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Re: Toby and Others...curious about ect

Posted by Judy on July 3, 1999, at 11:11:42

In reply to Re: Toby and Others...curious about ect, posted by David K. on July 3, 1999, at 8:11:02

Correct me if I'm wrong, please, but I've been informed that the beneficial effects of ECT only last for 4 - 6 weeks. ECT has been recommended for me twice over the past 12 years by my psychiatrist when I was as low as I could posibly go and he wanted to buy me some time with the ECT so that I could start another AD and get it working before the ECT benefits wore off.

Both times I stamped my foot and absolutely refused because of the memory loss following ECT treatment. I do computer graphics for a living and use three very complicated software packages. On my best day, I have to stop and think about where, among the software's thousands of options, I last found a certain photo filter that I had used before. If the ECT tore holes in my memory for recently-learned (the past five years) skills, I would be out of the graphics business.

My question to anyone who has experienced ECT and the accompanying memory loss: Am I correct in assuming this treatment would be a disaster to my career, at least in the short term? Would I eventually fully recover the same knowledge of my graphics programs that I have now?

This is more a rhetorical question based on curiosity, because I don't think I'll ever have the courage to submit to ECT and risk my career should I ever find myself at the point where it would be recommended.

Thanks for any info you can provide.


> >... only enough electricity is applied to create a seizure in the
> brain, the body is paralyzed so that bones aren't
> broken and generally not even any muscle aches are
> produced, and general anesthesia is given so that
> the patient is asleep during the whole thing.
> Why is general anesthesia given? Is it to allay the patient's fears of the operation? Or is there some medical reason for it? I can understand why muscle relaxants are used, but why general anesthesia?
> >The memory loss that people get is usually just
> >around the ECT itself, and the cause is as much
> >due to the anesthesia as to the ECT.
> >Depending on how many treatments are needed,
> >usually 6-12 total, short term memory loss can
> >occur for a few weeks or a month, but does return
> >to baseline quickly (and when you think about how
> >your memory is shot during an episode of depression
> >anyway, it doesn't seem that much of a side effect).
> Exactly what are we talking about in regards to short-term memory?
> >Anyway, my point is that ECT probably should be
> >used more than it is, and more as a first line
> >treatment, and it is not something to be feared.
> When I was young, my then-wife was diagnosed with multiple personalities and given ECT. Quick, boys and girls, what is the indicated treament for mulitple personalities. It sure ain't ECT. I knew that then as a young dumb kid, and I know that know when my psychologist, who has treated a couple of multiples, said so. Needless to say, my opinions of the mental health field were less then trusting for years afterward. It has taken me all of that time to even come to the decision that I need help for my depression. I've been on several meds, all with varying degrees of effectiveness and side effects. I've also been to a psychologist (which I found somewhat helpful). Why? It isn't because I've become more trusting of mental health care; its because I'm so god awful tired of feeling like this. There are days when the fear and loathing I've had for ECT and psychiatrists is drawfed by the mental pain I feel from depression. This has led me to consider ECT.
> > Toby...a problem with ECT is unless you want to
> >have maintenance treatments (pretty expensive,
> >time-consuming (because of the general anaesthesia),
> >a general PITA), maintenance meds might be
> >required. However, your idea does have some
> >merit - I think this might be a more common
> >practice if people weren't so phobic about ECT
> >(due to bad publicity and past problems more than
> anything else).
> > I will note that ECT hasn't been shown to work
> >so well in most types of depression. For example,
> >atypical depression (which is pretty common
> >despite the name) seems to have a pretty low rate
> >of response to ECT. It's best suited for typical
> >melancholic depressions and psychotic depression.
> What is the difference between atypical and melancholic depression?




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