 5 years. But it wore off and now I’m kind of depressed again but not as bad as I was. Definite problems with memory too. I’m not sure if I regret it or not. I guess it was worth it since I know what it’s like to feel good again, but it didn’t stick. Maybe I need more sessions, but I’m not gonna do it again. Too much crap you have to go through with all the IV’s and anastesia.
I HOP ALL IS WELL WITH YOU CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME ON HOW YOU FELL NOW AS IM BOOKED IN NEXT WEEK FOR ECT
OUT OF 10 TO 1 WOULD YOU DO THIS AGAIN 10YES 1AS NO
Thanks for posting caitlin allen up until reading your post, the other posts almost changed my mind. Then I read yours and it restored my hope. There’s not much that can make things worse at this point in my life, so if it doesn’t work no harm done, can’t get much lower. Hopefully it does for me what it did for you!
I had a very positive experience with ECT.
I was diagnosed with severe depression, in the hospital and catatonic. I was given ECT in 2007 and after just 2 sessions I was back to my old self again. I continued to have the full series of 12 sessions and then went onto have ECT maintenance treatments for about a year. My treatments were then spaced out and eventually stopped. I have been okay ever since.
Yes, I experienced some memory loss afterward, but my personal experience with ECT was that it allowed me to go back to living the way I was accustomed to.
I no longer have a guardian and can drive a car, live independently, work part time and manage my own finances. I have to take it easy and avoid situations that may stress me.
I wish that everyone out there could benefit from ECT as much as I have. Perhaps we don’t hear about the success stories because these folks have moved on with their lives. Good luck to everyone (patient and family members) dealing with mental illness.
One more thing. When I had my ECT, I was NOT living in reality. Although I got up every day and went through the motions, I was getting worse and worse. I wouldn’t talk to anyone. Stopped paying my bills. Thought everyone was out to get me… paranoid.
If you are somebody that is funtional… don’t allow doctors to ‘talk’ you into something like this. In my opinion, it should be a last resort.
My 18-yr-old son had 12 ECT treatments and it did not work! Medications weren’t working for him and so the psychiatrist pushed ECT. We couldn’t see any difference till after the 10th treatment. It seemed for about 2 weeks after the final treatment that he was better. He was overly pleasant, and stepford son-ish. It was odd but it was an improvement over the hell it used to be. After about 2-3 weeks, he was back to what he was, except that 7 mos. later, his cognitive abilities are stifled and he still has memory problems. The cognitive issues/glitches are the worst. It was an utter failure for him and I would NEVER ask him to try it again. Never! In addition, it is an extremely traumatic process.
If it worked for you, thank God you are better but it was a failure for him.
HOW IS YOUR SON.
I AM BOOKED IN NEXT WEEK TO HAVE ECT BUT?????
IS IT WORTH IT
BTW, my son had bilateral treatments. I wish he’s been given unilateral treatments instead but the 1 of only 2 docs who perform it in my large city is old and stuck in his ways. He was “too intelligent” to listen or take requests. Further, my son had heart pains in his chest that the psychiatrist said were impossible and not a side effect of ECT. HE WAS WRONG as it is a well-known possible side effect. People, don’t let doctors intimidate you into not asking questions or challenging their all-knowingness. There’s still a lot for them to learn!
its been a success for me. i’m 27 years old and suffered with med resistant depression. i’m still receiving bilateral maintenance treatments once a week and its completely changed my life. everyone tells me how much more pleasant i am to be around now and i laugh and smile all the time. its had some effects on my short term memory but nothing that bad. i don’t know maybe it also depends on the doctor who is performing it or maybe i just have a good brain for it, but in 20 treatments so far i have had no negative experiences.
I am so sad for my sister who just had 8 shock treatments. She feels just awful and has lost her skills and self-esteem. She so regrets having done this. It is a family tragedy. All of us have suffered. Will she ever be able to drive again? What about keep her job? She has a good job she was very good at. She has a new car she can’t drive. She says she feels broken. She woke up in the hospital and didn’t remember why she was there and why they were doing this violent thing to her. I am horrified.
I have just completed round 7 of my ect treatments. So far there have been no major changes except for the depression being lifted. I have a wonderful doctor who apparently knows how to do this right. I have no memory loss, no inability to spell, and I am the same person I was before beginning the treatments…with the exception of the depression being gone. I am extrememly happy with the results and if I had to do it all over again I would. Yes it is time consuming and a hassle to go to the hospital 2X a week but much worth the effort. I feel 100% better. I smile without it being a forced smile. People at work talk to me now like I am a new person. I believe this was the smartest choice I have made in a long time considering the meds weren’t working any more. I say if you have the chance to do it, do so with an open mind and find a good doctor. It is well worth it. happy again and living life!!!!
I had 6 treatments of bilateral ECT 13 years ago. Immediately afterwards, I had massive memory loss for 6-8 weeks. I still tend to be a bit forgetful, but, I’m not sure I can attribute it to the ECT. I am definitely a much happier and functional person now. I don’t remember a lot of my childhood, but, I am in my mid-forties now. I am finding, however, that now that I have my own kids my childhood memories are coming back. With regards to iQ, my wife and I both felt that my reasoning ability went up after ECT and after the major depression had lifted. If the online tests are accurate, then my iQ is now 142, for what its worth. Ultimately, I am pleased with the effect that ECT has had on my life. I still take 100mg Zoloft daily, but, I no longer have the more sever depression symptoms that I had before ECT.
For those of you scared to death with what you are reading on here, I’ll add my extremely positive experience with ECT therapy. I’m not disrespecting anyone’s posts on here because I don’t question them in the least. These however are my thoughts and experiences on the matter. About a year ago,I was so incredibly depressed that I didn’t think I’d be able to hold on much longer. After trying various meds I hit true rock bottom. I checked myself into a facility which is the biggest ect treatment center in the Southeast. At first I was quite scared to say the least. In fact,I backed out the first time. After gaining reassurance from my DR, who gives them to many patients daily, I went ahead with it. After my first treatment,I felt no different than before I’d had it. I could hardly believe he’d even given it to me! I got very used to having the treatments. I’d wake up 5 mins after the procedure as good as new. After I left the hospital I continued the treatments on an outpatient basis. I never got so much as a headache from them. It was about the 7th treatment when I felt the true peaceful effect from it. It wasn’t mania,just relief. I wondered if I was feeling like other people feel when they wake up in the morning. On another interesting note….my memory actually improved after the procedure. I don’t think alot of people who have positive effects share on here because they have been successful with the treatments and no longer have any reason to study the subject. I had 12 treatments in all and truly know that it helped save my life. Many people would be waiting for or coming out of treatment each time I’d be there. Everyone I spoke with shared positive experiences with me. Like any type of medication…it has it’s pro’s and con’s. It’s only going to help some people…and there will always be those with negative effects. I’m going to remain neutral on that matter and simply say that ECT treatments can indeed be successful….I’m living proof.
ECT is life-destroying. I was wrongly diagnosed and the doctor decided to give me ECT. because the diagnosis was wrong the ECT did not work. instead of stopping they decided to experiment. instead of the average 12 treatments, i underwent 72. my long and short term memory has been damaged and i have developed health issues 13yrs later that may be a result of these treatments. Psyciatrists refuse to admit making mistakes and those who fall victim are left with no legal recourse. avoid it at all costs.
Yes I have had 7 treatment given in the hospital and I believe it was the worse course of treatment anyone can have!I have profound memory loss which only a small part has returned. sometimes I forget who I am and what I have done as well as great chunks of my life. i can’t even remember how to get to the grocery store I always use without a map from my partner. driving is scarey for fear of getting lost and not being able to find my way home. for weeks after treatment I have severe migraine headaches requireing a lot of my migraine meds to try and relieve the intense pain, sometime to no avail. I would advise anyone considering ECT to understand what losses they will face and seriously decide if these losses are worth the treatment. I did not get any relief from the depression. for me the treatment was a traumatic experience from which I am still trying to recover. amnesia is more like it not simple memory loss that comes back in time. please be careful and think long and hard before exposing yourself to such extreme treatments.
My husband underwent ECT after a still undiagnosed episode. In the space of a week, he went from high functioning OCD on effective medication (for 16 years) — at the end of that week, he was severely affected by some still unknown malady = severe depression, intense anxiety and panic attacks, extreme OCD. None of the the medications did anything to help him, so the doctor recommended ECT after almost a year of trying. He underwent 15 treatments, three a week. The depression did get better…the anxiety and panic attacks became much worse. He is now totally disabled — his memory is very much affected, both short and long term. His processing skills are impaired, and he cannot manage his financial affairs. My once intelligent, happy husband has gone, and by the doctor’s admission, for good. I am resigned to being a caregiver for the rest of my married life. I realize that ECT is a crap-shoot at best — it affects everyone in a very different way. We had great hopes for good results, but instead, we’ve been given a very different future than we could have ever imagined. My heart goes out to all who are experiencing this difficult choice. I would not choose this option again for him, even though depression was severe. The quality of his life is very much reduced, though we try to focus on the good times, as rare as they are. God bless those of you are trying to make this decision.
I am a professional. I have an undergraduate degree and a master degree. I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and have a postgraduate degree as a Legal Nurse Consultant. I was also a Major in the Army. I had ECT due to severe depress and PTSD. I have no memory of consenting to this procedure as I was in a military hospital. Since this procedure, I am a different person. I have memory lost, short term memory lost. and I have difficulty with writing and spelling. I am like an Alzhemiers patient. I don’t remember people or events from my childhood. I repeat the same thing over and over again. It is very embarrassing to me. My career is over and ruined. I can never ever work again as anything. I was the first person in my family to go to college. Eight years of college is gone. I can’t remember my family member telephone numbers and sometimesy I get lost while driving home. I am an Army widow and live alone. My husband died in the war on active duty. Sometimes I am afraid to cook because I forget that I am cooking. I have set the fire alarm off several times. ECT has ruined my life. I was in the hospital for 4 months. The first two months in the hospital I have no memory of being there. If I had to do it all over again i would resist doing ECT. I have read studies after studies and NIH research and the research is inconclusive regarding long term cognitive effects. Every time I see my psychiatric I ask her about returning to work and the answer is always no. I can’t even teach at a community college. I take internet course online at the community college to keep my brain busy. My doctor told me not even Aricept and Alhzimers medications works on ECT side effects. She said ECT is like a series of little tiny infarct in the brain (strokes). These brain cells are lost, dead and are not able to transmit message along the nerve pathway. I am still hopeful and resisting disability.
Hi all. I had about 4 courses of ECT (about 40 individual sessions) ten years ago. It literally changed my life for the better. i had been sectioned for 4 years and lost my kids, job, partner – everything. now, in 2010, I work full time, am in a loving relationship and have my children living with me again. No more self harm, no more suicide attempts. I have my life back.
I do not regret having ECT at all BUT, 10 years on I have started experiencing little ‘episodes’ where for no more than 30 seconds i feel really ‘in my head’. I cannot really explain exactly how it feels but i know its not a panic attack. I dont lose consciousness and I can still maintain a conversation with someone else at the same time. There is no logic to when they occur although they appear to be coming more frequently – up to 5 times a day. They wake me when I’m asleep, can occur when at work, or surfing the net, or in the supermarket- anywhere in fact.
And although they dont really cause too many problems for me, i just wondered if anyone else had experienced the same as I have no idea if they are due to the ECT or some other unrelated problem.
Any help/information would be very grateful.
when I was a kid my parents sent me to a place . Mostly shock and medicate facility . Behavior modification . Outlandish diagnoses to give large doses of meds and very destructive amounts of ect . I came from a pretty abusive home so its hard to judge the damage this all did to my life . I do know my life has gotten better in spite of ect . I hate what they did to me there . I am a male and it was like being raped repeatedly .
Shock patients were treated like second class zombies . It was a horrible film that does not replay as often in my mind as it used to but it is a part of me that I have come to accept . My childhood and part of my early twenties are gone . I dont function as well as others . I struggle on jobs . I have gotten by and at my age that is all i can ever hope for . I am not grateful for what was done to me . Not for me
One other thing . If your loved one is catatonic there are not many choices left . I urge you to monitor it on one at a time basis . dont give these people carte blanche to shock away like so many do . I have made it a point to try to contact as many people as I could from that period of hell in my life . So far not one person has said it saved my life . Not one . Keep in mind this was an ugly money/power driven place that is not in operation any more . I am sure there must be some kind doctors out there .
My ECT rounds were last summer. Success is questionable. I believe it has helped the depression. Rapid cycling is the same. Of course, I have the usual memory issues that may be getting better, I am still telling friends and family the same things over and over again with no memory of ever telling them. I “forget to remember”. I have alot of confusion when driving, suddenly become aware that I don’t know where I am, but then a second or two later, I know where I am. I can’t figure out how to get from point A to point B.
My 2 urgent questions —- has anyone taken on a new addition? and is anyone experiencing an involuntary severe leaning of their neck and upper body to the right?
I have many additions so the new one is not much of a surprise, just a curiosity.
But the physical aspect of the leaning/bending of my neck/upper body (especially my neck) has me very concerned. I have searched and searched for some reference of this physical side effect to ECT treatments and have found nothing.
My ECT treatments finished up at the end of the summer and have found improvement in the depression, however, it did not stop my compulsion to burn, and it does continue.
Anybody experienced a chronic involuntary leaning/bending of their neck/upper body to the right? Also, when I am driving I have to concentrate on staying off of the right shoulder, I am constantly running over those bumpy things to alert you to get back on the road. I am rather worried.
How is someone supposed to make a decision like this? I was wondering if anyone can tell me besides general depression, did it help things like severe jealousy eating disorders?
And, can you drive during the course of treatments? How long until you can work? I live alone, I have to be able to work.
I’m desparate for help, but I’m scared about this…
I read a bunch of the comments about ECT. I have had many ECT treatments. I feel the same as many of you and also not the same. I do have the wonder if this was the right or only choice for me??? I am better in many ways and then not so good in others. I am interested if there are people that had ECT and are back to work feeling okay? This is my next step and I am terrified. Mostly because I don’t know what I don’t remember till it is something that I have to deal with and that frustrates me. I was a successful business woman before all this and granted I don’t want to be that person again – reassurance that it is possible to do something else and be happy would be nice. Another thing that scares me is that I do feel that I am not the same person and worry about my awesome husband and any possibility of losing him would crush me. So someone please tell me that ECT was good for them….I am going for a “maintenance” type treatment tomorrow as I am slipping….anything to feel better.
I had 11 ECT treatments while in hospital in 2008. It did help get me out of depression upto the 5th treatment. The next 6 brought no further relief and if it was upto me, i would have stopped after 6. The good news is that i didnt kill myself as i had been planning to prior to ECT. However, i do still have quite a few side effects 2.5yrs later. I was working as a doctor prior to ECT, but have not been able to go back to clinical work because large chunks of my memory has not come back(and unfortunately that memory contained a lot of medical knowledge), my concentration and organisation abilities are still affected and my reading and absorbing new information and also been greatly reduced!
However, i am a happier person now despite not being able to do the work i used to do. I am not able to do a lot of work now, but i am doing more exercise, spend a lot more time with my partner and i am probably a better friend now. I know that my previous partners would have preferred me to be with them more when i was working all the time, so i suppose overall it has benifitted me despite the frustrations of not being able to do some things i did in my previous life!
Hope this helps. Best wishes to all of you in your quest to get out of depression.
I am a Family Nurse Practitioner. I have a post graduate degree and I am a Legal Nurse Consutant. I have a history of severe depression and PTSD. The depression never interfered with my career until a series of tragic events that left me in a near catonic state of depression. I read that you are a doctor and you have some of the same side effects as I do. I had ECT treatment over 1 year ago. I have severe cognitive side effects. My doctors have told me I will never ever be able to work as a FNP again. How are you handling the lose of your career and all those years of education. Its quite devastating for me. I don’t know what to do with myself. Being an FNP is all I know. I am also a Legal Nurse Consultant. My biggest problem is repeating the same thing over and over again, remember what i did yesterday, spelling, writing, remembering faces and people, cleaning my house, lack of concentration and focus, appointments, bathing, eating and normal everyday routine. I live alone since my husband died on active duty. My last son is at the university. I was a Major in the Army. I also have PTSD. Maybe you have some advice for me that is helpful. take care, Deborah.
Yes I had a major round of ECT for my major (unipolar) depressive disorder. It DID NOT help. In fact, it left me with symptoms which I didn’t have before this treatment; lack of concentration, and memory loss, both short term and long term. You and I could have had a conversation a few days or a week ago and i won’t remember it. I had my treatments over four years ago and these symptoms persist. I feel like a fool much of the time, often repeating myself over and over again. My lack of any real ability to concentrate, has made reading a book for more than a few minutes nearly impossible. I was a voracious reader before ECT. I have finally climbed out of my depression through sheer will, a cocktail of meds, and weekly therapy. Every day is a new struggle. I also now have vertigo, which I never suffered from before. I spent a lot of my Summers sailing, and I now get seasick. I have found an answer to that at least. I bought a pair of flexible wrist bands which have a small snap like piece in each, which works by applying pressure to a specific acupressure point. I have found that I can partially function on a daily basis, but the depression persists. I am a lucky one, because I have a great support system, but I live my life just like the mantra that they drilled into my brain while I was hospitalized: That being, take life one day at a time. That does help, but i would warn anyone that i know that was considering ECT to find another way.
I just wanted to say that after 20 years of battling bi-polar depression, and more than 20 medicines later I have just completed my 5th ETC treatment. I have had to this point all unilateral treatments, I think there will be 8 treatments total. If I hadn’t been so frightened of the stigma and the procedure I would have done it 15 years ago. The entire hospital staff is incredible, compassionate and professional beyond words. The treatments have been so easy, honestly, if you read enough of these sites people will compare it to a trip to the dentist, and for me, the worst part of the “treatment” is afterwards. I feel like I have a hangover, which is just treated with excedrin and they do give you something in the hospital. I recommend this treatment, and I can feel like the cobwebs are clearing and the sun just shines a little differently. I promise it is not the horrid experience its made out to be, if I feel like I start to slip again, I’ll be back in a second. I get there at 530 in the am and then I am usually on the way home by 730. It’s worth a try, by the way, no memory loss. I wish you the best of luck with a debilitating disease, there is hope. I promise, and I’ve been to some the the finest hospitals in the country for evaluation, so this isn’t something that I took or take lightly.
I received ECT treatments the summer of 1964. I had told that my father sexually abused me. My parents took me to a clinic in south France where I received ECT’s. I have lost time/memories between the ages of 14-16. My memories prior to treatments are a result of “hearing” tales over the years. My memories, powers of concentration, focus, IQ have been impaired from the time of receiving ECT’s to the present. I was 14 years old when I had these treatments. I am now 61 years old. I’m conflicted that medical professionals (AND my own mother) had agreed to have these procedures done. I still suffer from depression, PSTD and trust issues. I’ve finally been able to assuage most of my anger – but it hasn’t been an easy journey. It has taken dedication and strong will-power to progress to this point. I feel as though my soul was raped. I feel as though my “core”, the essence of who I was and could have been have been stolen from me. In my estimation, ECT treatments are barbaric. If adults wish to permit such treatments done to them, that is their call. But to perform ECT treatments on an underaged individual who has no say in the matter, whose past will be erased and whose future will be altered and/or stolen from is a matter for God to administer His own brand of justice and retribution to the willing participants requesting, perscribing and administering ECT to kids. I have struggled with resentment of what was done to me. I understand that there are circumstances which require serious intervention on behalf of the welfare of those unable to deny treatments deemed beneficial for them. However, I do not feel that the administering of ECT treatments to helpless individuals – most especially in attempts to “silence” a young person’s claims of child incestous claims – serves any purpose what-so-ever. If there are any doctors out there who would like to discuss this with me further, I welcome the interview.
I am sorry for your experiences, they sound awful. But you do realise (and everyone else reading this) that the treatment modes of ECT in 1964 are not comparable to today’s treatment?
Wow. I got through about half the above comments after researching this treatment. I’ve been spiraling into major depression in the last several years and suffered anxiety for about 10 years. My depression is so bad now they’ve tried many medications and none seem to work. Now I have another round of psychiatry to again see what might work. After crying on and off most of today I thought about how to deal with my pets and child after I hang myself in the basement, and thought about medications I could take before hanging myself so that I wouldn’t be able to escape death and end up in a hospital. I then went down there and figured out where to put a noose and tested it.
After all that I started feeling a bit better and looked online and came across ECT. Of course it has a horrible image but when I looked at health websites they all seemed to claim it is fabulous. Then I came here and its about 80% HORRIBLE. I guess it works for some people who seem very happy — I guess the failure rate is extremely high. It seems like people turn out to be that guy in Memento (excellent movie but I wouldn’t want to be that guy).
I guess I will ask for another round of medication experiments and see if ANYTHING can possible help me because this treatment seems to be overkill to say the least or cutting off your nose to spite your face.
I am so sorry for the pain I am reading on here and I truly wish I could help these poor isolated people who are now worse off. I too am very isolated/alienated and have long drawn out reasons for my problems — I want to fix them so bad but not by killing a part of me that makes me the person I am. I just want to get rid of this black cloud over me that never seems to leave and is just raining more every day.
Oh my goodness this comment has haunted me. I hope you’re okay. ECT REALLY isnt that bad, it works, both my mum and my aunty have had REALLY positive effects from ECT. My mum tried to kill herself and I am so grateful that she was saved. Everyday I count my lucky stars. PLEASE don’t think you won’t get better, because you will. Please think about your child and how much they need and love you. I really hope and pray that you get the treatment you need and deserve and get better and go on to live a happy and full life, just like my mum has. Take care
I had ECT for About, 3 months 15 years ago as a treatment for depression. None of the medications I was taking at the time were working and ECT was decided upon as a last resort.
IT certainly helped as, I describe it, by giving me a blank canvas to build myself up from. I think anyone with a chronic depression will always have to deal with some level of bad thoughts but if there is no other option, I take ECT over death.
After my ECT I managed to build my self into a reasonably non depressed and mostly pleasant person and if I hadn’t had it I think I would probably be dead.
It has definitely damaged my memory but I suppose it is a small price to pay.
I am wondering if anyone else experiences teeth clenching during sleep at night ? Sometimes I bite my teeth together so hard I get extremely sore jaw muscles !!
I sma 46 year old male. I had ECT treatments at 20 years of age. I have never regained my memory of my whole life prior to the treatments. I believe i had at least 20 done. Not sure if it was unilateral or bi-lateral type. They say that makes a difference.
I haven’t taken medication for depression now for 15 years. I just deal with it myself. The experience has left me just not wanting to go there route anymore pertaining to any type of treatment.
My recommendation is to not use ECT unless it’s a life or death necessity. All the reports i read show no long term memory loss, although everyone i talk to that had it suffers from it. Makes you wonder where all there data comes from. Or if it’s just there own theory based upon their agenda.
58 year old male. Severe depressive episodes. Two experiences with ECT: Eleven treatments in 2004, twelve in 2010. Both times I had severe depression with parasuicidal behaviors. Talk therapy and heavy medication weren’t working. Both times hospitalized. Don’t know if the first treatments were bilateral or unilateral. The second were unilateral. Very little memory of the 3-4 weeks preceding and following the treatments. Since I have noticed loss of old fixed memories, such as memories of childhood. More recent memories as well. Also difficulty forming and holding short term memories. Often – many times a day – I find myself not knowing something I should know. Like the “tip of my tongue” problem, when you are certain you know a word but can’t say it. You go to the place in your memory where something is stored and nothing’s there. I fill the blank with my best estimate, something probable, and move on. It isn’t a concious process. It doesn’t feel like lying or confabulation. It feels like making sense of the world. My wife hates it. She says that she can’t trust me. I say something that sounds right, she believes me, and then it turns out to be made up. Neuropsychiatric testing shows drop in memory and IQ. The only reason I tolerate these long term effects of ECT is that it was effective. Broke depression’s spell. I might have died if I had not had ECT
I had ECT destroyed my life and life memories, I can’t remember my mother, who was my best friend.
the comments that “memory is a price to pay for aleviating depression” are retarded.
Oh really? Memory is all we have to allow us to function, live, and yes think through things so we can get ourselves out of depression and other things.
Let me just say, if people thought to go to therapy, trust in good friends, and not give in to quick fixes that destroy lives, than we woudl be a much more intelligent society. Oh yes, and ECT now shows often leads to Alzheimers. Is that also a small price to pay for aleviating even serious depression?
I volunteer at National Alliance for Mental Health, when I can, and I attended a conference, big one how people can work through depression, and this has the highest recovery rate than meds, which also make depression almost universally worse.
When I had ECT I was psychotic and destroyed as well, I was not thinking straight, and sadly most don’t and many are cohersed into ECT. It’s a sick sick industry that submits us in times of great desperation. Well, my life is over, literally, I’m not exaggerating. But I encourage all of you, in fact you almost must tell your ECT doctors, if you still are in contact with them, how ECT really has affected you, instead in my research, extensively patients are either too scared, or don’t want to admit to the degree of memory loss, when their doctor asks about it. Oh, and most ECT docs do not even care to ask the patient.
I find it extremely offensive that you would call people who think differently than you retarded.Some of us would trade memory for a new life,most of those memories are during depressed states anyway.You in a nutshell are telling people who because of other reasons(accident,stroke,seizures)that now they have no reason to live because what made them(their memories)are gone.We cannot live in the past ,we must strive for a brighter tomorrow.I am sorry for what happened to you,but to label everyone who sees this as an option as retarded is narrow minded.
I’ve had between forty and fifty ECT treatments since 1995; the most recent being this March. Worked well earlier on, but the level and duration of the treatment’s efficacy is falling sinificantly. Some odd cognitive problems have appeared recently, and I have to wonder if they are ECT-induced. In other words, I’m getting less and less out of my treatments, and it’s time to try something else. I’ve been through numerous med trials, with only MAOI’S having any benefits. I have had MAOI augmentation trials, largely to no avail, trying to boost the meds benefits. I don’t know if my psydoc will be willing to let me try anything more “risky” than MAOIs, but I’m backed into a corner, so what to do?
I am a 49 year old male and have had 8 shock treatments done. My only side effect seems to feel like a hangover. I have no problems remembering things from long ago and my depression hasn’t lessened at all. Please feel free to e-mail me with your results from your treatments. It felt like a waste of time to me.
tried your email keeps comming back
I suppose every case and strain of. Depression is different. I went through 16 rounds after 18 medication changes. I was and still am known as a medication discreter. My body will become immune after several months on mess.
I had ect back in 2008 and don’t recall anything other than one time they forgot to give me a muscle relaxant and my jaw locked. Never been through so much pain for days.
Currently I am on a trial with the Blackdog Insitute of Australia in Sydney. I’m on 60mg Ritalin and 150 verging on 200mg of Pristq.
ECT did nothing for me other than cause more hell. I don’t have a clue who I was, who I became, who I am now, if I still want a future and it’s made me look like an ever more incompetent fool because I’ve lost so much of my memory, my job skills and knowledge base. I’ve been erased. In some ways I wished I’d never come out of hospital because I can’t function in a “normal environment”.?
My motivation, my purpose, my will, my life is screwed. It’s ever to the point of questioning myself, who myself is, how to create a new one, how to have the will to want to ever want that.
I can’t say either was is ECT was good for me or not. Maybe for my family because I’m still alive, but I’m just existing and dont really have any desire to want to make the effort to live as it’s just too tiring, but my motto is to just get through one day at a time and if that’s too much than hour by hour or minute by minute or second by second.
You have to do what’s best for your situation, but I know I wouldn’t go through it again purely for the memory loss and the extent it has and still does continue to effect me
ECT has had a big POSITIVE effect on my family, Depression seems to be in the family and my mum, her sister AND her brother have all suffered from depression. It is awful and my heart goes out to anybody who has this awful illness.
My mum tried to commit suicide and (thankgoodness) was saved and underwent 2 courses of 10 ECTs and it certainly helped. I don’t know how she ever would have come back to us if she hadn’t had it. ECT must be awful, but I KNOW it works. As for the memory loss, yes, her memory was definitely very fuzzy for a long time afterwards but not in a drastic way that effected her day to day life, just like, she’d forget things that happened when we were kids or other silly things. It has certainly come back to her now though, her memory’s great now and has slowly but surely improved, some of the things are a little fuzzy from BEFORE she was ill but I’m not entirely sure that’s a bad thing.
My aunty then suffered depression some years later and was admitted and had ECT and it sure as hell worked for her too. Like, really quickly. She had one course and it just pulled her out of her depression and she was home and well within a few weeks.
I find this topic quite hard, as my heart goes out to anybody who is having ECT or depressed and considering it, but trust me, however horrible it sounds…you are asleep, you are safe and it works. Nothing can be worse than where you are now. Please get the help you need and DESERVE and get better soon.
I am considering ECT. I have a close friend who has been having treatments for about 1 yr. She is so much better. Not as depressed, gets out more, voluteers for things and best of all she is not suicidal now.
Currently, I already have short and long term memory loss. I used to know how to knit and one day I couldn’t remember anything about it. Didn’t even know how to hold the needles right. I get mixed up on words, my speech breaks down if I’m having a bad day. Due to my chronic major depression I had to leave my job. My psychiatrist doesn’t want me to work ever again because of what the stress does to me. So I’m applying for psychiatric disability. I’m on a total of 15 medications. 5 are psych meds but I’m sure they are conflicting with each other. I’ve been on meds for 22 yrs with no real improvement, I’ve seen therapists for most of that 22 yrs. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been inpatient and outpatient. I think I’m resistant to medications. I’ve had a conversion disorder. I can barely make it thru a day. I’m not able to do my activities for daily living (ADL’S), Almost everyday I have suicidal thoughts. I have attempted suicide twice that I can remember. From reading many of the posts it seems I’m already having the same symptoms that people have after ECT. To me it would be worth a shot a this point. I’m sure there’s a chance that I would get worse, but right now I’m barely living so I don’t see how that would matter.
My experience with depression started when I was 20, medications worked very well and I did pretty good for years.
At forty-seven I fell into a terrible depression going from 129lbs-102lbs in less than 2 months, new and combination meds didn’t work. I continued to get therapy, excercise and fight to find a drug or drugs that would work, but nothing did. I knew I would die or have to be hospitalized if I didn’t do something, so I told my Psychiatrist I wanted to try E.C.T. He was very aggreeable and later apologized for not suggesting it himself.
E.C.T in my mind was a piece of cake, the depression was a living hell. I felt a little better after each treatment and continue to get monthly treatments, with my medications drastically reduced I’m alive again! People can’t believe the difference and I’m now happy to be alive. Yes, there was some side effects namely minor memory loss, but a lot of the memory problems I attribute to the depression.
I continue to see mytherapist, pyschiatrist, excercise, eat relatively well, work and play, because I believe as with any other disease there are no quick fixes. You have to work hard at getting better
I feel so lucky to have experienced E.C.T. and hope others that may feel as hopeless and desperate as I did don’t give up.
The UK government has recently introduced e-petitions online.
Please sign this ‘Abolish ECT’ e-petition and relegate this barbaric ‘treatment’ to the history books along with lobotomy. We need 100,000 signatures to get it debated in parliament.
To sign an e-petition, you must be either:
• a citizen of the UK (can live abroad)
• a resident in the UK (you normally live in the UK)
It only takes a minute! Please pass this on.
Thank you for your help.
i too had ect approximately 15-20 yrs ago and am now researching why i have no memory skills, i forget very important daily actions, conversations. things as embarrassing as my sons age or what my address is. i am very nervous because i was told it would cure my depression and did many sessions of it. it never helped my depression, but life slowly got to where i am now. confused, forgetful, have zero attention span and my children and husband are noticing it. it’s very embarrasing when i’m with strangers who don’t understand, and if something is not written very bold, in a place i will see it, it will never happen. small tasks have turned into huge clusters of things that lead into a giant mountain of problems that i cannot achieve so i don’t try. do we get our memory back? i take brain medicine or food. its a vitamin, but i think i need more
I have had 75 treatments.
My short term memory is shot; my lomg term is getting worse.
I used to be an excellent speller and now I find myself stuck on simple words. That being said, it is only fair to say I might not be here today if I didn’t have them. My last one was 5 months ago, and am still on the verge of tears most of the time, but after my last experience (horrific) I am terrified to go back.
I would never recommend ECT. I lost all the memories of my children, their births, toddlers grade school middle school high school etc.I have short term memory loss too. I walk in a room and forget what I was heading there to do, My cognitive skills are also ruined, I had ECT treatments for years in hopes of curing the depression but it didn’t work. My therapist had the most positive effect on me. Then when I wanted to stop ECT the Dr, didn’t support me. The ECT also took away all my desires to do things for fun. But really was the last straw is when they damaged a nerve in my wrist. It would take 4 months or more to heal mean time I had very restricted use of my hand. They didn’t want to take responsibility for the mistake and I worried that this or something else could happen again.
ECT is a closed head injury. Seizures as well as the electricity used to produce them cause damage to the brain. This damage results in permanent, substantial memory loss and memory impairment, called amnesia.
Without having any psychotic symptoms and no real depressive or manic ones, I endured 66 treatments from 1965 to 1969. For me ECT was torture. It was like going to my death every time. ECT did not help me at all. In fact, I was so traumatized by the experience that it took years and years to even begin to deal with the fear. After 1969, I had nightmares every night for 30 years and would wake up screaming, seeing the doctor standing over me with the electrodes.
The doctor who shocked me was Hardin M Ritchey in Birmingham Alabama at Hill Crest Hospital. He was fired from the hospital in about 1973 and sometime between 1973 and about 1983 there was an article in the Birmingham newspapers about how he had been disciplined by state board. If anyone knows the year of this article, please post a comment. The state board says they have no record of disciplining him, so the newspaper article must have been a leak of some kind.I know the article exists because a friend of mine saw it. She is not sure of the date, however.
If you have any information about this man and particularly any information about the newspaper article (year or range of years) please post a comment. I need to find the article and narrowing down the window of years would help greatly.
Having no psychotic symptoms and hardly any depressive ones not found in any teenager, I was subjected to 66 electroshock treatments from 1965 to 1969. ECT did not help me in any way; in fact, it made my feelings and situation much much worse. Each treatment was like going to my death, and I suffered memory loss in some areas.
The doctor who shocked me was Hardin M Ritchey. He worked in Birmingham Alabama at Hill Crest Hospital. In about 1973 he was fired from the hospital, and later, sometime before about 1983 he was disciplined by the state board of medical examiners. There was an article in the newspaper that a friend of mine saw that stated that he had been disciplined and was not being allowed to practice. I have written the board and they say that he was never formally disciplined, so most likely the newspaper article was a leak.
If you know anything about this man, particularly the year he was disciplined by the board or even a range of 2-3 years, please post a comment. I need to find the article, which is only available on microfilm, and not available through interlibrary loan where I live.
Thanks very much
I had ECT treatments from 1998 to 1999. How many I had I couldn’t say because I can’t remember. I do know that meds would not work for me. Trouble is neither did ECT treatments. I lost the ability to remember almost everything. I had to even get instructions on how to drive to my destination a half mile away. The worst of it is I lost my memory of every beautiful thing that happened. My wedding day, the birth of my 6 children, family vacations, ect. I don’t know why but it seems I have no trouble remembering bad memories. They are crystal clear. It’s been 13 hrs and it seems I am getting stupider everyday. I repeat myself to my now adult children, and I forget the simplest of tasks.
This was a huge price to pay for only a few weeks of relief. Still suffering.
I am a 52 year old female who a month ago underwent 8 ECT treatments for severe refractory depression. Most of my memory from that time has been erased; I only know of the horrible state I was in by reading the journal I kept during that time. Based on the writings I kept I actually got worse until the 5-6th ECT treatment. I came out of the hospital feeling very much like a newborn child and in the 4 weeks since have had to limp along feeling very much retarded and as if the medical community stole myself from myself. I am an engineer; expected to function at a high level in my job. To date I have managed with the kind understanding of my supervisory staff to regain much of my cognitive abilities lost due to the ECT and I am grimly determined to regain as much as possible. My advice to anyone considering ECT is that while it may temporarily relieve your depression, the price is much, much too high. It is a hideous treatment. I live each day with the feeling that I have been violated; I am ashamed that it’s in my permanent records, and I would never consent to having it done again.
Hello everyone. I think it’s important to remember that not long ago anesthetics we’re not used and bilateral treatment was common which caused severe memory loss. Today, things are very different.
Prior to my own treatment this year, I had been depressed for 2 yrs apx. Medications helped a little, but I was still very depressed. I had 10 rounds of ECT at Seattle Swedish hospital. Overall, it has helped me tremendously. I am taking medications for maintenance purposes and continue to feel even better.
I have two exceptions to my positive experience, and they both have to do with the anesthetics used. I woke(not fully) during my first ECT treatment–not good.
I let them know about this and it never happened again due to adjustments they made to the anesthetics.
The second incident (my last treatment). They added a different anesthetic to my original one, and when I woke, I was tearful and traumatized. I developed SEVERE panic attacks related to certain smells (medicinal in nature), white bed sheets, deep breathing techniques (which i used to calm myself right before I went under), and people touching my hair–the nurse would kindly stroke my hair before I went under. ALL of my panic attacks involved little things which triggered my last memory of my ECT treatment.
With anxiety medication, these panic attacks are getting much better. The big problem was that I didn’t remember anything traumatic happening to me.
Overall, ECT helped a great deal. It gave my medications the boost that they needed and I feel much better. I’m glad I had the treatment and I met many people there who felt it gave them back their original ‘selfhood’.
I am in the middle of a treatment session… Can’t tell you which treatment I’m on right now – because I don’t remember. My main downfall: MEMORY. I am forgetting more and more with each treatment. I’ve forgotten a combined collection of long-term and short-term memories. It is difficult to accept as I was once worked in healthcare; now I can’t function outside of my own home. I receive ECT Treatments at a highly-reputable hospital here in NC. There is much controversy with these treatments, understandably… Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the best solution is… I wish everyone well while battling these mental health crises. Good Luck to All and GOD Bless.
I had ECT in I think July, 2012. I continue to have memory problems. Can’t remember where stores are located that I used to frequent. Afraid to go to the mall because I can’t go anywhere where there is not a door where I can quickly escape. I don’t remember much of my past so it is hard to do therapy. I can’t word find which is difficult because I am a speech pathologist. Have to write things down all the time, NEed a GPS in my car because I get lost. My kids say one day I will be in another state because I won’t know how to get home. I have to ask my children many times how there day was at school which is frustrating for both of us. ECT helped with the depression but it seemed to be pushed and every patient in the hospital was being recommended for it. I still cut and self harm. I don’t know if I would do it again. I cry alot because I don’t know how I will make it through work each day. GOod luck to others. I am glad so many people have had positive experiences and hope more do.
DON’T DO IT!
I can’t think, can’t create, can’t even be angry. It ruined my brain. Just made one time ECT.
I have no motivation to do things, just became nothing. Empty from inside
Feel like it made a big hole in the brain. I used to do jogging, now i have no motivation. i used to ve very verbal, now barely. I lost my sociability and Charismatic. Those are just few of the whole damages.
Psychiatrists are liers, they don’t tell you that. They just saying that it have memory problems that will past. The memory problems is just a little symptom of all the damage it make among the many problems that NOT pass, at least for some us. I hope wish i will recover from that one day and from the depression as well
My psycyiatrists told me her patients had mixed results with ECT, but generally positive. She claims the ones who complain it affected them were just attributing all their problems to it. I suspect the truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. I’ve opted to take it, however, because I think I might kill myself, so I have nothing to lose.
I had 15 ECT or EST as it was called in 1969 in Sherman, Texas and was 22 years old. The depression was following my 3rd child and post-partum depression was probably the cause but not mentioned then. During the 1st course of 12 I discovered I was pregnant with my 4th. The doctors proceeded with the treatments and the medications of the day. My poor infant. For 40 years I have suffered with muscle memory at night. During my sleep I experience seizure-like muscle spasms. My muscles remember the treatments and are re creating the EST! I clench my jaws so tight that I’ve cracked teeth (night guards are a must) and now have cranial nerve pain associated with the night re creations. This is PTSD from the EST treatments over 50 years before. I was anesthesized during the treatments but do not know if I had muscle relaxants but I believe so. I would not advise these treatments for anyone. No one. Psychiatrists get a “kick” out of doing this treatments, in my opinion.
I had 40 treatments in 2010-2011. It has changed me forever. I tried to go back to work and failed so miserably…I wanted to be a high level management in a corporation, I loved to knit and decorate, read, shop and play with my kids and spend time with my husband….tonight I am wide awake in the middle of the night because I lost my job and know that I can not physically do the job I was once so awesome at. ECT robbed me of my memory, Long termand short term…but it affects so much more – I can’t concentrate and cant work things through to just get the job done – I will make it into so much more and end up nvever coming close to doing a job well…I know that I now have to find out if there is help for me to figure out if there is something I CAN do and how to deal with the fact that the dreams I had for myself are gone forever.
I had ECT done a few years ago, 2008 I think. It saved my life but not without consequence. I was extremely suicidal, cutting and other harmful behaviors. I don’t really remember much, just what my family has told me many times. I had suffered depression and anxiety for years that did not respond to therapy or medications. I don’t remember how many ECT sessions or exactly what was done, that year (6 months before and after) are gone. I still struggle with short and long term memory problems. I have also noticed that I’m not as sharp as I used to be. I often have trouble finding my words. It would be interesting to have had an IQ test before and after the procedure. Even with the side effects, I don’t regret having it done. Without ECT, I would surely be dead now and life even with difficulties is worth living. I have begun to feel myself sliding back down into that black pit. I have started my medications again trying to fight those feelings. But if meds don’t control it, is ECT something I would do again? I really don’t know? I just hope I don’t have to find out. For all of you facing the decision about ECT I pose this question, can you continue down the path you are currently following? If you honestly feel you have tried everything else with no relief and know that your “real” life is over, then what have you honestly got to lose? You have already lost yourself, a little more lost in order to rebuild life may be worth it. I wish you all the best.
I had over 75 ect treatments during 2001 and it ruined my marriage to the point that we got divorced. If you put my wife in a line-up and asked me which person you spent 12 years with, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I am a graphic designer by trade and trying to learn new computer skills and programs is next to impossible. 15 years of my life has been erased. I would never submit to ect again, I don’t care how sick I get!!
I had 16 rounds of ECT in around 2001, age 30. It did absolutely nothing for my depression.
I was told my amnesia would only last about a week. I did eventually get back certain things, like memories of the house i’d lived in all my life. But memories of large chunks of my life never returned. My short term memory is now considerably impaired. I get the same issues (as other posters) with speech, i cant think of words to complete sentences. I also have a bad problem with slurred speech, which started after the ECT. I have to be careful when speaking, some words i cant say without slurring them.
I had an EEG done around 2005 to test my brain waves & my doctor said it showed a slow brainwave only seen in people with brain damage. He denies the ECT could have had anything to do with it, and who the hell knows (I once heard a neurologist say the only people who fully appreciate just how little we know about the brain, are other neurologists). No matter what the doctors tell you about what ECT will/won’t do to/for you, fact is, they just don’t know, nobody does, not for sure. It obviously affects different people differently.
If you’re severely, profoundly & chronically depressed, and you’ve tried absolutely everything else, and the only alternative you have to ECT is suicide, I’d say try it, you haven’t got anything to lose. But if you’re not at that desperate stage yet, I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.
For me – I’m still severely, profoundly & chronically depressed. Been on every anti-depressant available. Nothing works. I won’t try ECT ever again though, no way in hell. That leaves holding onto life for as long as possible in the hope someone comes up with a cure.
Sorry, I just wanted to add…although I’m convinced ECT impaired my brain function, including causing slurred speech – I mean it began happening right after the ECT, that’s just way too much of a coincidence in my books (nb. oddly, exercise helps to control it) – despite all of that, I absolutely do NOT support lobbying governments to ban ECT, or to make it more difficult to access. Please don’t do that.
(Given some of these posts & it’s continued use after decades) ECT has obviously helped some people tremendously. Restricting a treatment for persons who have no other real avenues (except maybe the side of a cliff or a train track to throw themselves over) is way more barbaric than allowing it.
We all have the means of researching treatments & making informed decisions. If a child is involved, then it’s the parent’s responsibility. Don’t ever rely on doctors, they’re as much in the dark about the brain as the next person & you have much more of a vested interest in researching/understanding your particular ailment. The government is not (& should not be) your nanny, & doctors (as far as depression goes) are next to useless.
Any treatment concerning the brain is going to be rife with risk. Even anti-depressants are relied upon without any clue as to exactly what it is that they’re doing to help (scientists happened upon them by accident & are, still, almost entirely in the dark as to their underlying functionality).
If you’ve had a bad experience, please take some responsibility for the decision you made to go ahead with the treatment & please please don’t take it out on other sufferers by lobbying the government to restrict their options.
I was diagnosed Bi-Polar over 15 years ago. ECT was my absolute last resort. My mental illness almost destroyed my marriage, and I have spent the last year in and out of the hospital more than 3 times. In July 2012 I had the first of 12 initial ECT treatments. All I can tell you it has changed my life. The memories that were “fuzzy” after the initial treatments have come back. in fact, when i was depressed my memory was much worse. The treatment itself is painless and uneventful. I am excited about things again, my marriage is great and I look forward to watching my kids grow. I am the person NOW that God intended me to be. Remember, it may take several treatments before you notice a difference. I owe my life to ECT.
8 treatments 14 years ago and doing great. Prior, I was in BAD shape with not much to live for. Marriage failed, lost jobs, etc…. I know own a company that is successful and the depressive / anxiety has been under control since. There are many factors that determine results (good to bad) – so each case should be taken on an individual basis. From my perspective, if you are at this point and looking for answers because all else has failed, I would recommend it. Yes, memory is patching, but so what – I have my life back.
I was given a total of 24 ECT treatments in 1971. Eleven treatments were given while in the hospital and 13 as an outpatient. More were scheduled but I flat refused to take anymore. They did NOT put you to sleep in those days. They placed a pillow in the middle of your back and I was given some Sodium Penthathol which does not put you to sleep. I could hear what was being said right up until they hit the button but could not communicate. The treatments were barbaric and torture. As an out patient (I was 15 years old) I remember seeing grown men begging and crying and those of us waiting our turn could hear the patient on the other side of the wall having a gran mal siezure. I had “shock treatment nightmares” until I was in my 40s. Two years of memory were erased. In 1990 I obtained the records from the hospital that proved the Doctors lied to my parents in order to get a permit to shock me. At that time every single patient in the hospital (private hospital) was given either electric shock, Insulin shock or both. My 10 year old roomate was taking both. It was and is barbaric. Do not be fooled by how mild they make it look now with General Anesthesia and muscle relaxing drungs that keep you from flopping around like a fish on the dock as I did. In every person’s brain no mattrer what it looks like there is a gran mal siezure happening. Dont do it. It should be banned anbd the Doctors who lied to my parents can burn in hell as far as I am concerned.
I had ECT 20 years ago. I was suffering from medicinal resistant depression. After the ECT both my short term and long term memory were affected. I had a very sound short term and long term memory but after the ECT all my short term memory for the period of the ten years prior to the ECT was lost. I do not mean to say all my memories but the photographic memories wherein I could visualise all the major events in those years. However my memories of childhood for the age till six years remained intact. I can still remember vivid accounts of my ages 4-8 years. However the bad memories of my depression were also lost which is a very postive event in my life.
Thank you so much for all of your responses! I am going to an initial ECT consultation in the coming week, at my mother’s behest. Based on the majority opinion presented here of “don’t do it” I think I will print out a few responses and see what the lady in charge of the intake process has to say, besides the usual “well its different for each person.” When sizing up a psychiatrist I always ask “do you consider your profession to be scientific in nature?” If the answer is yes, I wish them well in turning lead into gold and their other alchemeical pursuits, and then leave! The only shrink I’ve ever remotely trusted flat out told me that everything he does is guess and check, trial and error, and that NO psychiatrist can honestly tell me otherwise. I’m very scared by the proposition of losing pieces of my memory, or even losing all my interests that haven’t been negated by my depression. I think TMS sounds safer and clearly less invasive, but it is a newer treatment and the long term effects are yet to be determined. Again, thank you for your input, and good luck to you all.
PS I don’t want to call anyone here a liar or a hack, but a few (not all) of the positive responses here sounded scripted and unauthentic, as in they were written by people with a vested interest in seeing ECT continue as a valid therapy. Then again, all the negative ones could be coming from the same person who had a bad experience while opening multiple email accounts to post under multiple names. Such is the nature of the net.
Only you can decide what decision to take. I have just read so many instances of people losing so much of their longterm memory and having problems with short-term memory. In the end, if their is another way to combat your problem, I would strongly advise it. I wish you all the best.
I had 13 ects about 8 years ago. Do Not do it unless there is absolutely no other way even then keep looking!!!!!
I got them after being raped in college. I fell into a very dark place, gained 110 pounds,and just said f#@$ the world. ECTS were NOT my only options but I trusted the doctor and didn’t once question him. I was wrong. He minimized the effects, told me the stigma was just hyped up and I would have no lasting side effects other than a little short term memory loss. Not true!!!!
I have been so negatively impacted by ects. I am so much slower than before. I’m a “deer in headlights”. Finding coherent, full sentences is a battle. I’m still intellectually the same, but can’t get out what is up there. I feel like a prisoner of my brain.
My college education I don’t remember (with the privilege to pay for it). Huge parts of my life’s memories are gone. I’ve lost relationships, career, filed bankruptcy. It sucks living like this but I accept my fate and keep going.
im 19 yrs old and im in the middle of my treatments it does help my family notices a big differnts and as someone said once the sideffcts are diffent for every oneim at the point ware i cant do much more about my depression and it has been helping me i havent felt so happy in im not sure how long it can be hard to tell at first but it does work.
So what person suppose do after hearing all these horrible stories, my problem is I have vary bad anxiety and depression which I take Xanax for my anxiety, sometimes I get so bad that function, can some please tell me shoud do.
I have had 12 E.C.T within the last 2 months and it has saved my life. I am not suicidal anymore and internally I feel happier. I am a mother, a wife and a student. I felt this was my only option after living with depression for many years. Honestly I remember having issues since I was young. I can’t say I am cured but I am feeling better. Ill take it. As far as side effects, I get really bad headaches, my left eye is constantly twitching. I don’t know what that’s about and yes I have both long and short term memory loss. It’s sort of selective and some times things will come back to me at random. I find my self repeating things multiple times because I have forgotten I had already said it and I ask a lot of questions over and over again. I do feel mentally slower. I have a really supportive husband and wonderful parents that have been very patient with me. I wouldn’t be able to go through this without them. I came into this knowing the risks and knew there would be side effect and that it might not work. It was worth the risks for me to try and get better. My life is much better for taking that risk.
I had 12 sessions of ECT done in September 2011. I suffered extreme depression prior to the treatment. I had been prescribed many meds that impaired my cognitive process and then had them taken away abruptly. I am convinced that this roller coaster worstened my condition. I was hospitalized and conceded to granting my wife not only guardianship, but also did not resist her decisión to try ECT. In my humble opinión it is very unfair when health professionals minimize the negative side effects. It is wrong for physicians to laúd ECT and to dogmatically spew out claims of 85% success rate. I suffered a severe seizure shortly after the last treatment. A very competent neurologist attributed the seizure to the ECT. The psychiatrist that recommended the treatment vehemently denied this diagnosis. I trust the neorologist more for many reasons, lack of bias not the least. He confirmed permanent structural changes in the brain. Having said that I must admit that it rescued me from Long term institutionalism. I am a lawyer and have returned to work without significant problems. It does seem that all studies conclude some level of brain damage. To be effective, changes must be made and not all are positive. Autopsies reveal damage in all subjected to ECT.
I think there is vested interest when it is acclaimed as harmless. It was traumatic for me and the months following were difficult. I encourage comments or questions.
The biggest problem with this treatment is that no one can predict who’s brain will be damaged.
My husband had 5 ECT’s in 2011 and his life is destroyed. Huge memory-loss and severe, daily headaches is the outcome in his case. Seeing what ECT can do to a person, I would never recommend it to anyone!
When memory is erased there`s no wonder why depression also goes away for a little while…..
I had 18 unilateral right side ultra brief pulse ECT year and a half ago.
My memory and my learning ability is severely damaged. My IQ, emotive ability, creativity, spatial visualization all shattered. I am unable to work. Previously I had a high level professional job. My depression remains. ECT is hell on earth. No one should be fooled into taking it. It compounds your problems and make you a vegetable.
That does it. I have read through all the comments. Most of them acknowledged loss of memory and loss of learning ability. The few that denies it seems to be rehearsing a script. Most are against ECT.
The few that are for it are very reluctant and said that they had little choice. I would not be surprised that the few that writes growing praise of ECT are scripted by Public Relations Firms financed by the ECT industrial complex. They have lots of money. The negative comments are more believable. Afterall we survivors have neither the
money, and have neither the organization ability and memory to make up so many stories. The message is clear. Stay away from ECT. There are other alternatives. You might even be better off stay the way you are. Stay away from ECT like you would stay away from lobotomy.
I have read all 121 comments on this topic.
and despuite the fact that most people are against it, I’m going to take my chances anyway. I had a successful round of 12 ECT treatments in 1996. It did very well for about 10 years after, but the last five have not been good. I’m Bipolar, and it has gotten so bad that I have completely lost the will to live. I’ve become a pill dependent alcoholic. I have lost all faith in God, and life is something I just have to “get through”. So why not off myself? I would, but I have 2 young children. I can’t ruin their lives just because mine is miserable. The odd thing is I have no real reason to be depressed. I run my own business, have a loving spouse, a nice home, and great kids. My brain has just gotten out of whack. I wish I could tell you why I feel the way I do when I have so much going for me, but I can’t. I just do. So, I’ve elected to revisit ECT in hopes that it works. Am I scared I’ll have makor memory loss Yes. But I don’t think it can make me feel *worse* than I am now. When you have stopped functioning in life the way I have, any functioning is a step up.
I want to thank the administrators of this discussion group.
I posted my story on another discussion group and discribed my bad
experience with ECT. I also said in so many words that ECT quals
brain damage. My message got hidden away in a column that is viewed by mature audience only. Then it got edited down to one sentence. “I would not have ECT again.” Here in this discussion group, you didnot edit my messages.
My working memory is so poor that I signed in sometimes as CliffWBeers, sometimes as Cliff1WBeers, and then Cliff!WBeers.
Lisa, look before you jump into ECT. The current ECT uses more
and different anaethesia, uses high electron bombardment to the
right side of your brain using ultra short pulses, but uses supra
seizure threshold amount of electricity. Each ultra brief pulse contains a lot more electrons, and it also is a prolonged bombardment. It concentrates the bombardment
on the right side of the brain, where the creativity, spartial visualization, emotive feelings, altheletic ability, music appreciation
and a host of other qualities that makes us human is controlled. The
damages are harder to measure. It has made me feel less human.
And also I cannot learn anymore, and I cannot work anymore. Bad as
your situation is. Please look for other remedies. You still have your
job and you loving family. You still have the will to live. You have a lot to
lose before you induce a permanent brain damage in youself. Remember the damage is cumulative. Now you would have another
series of ECT’s on top of what you had ten years ago. Please do more
research before you jump into it. It would be so nice if I could only
save one person from meeting with the fate that I got.
Reply to 116. The degree of brain damage is directly proportion to the electricty used in each ECT treatment. The higher the seizure threshold, the more electricity used, the more the damage.
Cliff, I wasn’t seeking your approval. Actually, I *would* rather be brain damaged. At least then I have an excuse.
Don’t do it!!!
The effects of E.C.T. on the individual are completely unpredictable. I had it forty years ago and have been living with the brain damage ever since. I am now a member of Mensa who is forced to exist on benefits.
I have lost large chunks of past memory, and have continuing problems with short-term memory every day.
I agree with you Christine, it`s completely unpredictable, and there is no directly proportion to the electricity used in each treatment….
Christine, No ECT:
I found an article in the Internet that is very helpful. If I had read it be-
fore my ECT treatment, I would never have gone through with it.
Just type this into the search engine:” Memory and cognitive effects of ECT: informing and assessing patients.” Harold Roberson & Robin
Pryor. The authors are two psychologists, they work for a not-for-profit
charitable foundation in New York focussing on the underserved patient population. Their interest is in psychiatric research, particularly in the research use of electroconvulsive therapy. I have a question for
Christine. Did you take the Mensa Test before ECT or after ECT? I
mean no offense. ECT is known to reduce IQ by a large number. If you
took the test after ECT, then you must have had an extremely high IQ.
Anyway, I value you contribution here and to society in general. Thanks.
I think everything depends on the precized work of doctor who does the treatment. Also if he chooses uni-, bi-lateral or bi- frontal metods.
I wish to know which parameters are the best to get positive outcome and zero side effects?
Mayby Magnetic Seizure Therapy would be the best treatment?
Please read Harold Robertson and Robin Pryor, “Memory and Cogni-
tive effects of ECT, informing and assessing patients.” There are no
techniques in ECT that produce zero brain disability. ECT works on
breaching the blood-brain barrier, raising the intra brain B/P to an
impossible high level, bombarding the brain with electrons, causing
seizure as a reaction. In other words, it works by damaging the brain,
and dumbing people down. It is electrical lobotomy. Please remember these words should you go to ECT and suffer brain dis-
ability as a result. Ironically, you cannot get a straight answer by going
to the ECT doctors. They all are deceptive. If they are honest, they would not have any customers. Read Linda Andre, Doctors of Deception. By the way, ECT Machine is Class III according to FDA.
Magnetic Seizure Therapy is invented by the same people that are pro-ducing ECT machine. It is not FDA approved. You have to pay for it yourself. Insurance Companies do not reimburse you. Hope this is
helpful. P.S. I was coersed by my ex- psychiatrist and then tricked by the ECT psychiatrist into ECT most recently. Now I cannot work anymore. I drive only precariously. Previously I had a high level professional job.
I had ECT about 7 years ago. A lot has gone on, I was over medicated for a long time, and a lot of things happened in my life that led to me having some pretty intense emotional issues to sort out. I can say, ECT did nothing to help me sort those issues out, and actually slowed me down. I can’t tell you what damage was done, because I don’t really know. I do know it did no good at all. What I really needed was to learn to understand myself and my emotions better, and to break off many of the unhealthy relationships I had and was fostering in my life. All very painful and difficult things to do. ECT is not a shortcut. It will not save you from doing work that needs to be done. There are people who can benefit from it, I’m sure. I’ve read their testimonies. They were not me. I had to do things the hard way. I don’t know, it’s even possible that for some people it just makes them forget what caused their problems in the first place, so they can be happy for a bit? I don’t know though, I’m not a doctor. I just know myself and my experience .
As far as IQ goes, I have never had an IQ test that I know the results of. I can say that I don’t think I am less intelligent after ECT. I can say that it takes me much longer to solve easy problems, though my ability to solve complex problems doesn’t seem to have been damaged. I even read slower, but my comprehension isn’t affected much either way. Things are definitely different cognitively for me. I do believe though, from the tests I had taken before and after ECT, that my IQ went down, but I think it’s mainly because of the slow down effect. People I used to run circles around run circles around me now, however, when it comes to more complex problems I am able to solve them where they cannot. So, if it’s a problem that would normally take seconds to minutes to solve, I am much slower than I used to be. More complex problems though, ones that may take hours or days to resolve, I seem to be able to resolve at about the same speed as I used to.
I must add the ECT that I had caused facial numbness, slurred speech,
and loss of hearing in my right ear. This is in addition to the other disabilities I have described. Please do not used ECT, it is a deal with the
devil. It costs your soul.
Last night I had a cold tremor which woke me up in my dreams. My
muscles were trembling involuntarily and I felt ice cold. I was in a warm room under a warm bed cover, my wife sleeping soundly besides me.
I am not on any medication anymore. But this is the 4th time it happened
to me after ECT. May God help me.
ECT saved my life. I had 12 treatments, half impatient, half out; 3 unilateral and 7 bilateral.
Memory loss decreased over time and was mostly relegated to directions (ie; I’d forget how to go to the grocery store.) I am fully functioning and happy now with a successful career that requires me to use my brain (I work at a think tank.) I did not experience losing cognitive functions and did not have to re-learn anything. I feel extremely fortunate that I had a positive ECT experience.
Everyone is different. Also, just like with anything else, ECT is only as good as the doctor performing it. Be an adult, do your research, weigh the pros and cons and make a decision that’s best for YOU.
I had major depression, absolute depths of despair.. Had 12 treatments of e c t… Wouldn’t recommend it myself though i accept that it is good for some people. I have terrible memory problems moreover i’ve become an angry person- extremely so.. people have commented on my shift in personality and i feel almost uncomfortable in my own skin. I’m paying for therapy to try and find my way back so to speak. The hospital I was in are notorious for over prescribing e c t; and indeed my Psychiatrist wanted me to carry on but I argued against after consulting a solicitor… Many patients’ did “carry on” it was a disturbing sight.. Make sure you have as much information as possible and should you decide to go ahead do so with caution and review regularly would be my advice.
I’ve been getting ECT maintenance therapy for 3 years. It has really saved me. My whole life would have turned out much better if I had known about it and gotten it earlier. Of course, like everyone else, I had seen the ECT scene in “Cuckoo’s Nest” so I though the procedure had to be some kind of torture. It’s NOTHING like what the movie shows. You don’t feel a thing at all. You fall asleep, wake up and remember nothing. After the treatments, I fell like someone opened a window in my mind and let in sunlight and fresh air. Don’t let the stupid hype fool you, ECT works.
i have been getting ect for the past 4years. ect saved my life no doubt about it. my doctor had tried me on every medicine out there. some helped alittle bit but quit working. all the meds he tried me on never helped for more than a few months. i had 2 suicide attempts one in 2005 and the other in 2008. in early 2009 i went to my doctor and told him i couldnt take this anymore. i told him if things didnt get better soon i was going to commit suicide and this time i would be succesfull. he then ask me if i would consider ect. i told him yes and then he sent me to a doctor who does ect. as far as i,m concernded ect is the greatest. it has truly saved my life. after a about a couple of weeks i could tell a difference in the way i felt. yes i still have depression and anxiety but no where near as bad as it was before i started ect. i,m currently on what they call maintenance ect. i get ect every 3 weeks now. after about 2 weeks i start to feel alittle down and then on the 3rd week when i get the treatment i feel so much better. i have noticed that not only does ect help with depression it also helps with anxiety. i thank god every day for me getting ect. my life has turned around completely thanks to ect. i,m now able to enjoy life and the people around me like my exmother and father inlaws, my kids, my mom and friends have all said that they can see a big difference in me since ive been getting ect.
I had ECT in Feb of 2012. I made it through 11 treatments (was supposed to do 12). I got sick during the last treatment..throwing up for 3 days. Dr says it was not from the ECT. I believe it was something unsanitary in the hospital. Anyway. I didn’t remember most of Feb. I was working from home and couldn’t remember things. My hands were swollen from the IV. They could never seem to find a vein. I do believe the ECT did wonders. Just coming out of it all was confusing, scary, I felt like things were repeating. I had no support and had to rely on a stranger to take me to the treatments. That was a bit embarassing. Anyway, during the treatment, I had a brother who was calling me up, drunk, saying that I put him in Hell (long story). I felt he impaired the benefit of the ECT and recovery. After my treatments, I immediately started going out with old friends, which I was never up for before. Unfortunately, one of those friends, turned out to be a totally different person and also made it harder for me to fight the depression that was trying to come back. Over last summer, my other brother had life-threatening cancer (he’s ok for now), and at the end of the year, my mom had (has) life-threatening cancer. I have always been the one who everyone leaned on, or took advantage of. I am now back in a deep depression, and would do the ECT again, but I am still alone, and am not going to rely on someone I hardly know to take me. Also, I would have to take a month off from work because of the short-term memory loss. I can’t seem to find any support for myself. So, anyway, I think ECT would have stuck had I not had so very many bad things happen, one after the other. Seems that is my luck. I try and try and somebody always wants to “F” with me, or something else awful happens. Meds don’t work. Found a lot of nutso therapists and psychiatrists. Tired…
I’m currently undergoing ECT treatments. I’ve been “lucky” in that I haven’t had any memory loss or other memory issues. I do have a history of PTSD and so I have night terrors brought on by the anesthesia. I’ve talked to my DR about this and she says there is nothing they can do to augment the night terrors as it’s common in ECT treatments when the patient has a history of PTSD. I also have very high anxiety that is being treated medicinally. It too has something to do with PTSD. The staff at the hospital where I get my treatments are very compassionate and caring. They make an uncomfortable situation as easy as possible. I suggest that you go to my blog and read about my treatments and how I was prior to treatment. I had a very medication resistant depression as part of Bipolar Disorder 1. I think having ECT treatments was the best option for me. Reading all of your horror stories has not helped my anxiety, but I will continue my treatments. I am positive about getting better. I’d also mention that I am an author and I write blogs every day. Even with my treatments, I’m able to keep up with my blog schedule. If anyone has questions for me, I’d be happy to answer.
I was getting treatment on extra like 10 years ago after my daughter pass sewage it help so much I am still depress I now am responding to medication where I did not respond to many medicaitions I forgot some things but it was very helpful to me
I am so glad I googled and found this forum. I underwent 12-15 ECT treatments in either 1999 or 2000. I was an intelligent professional before treatment. I now cannot remember the basics of my old career. My memory is awful, I cannot complete basic college courses(refresher, HA) because I can’t remember the information. I wish I had never, ever had that done. I am not the same person I was. Depression persists, meds don’t help, relationships fail and every day is a struggle to get through. Please, if you are considering this get more information. The hell I was in wasn’t helped, and a new hell is in it’s place. Suicide is still in the forefront of my mind and thank God I haven’t suceeded. But what can we do? Just keep plugging, hoping, living….thanks
I had major depression for many years and tried different medications that were just not helping when my psychiatrist talked to me about ECT in September 2012. She was honest with me about the procedure, risks, and side effects up front. I went to a great hospital and was treated for a round of ECT that lasted 3 months and was about 15 sessions. I did lose my memory from the time before, during, and shortly after the ECT; HOWEVER, by the time the treatment was over I felt so much better. It happened gradually and I had been depressed for so long that it felt so good to finally feel like myself again. I stayed on medication during the ECT but was taken off of some of it at the end. I continue with therapy and medication to help with my family stuff going on. I do have some short term memory problems that I have learned to deal with- I write myself notes, keep a calendar, use my phone for reminders, use post-its, etc. My house is not as clean as I would like but I divide up tasks so I don’t get overwhelmed. I do get distracted easily so I no longer try and multi-task. My concentration and focus is less than what it was so if I find myself getting frustrated I try to stop/break. Using these coping skills would never have been an option for me if I hadn’t done the ECT because I would’ve been in bed crying all day. I am extremely grateful that I had the procedure done and would do it again. the experience can be scary and the whole idea of your brain being “shocked” can freak you out but the benefits outweighed the side effects for me. It took some time to grieve the memories I lost-talking about it helped. It still makes me sad that I can’t remember my own birthday in August or my niece’s birthday in September.
I took have experienced major memory problems, Huge chunks of the past r gone and and learning new things r a challenge BUTT I was experiencing some severe depression problems at the time, so severe that I could no longer function, lost the ability to eat, sleep and do menial tasks such as dressing and taking care of my basic every day needs, (and I am not scripting this for anyone this is MY honest experience), I underwent 38 bilaterial treatments and though did not work miracles it did cause me to respond to medication that I previously had no reponse to, I think that my memory problems is due to the number of treatments given in a short amount of time, This is not due to ect but the doctor, I don’t remember much of it including the disoriention or confusion I had,I do no it helped and for this I am grateful,
This not a scripted advertisement for an article in a ECT magazine to encourage people to undergo the procedures, this is my true experience, I underwent 38 treatments over several month three years ago, I experienced some really severe long and short term memory problems, I have also find it difficult to learn new things which I am learning to do tasks to overcome some of things, It is a slow progress, now I want to share that at the time of treatments I was experiencing a really severe depression, I could not function, I was unable to sleep, eat, dress myself, wash my hair, think, and on time of that I was forgot how to fix coffee, turn on the TV and use a phone, ECT changed that. it was not a miracle cure but it did cause me to respond to meds that I did not before, It was a definite turnaround as I pulled out of my depression slowly. I would recommend to those who were like me. the benefits outweigh the risks if u were me.
ECT helped me
sorry for the repeat. just learning how to do this
Anyone who looks at this before having ECT is smart.I am a 42 year old woman who is questioning the decision I made to have ECT. It has only been my second week after finishing an intense treatment serie of 3 ECT treatments a week for a month. The only side effects that I was warned about were mental fogginess and body achiness the day of treatment. Possible short term memory loss. I didn’t realize I had a problem until a week after the ECT stopped. It started to cause problems at work when I couldn’t remember meetings or co-workers names. Then came not remembering passwords to check email,voice mail or use my debit card.Misplacing credit cards , having my mind race and not be able to find the right words to express myself.So instead swear words were coming out inapporpriately.The manic behaviour came too. Binge eating, shopping , drinking… Was this normal compared to being depressed and not wanting to do anything .That now I was just doing stuff and enjoying life for a change? I had all this energy .I wanted to turn up the music really loud and dance.What seemed bad about that right? Well, like with everything there are always the good with the bad and vs.versa. Gaining ten pounds in a very short period of time becuase of less control and binging,drinking and driving,raising your voice and swearing at your saint like grandmother, over spending, forgetting how to drive home … All of these costly. Jury is out on will my memory return? Will mania subside and be able to manage than the treatment resistant depression diagnosis recieved after having a child. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. NO has the answers. Decide with what you can live with.
Was treatment resistant for major depressions for decades, suicide attempt. I had such great hopes for Ect-and my Dr. Was so positive about the procedures…said ‘it DOES work!!’. Well, ect turned out to be an horrific experience..for “me”. Nothing has ever worked for me when it has for many others…so ect may be the answer for someone else…just turned out to be another nightmare. I not only suffered the cognitive issues longer and to a greater extreme(8 months now and still struggling), but I immediately suffered severe physical side effects that I had not been warned might happen. Maybe I am the only patient that has suffered those physical side effects, I don’t know. Anyway-the entire experience has been the biggest nightmare, the worst thing I have ever done. I was trying to get better and only wound up much much worse. I don’t see ever fully recovering. I was in that “dark” place where severely depressed patients can be and think it can’t get worse–well, it can get worse with ect. I am having suicidal thoughts and make plans daily. All my Dr. Has done has been to continue to experiment with more meds. I wish I had never done the ect. Like I said, was not prepared for any physical side effects, especially after 7/8 months. I’d rather be the former miserable me than the one I am now. Be very very careful. Do your homework. I pray it works for you….it simply was the worst thing for me.
Ect was an horrific experience for me. The worst thing I have ever done to myself. I was trying to get help for major sever depression after decade being treatment resistant. I am now worse than ever. Suicidal plans daily. Be very careful…do your homework. It can work for many it seems. My luck was awful. It’s my biggest regret and I do believe that I will certainly die by my own hand at some point since I have now tried everything to get well and now know it is hopeless. I had, still have, many physical side effects after 8 months…..wasn’t prepared for that either. The cognitive issues were, for me, extreme, and on going. I wish I had never done the ect, but it was the only stone unturned–for me. At least now I know I tried everything and it wasn’t meant to be for me…..it’s truly hopeless.
I just finished 4 ect. I was supposed to have 6 but didn’t like how I was feeling. I was beginning to forget things and feel confused I had 9 treatments in 2010 and it left me depressed and confused I was unable to drive for a month I don’t think the ect helped I still feel suicidal and I am confused too I would not recommend ect.
hi, lost last post i will try again feel its important. i had about 90 shocks in late 80′s for a major depression episode. i now see they were bilateral. i was in and out of hospitals and on every med you can think of. (later being diagnosed as type 2 bipolar). still taking meds but recent got off a few. anyway i just got finished watching the dvd’s i made of my adult child’s childhood. trying to recall those memories which are gone, but couldn’t, just really nice to see it, just sad. i am thankful for ETC and many years of med’s and therapy which are part of my life. i am just trying to remember. that is my job now that i retired (25yrs after my treatments) i have great family and friends that helped/and con’t to help me immensely. CANT remember most of it. my children (divorced) have a hard time realizing i can’t remember. in therapy now trying to remember whatever i can. again thankful for ECT and trying. thats all i have to say. you have to think off the pro’s and the con’s and help from others that love you.
I wish I could somehow help all of you get better. I wish I could relieve all of your pain. I can empathize with many of you. I’ve been through years/decades of chronic depression that hasn’t responded to anti-depressent medications. I went through a series of 14 ECT treatments a year and a half ago. It had some good and some bad effects. The memory loss has been troublesome. I hope that every one of you will do all you can to hold on. To learn all you can about any available treatments and if you try them to give them the time they need to work. I know it seems unbearable at times, but hold on. I know answers and solutions will come.
hi john. thanks for your thoughts. i may i pass them to you. remember…this too shall pass. i know you wishing and others say that, but from real been that experience…..it will get better. I’m going to tell you something..i have been thinking about my thinking to much for my loss, but it is what it is and I’ve since decided not to spend anymore time on it. it is really not is as important as NOW and LIVING in the NOW. i love life, family and friends and want to focus on that. life is to short to focus on things that wont change and focus on life. it sounds very campy huh. but i really started to feel this way. work and enjoy the good moments and not the bad. im feeling great and am thankful. am no on less meds (just found) and my head is really clearer then ever before. sound alittle maniacally but thats ok, I’m not anymore maniacally then yesterday and hopefully the same as tomorrow. remember life is great and you will get better. be thankful for everyone standing by you now and forever….saved this page as a bookmark to see how things go with you and others so keep writing it helps…good luck..
My girlfriend is getting ready to start ECT treatment, and I am worried about brain damage! Do I have a reason to worry?
My husband had about 15 ECT treatments early this year- since then he has neuropathy type symtoms,says it’s like being stuck with pins all over, he also has had terrible problems with his jaw and has been worked up for TMJ- but the MRI shows only arthritis in the jaw–I believe the ECT made it much,much worse. His depression was relieved but these others symtoms are to the point where he wishes he had never had it done. He has body aches,restless legs, insomnia, and irritability( which is totally out of caracter for him) He never suffered from mania but seems hyper at times now– he was so disgusted with the side effects that he has stopped taking his meds and refuses to go back to the psychiatrist.For 18 years he has suffered from major depression and has always done everything he could to stay well but I think he is tried of the medication side effects and feeling like a zombie on a good day. His mother was horribly affected with manic/depression – she was never complaint with her meds and abused her children both mentally and pysically– my husband has never wanted to be like her so he did everything the MD thought would benefit him- he is kind and gentle as a rule but the fight has worn him and myself out.
ECT destroyed me. I gained a 150 pounds. I can’t even reason or problem solve. I am lost. I will eventually commit suicide.
DON”T DON”T commit suicide. it has been 20 years since my ECT. I’ve come to grips with everything since i posted. memory……well ill make new ones.med’s work most of the time but go to dr. every 3-6 months or less, sometimes needing adjustments of meds.im bi-polar and will always be, but I’m alive and fighting everyday. life is good and death is permanent
try to hang on.
I’m 52yrs old and I have to work can’t lose my memory I have to be able to drive and care for my disabled brother. I have major depression and meds haven’t been working now for a very long time. I think about killing myself everyday and have a plan letters written to my family. I don’t like being depressed but I don’t think I would like living like a air head either I have ADHD as well and have a hard time focusing anyway I don’t need more problems in that area. My last doc wanted me to try the treatment and I told him if he would do it I would. He didn’t like that and kept bringing it up even after I said no. I found another doc who wants me to try TMS therapy which has no side effects from what I’ve read but my insurance will not cover it. Who ever is thinking about ECT do you really want to lose yourself who you are? The depression is bad it is but to lose everything your memoies I don’t want to lose mine not all of them are bad. To lose your freedom your job to be able to learn new things. This treatment is crazy and you would be crazy to do it. I’d rather be put in the hospital if that was the only way to keep me safe. Don’t play with your brain you only have one if its broken that’s it they don’t do brain transplants your stuck with it. Find another way this one is to risky.
Don’t do this treatment it’s not really worth living the life of a different person. Someone who isn’t you. I don’t want to change one problem for another one. See the doctors take the meds check your self into the hospital but don’t play with your brain because once you break it you are done. It can’t be fixed and do you really want to live on not remember things repeat things. Not be able to drive or work and depend on other people’s kindness. Everyone has to do what is best for them but this just isn’t it. Think long and hard.
My mom is 48 and has 7 treatments she was depressed for most of her life due to ptsd and other illness. She made the decision on he own and we supported her even though we didn’t agree with it because our researched showed us exactly what what you are all taking about. Every person reacts differently but out seems a though majority of you all have the same negative response. My mom is now a robot. She doesn’t talk barely eats never wants to go out the house and do things that she once enjoyed. Her memory sucks she talks slow and often tells us she doesn’t know what to feel our how to feel she said she just feels empty and still suicidal. Smh I don’t know what to do to help her live life again
Say no to medications and smoke pot. It will make your life so much better. Doctors get kickbacks from the drug companies to make you a lab rat. Shock therapy fries your brain pain and simple. Never trust the government.
I had ECT almost 3yrs ago. It destroyed me.
Prior to ECT, yes, I was depressed. But medication helped a bit, and I was still able to function at a high-level professional job, and I had a life.
After ECT – and I only had 5 treatments, I stopped it early as it was so horrifying – my world went black. Yes, I was told about, and worried about. memory problems, and I’m lucky my problems are mostly of the short-term variety. This I can live with. What I was not told about is the cognitive impairment – which has been proven to occur. It is unbelievable to me that doctors can legally talk a patient into a treatment that will permanently damage that patient’s cognitive functioning to a great degree, without ever telling them of the danger.
In addition to the cognitive impairment, and far, far worse to me, my depression became much, much worse. I can no longer work, I am on disability. 10yrs of higher level education and a professional graduate degree down the drain. I fight depression that is so crippling that each and every day is a journey through hell. It was never, never this bad prior to ECT.
My belief, as some others have put it as well, is that receiving ECT is like playing Russian Roulette. It probably depends on a lot of factors, but one thing I’ve never seen anyone mention is the actual placement of the electrodes. When I received my ECT treatments, a nurse would just come along and slap them on my temples. Think of the brain, which is still so very much not understood; think of the delicate connections between neurons. And then think how a randomly placed electrode can zap (and, as proven, damage) one neuron or another. It’s so very random. I hypothesize that this explains why some people do very well with ECT, but why so many do so very badly.
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It was much the same with lobotomies. Some patients actually DID benefit from lobotomy treatments. But most had their lives completely destroyed. Similarly to ECT, the brain damage done by a lobotomy was very random; an ice pick was inserted in the brain and literally swished around in an unscientific fashion, destroying random brain cells. And, similarly, the practice of lobotomies, which is now uniformly regarded as a barbaric treatment, was done without any sort of regulation or protection of patients’ rights. Did you know that the first doctor to perform lobotomies was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1949 for finding a ‘cure’ for mental illness? I direct you to a very interesting, eye-opening documentary about the practice of lobotomies in America:
It is my personal belief that one day a similar documentary about the practice of ECT will be made, and that people will look back at it with the same horror they now do when looking back at the practice of lobotomies.
Yes, I know ECT has helped people. But at the same time it has absolutely destroyed the lives of so very many people. And the ECT industry keeps hidden from the public all the negative outcomes ECT can cause.
ECT is in no way, shape, or form a scientifically documented safe and effective therapy. It is a game of Russian Roulette inflicting random damage to the brain that leads to differing outcomes, most of which are very negative.
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I cannot begin to express the regret, the sadness, and the anger I feel that I was talked into this life-destroying treatment. I went from being a depressed, yet functional, highly successful person, who was still capable of sometimes experiencing feelings of pleasure, and who was still interested in the world and people and things around me, to become an invalid on disability who spends most of her days in bed wondering what the point of living is.
My mother in law is 83 , mild depression, mainly attention seeking , but she has booked herself into a private clinic and she has elected to have ECT treatment at a cost of £20 k . Surely this is not morally or ethically correct
Don’t let the Doc lie to you…ETC does have long term consequences.ie memory loss long and short term and a signifigant drop in your IQ.
Yes,, when I had it done it helped with the depression but it doesn’t last.
As far as IQ all that I can say is that when I took pschology the class had to take an IQ test and I scored well above average. I took one recently and scored 102 and that’s only because I remembered one of the questions – you know; the word god is to the word dog as the number…..
Also, I excelled at math but when I tried to take an advanced algebra class, a subject that I scored 95 in high school despite the fact that I missed most days, I couldn’t keep up and had to drop out.
Do yourself a favor and ask the doc how many ECT’s they’ve had and try to improve without it!
I will only say that “Electroconvulsive therapy” sounds more like a nazi torture practice…
Hello, I have always been somewhat medicine resistant. I suffer from Major Depression, Bipolar and anxiety disorder. I would constantly need to change up my meds every 2-6 months but it was under control for the most part. I always was optimistic to ECT being a godsend and would be a much better alternative to all these meds. Well after years of it not being available in my area it finally was. I had 8 treatments at Millcreek Community Hospital in October of 2013. Needless to say, my life has fallen into a much darker place. I now have legal problems that people who know me say that just don’t sound like you at all! I am even more medication resistant then ever ( Nothing is working) all I can do is sleep. My knowledge and cognition feels lost, I feel absolutely no joy, and I’m fighting suicide like I never have in my life. ECT IS HORRIBLE!! IT WAS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!!!
Don’t go for ECT treatments. They erased my past, destroyed my cognitive ability and left me still depressed with no reason to go on. I had treatments for years based on my Doctor’s constant inforecement. He left me with no other options. A little piece of my brain was destroyed with every treatment. Now I have no past and no future. Please avoid ECT.
I have had it and it did not work for me and as a result I experience memory loss and confusion.I have found meds that work for my bipolar but they have just as bad side effects, and I will always have to be on these. So what’s the difference I feel like. It did not work for me and I hate the residual effects I have but I have witnessed twopeople who have had it and it’s literally worked a miracle. It’s all about you your history and your doctor’s best interest.
Thank you all for your input. My girlfriend and I have been going back and forth on wether to do the ECT treatments. She is an RN and battles with Bipolar and Major Depression. And reading the stories ” God Bless you all” we decided NO to ECT. Thank You and keep the faith
I had ECT six years ago, and in addition to the permanent memory problems I have I also have a LOT of anxiety around driving, which I never had before the ECT. Has anyone else had problems with driving after ECT?
Seven years after ECT, in addition to permanent memory problems, I now have terrible anxiety around driving-has anyone else had problems with driving after ECT?
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