General Question

JilltheTooth's avatar

Does anyone have any anecdotal experience with ECT?

Asked by JilltheTooth (19727points) January 28th, 2012

Have any of you experienced ECT, or have loved ones who have, within the last decade? It’s no longer the barbaric and scary practice it once was, and I just wondered if anyone has first hand, or close to first hand anecdotal stories to share. Does it work? Have you had your deep depression or that of someone close to you be alleviated by this treatment? Please don’t just link to articles, I’m interested in personal stories.
I’m not depressed, it’s not for me, I am just wondering.

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6 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was in my office a few weeks ago and a high school classmate stuck her head in the door and yelled my name. The neuroligsts office is one door to my left. She just came from an ECT session.She seemed wonderful. I didn’t pry as to why, but she seemed perfectly fine.
I can never spell N dr’s right.

gailcalled's avatar

I have a cousin-by-marriage, now in her mid-eighties. She is well-educated, attractive, happily married, mother of four terrific children and a retired geriatric counselor. She is energetic, funny and nice to hang around with.

Over the past two decades she has had two episodes of finding herself in a profound depression. Neither talk therapy nor meds helped either time, and she went into treatment as a willing and enlightened patient.

Both times, she ultimately tried ECT, which was very effective.

There was a standard course of treatment…x number of sessions spaced x days apart. You can find the parameters on Google, I am sure.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I ask because I don’t know anyone who has actually done it, but I know a few that I suspect would be helped by it. Unfortunately, there is still such a deep stigma that so many won’t even consider it. Good for your cousin, @gailcalled , I’m glad to hear about the ones it has seriously helped.

gailcalled's avatar

@JilltheTooth: She is and always has been a confident woman with strong support from all her family and all her friends. Of course, she had chosen both groups wisely.

SuperMouse's avatar

A couple of years ago I worked with a woman who lived with severe bipolar disorder. She was hospitalized a couple of times and was getting desperate. She finally had ECT and for her it was a life changer. Her illness was under control, she returned to work and school. For her it was a life saver.

gorillapaws's avatar

I watched some patient videos in an abnormal Psych class I took. ECT was used for a severely depressed woman and it helped treat her depression. It also nuked her short-term memory which made things very difficult for her to function day-to-day which is a pretty hardcore side effect.

I think ECT is more of a desperate measure that has major risks, but is still reasonable to prevent suicide in very high-risk extreme cases as a last resort. It’s basically like jerking out the power cord on your computer to reset it. If you do that to a computer too many times, there is a very good chance you’re going to fuck something up. Inducing seizures by overloading the electrical systems of the brain is similarly drastic.

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