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Old 04-14-2005, 04:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2
LostAndWorried HB User

My mother is going to have ECT treatment, Im scared fo her, i have heard nothing but bad things about this, i have heard long and short term memory loss is common, will my mom know who i am after her "treatments" will she lose her memory of the times we've spent together? and will she be herself when i see her again?

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Old 04-14-2005, 06:20 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Minnesota, just moved from California where I lived my whole life.
Posts: 441
polarized13 HB User
Re: Ect

No one on this board has ever even mentioned ect before since I've been here. It's been a year since I was diagnosed, and I have only heard of medication as a treatment option. That sounds like a barbaric, old fashioned practice to me. Why do something like that when it can be treated with medication?

Maybe someone else in the group can help you, but I think you should try and research it as much as possible on your own. And get a second opinion from another doctor ito find out if it's really necessary. Good luck.

Old 04-14-2005, 07:28 PM   #3
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,144
analog2000 HB User
Re: Ect

My husband and I considered ECT during his last depressive episode. I did a lot of research, and it was scary to think about, but it was a very bad time and we were desperate. Ultimately he started to show improvement on medication and did not get the ECT.

If your mom has absolutely exhausted all of her other options, I wouldn't completely rule out ECT. It is very effective for some people, but (like every medical procedure) it does have the potential for some serious side effects. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Just make sure that she goes to an experienced facility.

I know this isn't the type of post you are looking for, and I am sorry I can't be more helpful. I just wanted to let you know that I understand how desperate you must be to have reached this point. ECT is a lot more common than most people think. And the way it is done has changed dramatically - this isn't "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Best of luck to you and your mom.

Old 04-14-2005, 08:53 PM   #4
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,335
Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: Ect

I had ECT back in 1974 - and it was a picnic compared to the bad rap it gets in movies.
I was severely depressed (no one had figured out I was bipolar yet, but boy my down times were already there) and I became catatonic. Unresponsive to everything and slowly refusing to even drink water.
ECT pulled me back from the blackest pit that ever existed in my life before or since.
I'm glad it was there when I needed it.

Old 04-15-2005, 07:05 AM   #5
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 11
FUNintheSUN HB User
Re: Ect

I have to second Ruth6:11. I realize ECT is rare and is used as a last resort, but when you're at that point it can literally save your life.

In my 20's (I'm 35 now) I had a manic episode that got way out of hand. I was fully psychotic, being treated with every med they could come up with, and getting worse by the day both mentally and physically (not eating or drinking, hallucinating, thoroughly deluded, etc.). I was responding to no treatment offered, and as I understand it, the longer one stays psychotic with the brain misfiring and establishing new, bad neuron pathways... the harder it is to come out of it and the more permanent the damage is.

The docs told my husband that if I continued the trend, I "may never come back" from the crazy dreamworld I was lost in. So they did a series of ECT treatments. It jarred up my brain and gave it a chance to return to normal function, re-establishing new neurological pathways. It wasn't easy (for my husband, especially) but we're glad we did it.

LostandWorried... yes, it does affect memory, at least it did for me, but not in a way that should cause you despair. I don't remember ANYTHING about getting the ECT treatments except the very last one. I remember coming to that time (they sedate you) and having the most awful headache. And yes, I lost 1 - 2 months of my life memory-wise because of it. I still remember much of the hospital experience, but the post ECT time at home is very fuzzy. Even today I can look at pictures of myself feeding a camel at the zoo and have no recollection of being there. It's wierd, but a small price to pay.

The ECT didn't have any effect on my recollection of people or give me an amnesia type experience beyond simply having lost those few weeks. On the other hand, I do seem to have a little worse memory than before, both long and short term - just more "senior moments". I also feel that I'm not quite as sharp as before, and work a little harder now at focusing and problem solving. But the doctor suspects this is due to the neurological pathways that were broken beyond repair by the mania, and possibly not the effect of the actual ECT treatment. But I'm "still myself" and I'm just grateful for what I still have! If your mom is psychotic, I wouldn't delay in accepting help.

Old 04-15-2005, 07:12 AM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2
LostAndWorried HB User
Re: Ect

thank you all

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