I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2003 and after all the years of hundreds of meds, i no longer respond to any meds. i will be starting EST soon. Has anyone else experienced them and had a positive outcome?
First, let me welcome you, we are so glad you are here. I hope you will find lots of support and encouragement from others here who will share their experiences with you.
While I have not been involved with anyone who is currently using EST for depression, years ago I did belong to a group that had members using it. As you describe, they too had been through all the typical medications being used at the time, with little or no results. As I recall, some of these patients did find the EST to be therapeutic and tolerable, while others did not find it to be either. I remember some having numerous treatments, over time. It was never suggested for my purposes.
I would be very careful to consider many factors before agreeing to EST, starting with a very good relationship with your doctor who is involved with this method of treatment, his history, experience, and statements from previous patients. I would learn everything I could about the entire process, its pros and cons, risks, and alternatives. Only once you feel you know the subject inside and out, and have realistic expectations of the results, and have thoroughly eliminated all the other options...would I decide. As you likely know, there has been controversy about this form of treatment, so having a very clear mind about this would be my biggest concern.
How did you come about considering this form of treatment? Is this something you regular doctor has brought up with you, or something you are seeking out yourself? I am interested what you learn from this post, so i will be reading along to see what others comment on. I hope any of this helps.
My Dr. suggested EST because i have become suicidal since none of the meds are working. Unfortunately i don't have much info on his background or talked to any of his other patients who have had the procedure. Of course he couldn't give me their names anyway. He says there is a 60-70% success rate.
EST always sounded like a very scary thing to me, but I have heard success stories about it. There is an actress/writer/stand-up comic named Carrie Fisher who is very open about being bipolar and she is a strong advocate for EST (when it's really necessary). The last time I saw her on TV, she was saying it was the only thing on the planet that saved her from crippling depression, and she has had the treatment more than once. One comment I recall, is that she goes into the session(s) knowing that afterwards, she has a four-month memory gap -- remembering basically nothing of what happened for the four months preceding treatment. That sounds kinda scary too, but apparently, it's still worth it for her. Good luck on this difficult decision.
Thank you for your reply. My Dr. said i would have memory loss about what i had for supper the night before and that i would feel a lot better from these tretments than i do on meds, which aren't working anyway. I would take the memory loss as compared to the horrendous thoughts that are running through my mind right now. I am filled with anxiety, agitation, restlessness, and fearful thoughts. I don't remember ever feeling this awful. I constantly have suicidal thoughts and am afraid i will make an impulsive decision. i still don't know when the treatments will be scheduled, so its a waiting game and i'm really tired of the game.
I encourage you to take this therapy, if you feel it will help you, or has a chance to help you. Breaking the chain of suicidal thoughts will give you a chance to breathe, regroup and give you are fresh palette.
I am so proud of you for reaching out, and know we are here to support you along the way. Please pm me, or share your experience with us, as I feel this is a story that will surely impact other men and women who may be interested in this process. I am very interested in your story, as it will be something I can share with others down the road the are where you are. You could save lives!
My experience with EST was over 20 years ago, and I bet the process have been greatly improved, like all therapies. You sound like a very brave and open person, I admire your efforts.
Thank you for your encouragement and the comment that i am brave. I have been fighting BD for 19 years. Right now going through withdrawals from Effexor and Seroquel and i feel lie I'm losing my mind. I have trremors, severe anxiety, restlessness and nausea. I have moments where i don't think i;m going to survive this nightmare. I keep telling myself that i will overcome and that i am stronger than this. I could really some encouragement and uplifting advice, i'm really scared.
Hang in there! It is only natural and normal to be fearful when facing a decision like this, and doing so while you are having unpleasant withdrawal symptoms from your medications. Withdrawal from two meds at once could drive anyone up the wall with anxiety, and you sound from your writing like you really do have a good handle on what you're going through (and I also think you are brave! Bravo!) Remember to take plenty of nice, deep, relaxing breaths throughout the day, and know that it won't always be this bad -- you are bound to feel better than this in the future. It's a lot of "transition" to go through at once, but you will come out on the other side. The nightmarish feelings you describe from the anxiety, tremors, etc., will subside, you just have to hang in there! And you are doing just that. I wish I knew more about EST to share with you. I do know for a fact that EST that has indeed improved so dramatically since it was first invented, and throughout the years, that it cannot even be compared to treatments from decades ago. I hope you get some relief soon!!! Keep us posted & best of luck to you.
Thank you for your uplifting words and thoughts. I will start the treatments the first part of December but i have to go off the Lithium and i'm scared to death that will bring on more withdrawals. It seems like this is never ending and i wonder if i will ever achieve happiness or at least a sense of peace and contentment. My mind is so weary and I am really tired and don't know which way to turn anymore. I place my faith in God and tell myself that he will not leave me or forsake me. My mind understands that but my brain is so dysfunctional that i stay confused most of the time. Again i thank you for your encouragement.
Hello again! I wouldn't worry too much about Lithium withdrawal. It's one of those drugs that is usually much harder to adjust getting on, than it is getting off of it. Unlike Effexor & Seroquel, lithium is really just a simple salt at the core, so it's a simpler compound leaving the body -- shouldn't cause as much havoc, especially since your doctor (I assume) will have you titrate downward before stopping. I recently had to get off lithium all at once, cold turkey, after decades of use (due to kidney complications). I was kind of worried, stopping so abrubtly, and I did experience about 10-14 days of mild/moderate anxiety. It really wasn't that bad or scary. I did a little reasearch for myself and read that anxiety is usually part of "abrupt cessation of long-term lithium therapy". Of course, everyone is different, but I hope that eases your worries a bit. Congratulations on your decision to try the EST. December is right around the corner, and I hope it goes well for you. You have my sympathy with the weariness you feel from extended illness. The fatigue toll long-term illness takes on the psyche can practically put us in a time-warp and it can seem like you've been sick forever. Stay hopeful and the time will pass. Has your doctor discussed how much of a recuperation period there is after your EST? I'm guessing it may take awhile to find out the full benefit, but I wish you the best and hope you feel much better soon!
Thank you for the reassurance of Lithium withdrawal. They told me i would be taking treatments 3 times a week for a month. I'm hoping the first one will make a difference. You're right when you said it seems like our sickness has been going on forever. It's hard for me to remember when i ever felt well. I look back and want my old life back so much, it eats away at my soul everyday, I can't seem to get it out of my mind, its something that i dwell on everyday. I get so angry because of my health condition, I can't seem to accept it and just keep running as hard as i can away from it. When in reality I know I've got it and it's not going away. I still try to deny that there is anything with me and that i can lead a normal life like everyone else. I forget how serious this disorder is. I remind myself everyday to stand on my hope and faith and keep my family uppermost in my mind to survive the day. Each day has become such a struggle to stay alive, my brain leads me into places of darkness that at times seems impossible to get out of. My last chance are these treatments, i pray to God they work.
I'm sorry for your situation.
I can tell you my uncle has had the Electric Shock Therapy and it worked fine for him. He was suffering from severe depression after being in Afganistan and witnessing some friends die.
Besides that, his fiance announced that she was pregnant from another guy and will marry him for the baby's sake.
He was suicidal and meds did not help.
He also suffered from childhood abuse mentally and physically.
He was admitted to the hospital.
I was against him getting the shocks, but he came out a different person.
He was "alive" about life again.
He smiled and laughed more.
He lost his "flat affect" and seemed like the same old fun guy.
He said it helped "erase" some of his bad memories but in a good way.
He has no memories of certain traumatic events that he suffered from in his past.
He said there was no pain because he was sedated prior to the shocks.
I am not sure how exactly the brain selectively dismisses certain emotional triggers, but I suggest you research exactly how the shock therapy works at cell level in the brain.
I feel it would be extremely helpful as a "last resort" treatment.
Good luck to you and hopefully life will be fulfilling and enjoyable for you again.
Last edited by Administrator; 11-24-2012 at 08:13 PM.
Thank you so much for your positive feedback. I want so much to get rid of this flat affect and feel alive again. I would also like to get rid of a memory that is with me every minute of everyday. Just this past year I have been plagued with this memory and it will not go away. It eats away at me, makes me angry and confused. I've been waiting for my appt. for going on 4 weeks when it was only to take 2 weeks according to my dr. At times I feel like I can't hang on much longer and I pray and pray for patience. Life just isn't worth living without a little joy, peace and contentment. It becomes such a struggle to stay alive. May God help me.
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I have had 5 treatments with no positive results. I'm scheduled for more in January. After each treatment i forget the previous 2-3 days. My new Dr. prescribed Elavil and i'm waiting for that to get in my system. Right now I'm feeling pretty hopeless.
Hope all is going well for you. I have had ECT and it's a tough go. If it does not work for you after the first 12 treatments do not go back for more, I did and had to Quit after 6 because I forgot most of the last 6 years of my life. I have now been diagnosed with frontal lobe brain damage probably caused by multiple concussions and ECT.
If your depression is not cured by this you may have to look at your life and start and make some drastic changes, I was told to do that but I didn't and I still suffer every day. Good Luck!