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    Old 07-26-2007, 08:22 AM   #1
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    Has anyone else had ECT?

    In 2005, I had about 25 ECT (electric convulsive therapy) treatments. I was going to share my experience and see if anyone else experienced similar effects, etc.

    I was in the hospital for aprox. 2 weeks and meds. weren't working for mixed bipolar states and rapid cycling. I was also very suicidal. My doctor suggested ECT and I guess I must have agreed to it, because I had many. I don't remember much about my stays in the hospital because of the ECT's. It really effects your memory. Especially short term memory.

    I remember going to the ECT room early in the morning(about 7am), and the nurse starting an I.V. and hooking me up to blood pressure monitor's, etc. Everything you would expect during a surgery. Next, the Antistesiologist comes and so did my Pdoc. Your head is facing toward the doctor and away from the wall. Like you are in bed backwards. The nurse starts sticking round sticky disks on my forehead. The doctor talks to you for about 30 seconds and the antisesiologist administers a muscle relaxer, an anti-nausea medication and the antistesia. The next thing I know, I'm out cold. I wake up about 20 minutes later(I looked at the clock every time) with the WORST headache anyone could ever imagine. The only thing they give me for the headache is Ibuprofin. And I couldn't even get that until I was back at the unit. The nurse offers me a muffin or some cold cereal. Obviously eating is the last thing on my mind with this horrible headache. I am also very confused and quite unsteady on my feet for a while. The nurse takes me to my room in a wheelchair and I sleep almost the entire day. ECT's are generally administered 3x a week inpatient. Everytime I went to the hospital (4 more times), I received a series of ECT's. I also received 2 a month outpatient. You can't drive for 3 weeks after receiving a series of ECT's and you can't drive for a week after receiving just 1 ECT. Needless to say, I couldn't work for a long time and my mom had to come and take care of me. You have to be supervised for awhile after as well. It was scary. The fear didn't go away or get much better after every treatment. I do have to say that it did work. The meds alone wouldn't help and the ECT took me out of a horrific depression and manic state. My last ECT was November, 2005 and I have been pretty stable since.

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    Old 07-26-2007, 12:19 PM   #2
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    Re: Has anyone else had ECT?

    You have more guts than me, I refused the ECT. I didn't want anyone shocking me, I relied on myself and medication to get me through and it has so far. They can be very dangreous, so I am happy it worked for you. I have heard horror stories about people becomming more mentally ill after the treatment. If you have been stable since, I don't see a reason to get anymore. I would work with your own mind & docs in trying to get better. I wish you the best and am happy you came out of it in a positive way. Be careful, Fly

    Old 07-26-2007, 01:40 PM   #3
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    Re: Has anyone else had ECT?

    I had seven sessions of RCT, I was suppose to get more but there was problems with waking up from the antistesia and it was not working anyway. I have very little memory around the time I recieved the treatments. The headache was not to bad, my neck was sore as were the majority of other muscles in my body. By the middle of the morning I had no signs of the treatment I had earlier in the day. I think the worst part for me is that I had put so much hope into the treatments that when they did not work it made the depression even worse. I have had no long lasting side effects beside not remembering things very clearly around the time of the treatments. If your stuck in a real bad place ECT might be your ticket out.

    take care
    Major Depressive Disorder With Psychotic Features
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    Old 07-26-2007, 06:04 PM   #4
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    Re: Has anyone else had ECT?

    I also had seven ECTs. The first two were terrible. I had terrible headaches, a stiff neck, vomiting, and felt miserable the rest of the day. I also had my ECTs at three in the afternoon. I had to fast for so long that I was starving when they finally took me up to receive the treatments (which contributed to the nausea). On several occassions, the nurse spent a solid 5 minutes trying to thread the needle into my veins; essentially stabbing me over and over again in the same spot before she finally got it right.
    During the second ECT, the anesthesia actually wore off before the muscle relaxant did. I felt like I trapped inside my own body. I was struggling to breathe and was essentially momentarily paralyzed. It was, needless to say, a less than enjoyable experience.
    After the first two ECTs, the nurses and doctors had to convince me that the next treatment would be better. They finally decided to move me up the list, so I wouldn't have to wait so long. The medical staff also switched some of the meds they used to put me asleep. The next 5 ECTs went much smoother with little to no side effects.
    I felt significantly better after the 5th ECT. I made the decision to have the ECTs done, because I was at a very low point in my life. I couldn't bring myself out of the dark hole of depression and psychosis. It did alot to improve my mood, but seemed to wear off after about a month. I am not at the point I was before I was hospitalized, but most days of the week are a struggle. It's hard to say now if having the ECTs done was worth it.

    Old 07-27-2007, 01:54 PM   #5
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    Re: Has anyone else had ECT?

    I believe whatever helps helps, but I'm not a fan of ECT, I did a lot of research on it and it can be very damaging to your mind and body. Make sure you're going to good doctors when and if you get it done. Be Well, Fly

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