Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Posted , 8 users are following.

Hi there.

I am considering a course of ECT treatments and would like to hear from anyone who has experience with this. I am 71 and have struggled with depression for the past 50 years, and drugs don't seem to be helpful any more. I have heard ECT can be very effective for older patients. Comments?

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm sorry I don't know what that is but it's nice to find someone on this forum who is my age I will soon be 60 and the older I get the worse my depression pills are you the same way

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  • Posted

    I think the consensus is that ECT causes brain damage, that's how it works and simply forgetting your pain is not going to fix someone. It didn't fix me. Before ECT, I had some delusions. After ECT, I was bipolar with serious memory problems. I am 70 and had my ECT when I was 16. I wish I had never had them. I don't think psychiatrists know what they are doing, I think ECT and drugs are them flailing when they can't figure out WHY people get depressed or malfunction mentally. I too have struggled with depression for as long as you and I know it is very hard to endure. Try other therapies. Try to find out WHY you are depressed rather than treat it as some sort of physical problem because I don't believe it is.

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    • Posted

      Yes, I would completely agree with  you on the ECT.  It has been documented to contribute and/or cause brain damage. Following ECT sessions people complain of loss of memory, a sense of confusion, it makes people docile  and a lack of motivations. It's hard to understand why it is still being used as a therapy given none or little proof of being effective.   My son has been taking it for a few years now and I don't see any improvment at all....I'm now trying to get him completely off of ECT....I just hope no permanent damage has been done.   

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    • Posted

      yes, please find something else for him. Anything. What damage has been done is done. He can still enjoy his life. There are other factors as to why people stuggle with life. It's not exactly a utopian world of peace and kindness now is it?

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  • Posted

    I read that experiments with ketamine for depression were promising.
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  • Posted

    Hi Edith, I was very ill at one point in my life and was hospitalized. While there they thought ECT would be a good idea. I was so out of it that I didn't really realize what they were doing. My husband gave consent...They told him the way it works is our brains are like a TV set.... remember back in the old days when they would lose the picture and lines would roll continuously across the screen...well when you bang the side of the set the picture would somehow come back. That is essentially what ECT does for our minds. I started coming back after the 5th treatment. At that time I did not feel comfortable continuing treatments. So they discontinued them. I was sent home a few days later. I felt better, not perfect, but at least I was participating in life. I did experience some memory loss however. To this day I don't recognise a lot people from my past. I hope this helps. Best wishes as you seek treatment.

    Lyn

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    • Posted

      Just think of this:  ECT is inducing a grand mal seizure !   Seizures are to be avoided and people with epilepsy take meds to  "prevent" seizures, since they are a bad thing.  In ECT  they are inducing the seizure !! How crazy is that ???

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  • Posted

    Hello Elizabeth,

    Honestly, I think this is a bad idea. ECT can harm you and - taking into account your age - you may not be able to recover in full. You mentioned that drugs are not helpful anymore - which drugs do you take? I would imagine that you're on SSRIs or tricyclics. Both of these groups are somehow less effective in elderly patients (science still struggles to explain why this is the case). In my opinion your situation would justify using the old-fashion irreversible monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOi), for example phenelzine. Despite the fact that these medications have been around for over fifty years, they are still the most potent and effective antidepressants ever discovered (superior to SSRIs or tricyclics). They are rarely prescribed these days as they require patients to follow a very strict diet - no cheese, wine, beer and other tyramine-rich foods, and have undesirable interactions with a range of other medicines. However, if you're considering ECT, I would try MAOi first - it seems to be a safer option. I think you should discuss this further with your psychiatrist (not a GP - they would not consider this).

    Anyway, I hope you get better!

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  • Posted

    Don't do it. ECT is just brain damage as many people here have stated. It destroyed my memory, my intellect, and my life.

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  • Posted

    I would strongly advise against it Elizabeth.  I am in my sixties and I had ECT treatments when I was in my twenties because I was suicidal and in a terrible state.  I guess you could say it worked because I am still here but the price I had to pay was very high.  My memory suffered terribly and still does.  I don't remember really important events such as giving birth to my two beautiful daughters.  I go on wonderful holidays and immediately forget everything about it, I have to rely on photos etc. to remind me.

    But I think the methods used these days must be far better than they were 30 or 40 years ago, so I am perhaps not the best person to advise you.  I hope you find happiness, whatever route you choose.

    Pat xxx

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    • Posted

      I think your testimony is sufficient enough to convince. You went thru it and telling your true experience as it happened. This is better than some impersonal study, of which there are few or none !  
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