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Re: ECT...I am scared to death » john51

Posted by Racer on June 28, 2008, at 9:31:16

In reply to ECT...I am scared to death, posted by john51 on June 28, 2008, at 6:12:06

Before I say anything about ECT, let me ask if you've tried rTMS? My doctor was pretty excited about it, said it was a good option, and he had been sending his patients to Canada to have it done for a longish time before it was approved. If you are concerned about ECT, and haven't tried rTMS, it might be worth trying it first.

As for ECT, I haven't had that done. A good friend of mine had 30 treatments a few years ago -- and is so pleased with the results that he's encouraged me to think about it. I like and trust my doctor, and if he recommended it, I'd consider it.

My friend said that he is aware of having a bit of cognitive impairment afterwards, but thinks that's at least partly because he was so self-conscious in looking for it -- you know how sometimes you can't quite remember something? That's normal, but he thinks when he does it, he is more likely to blame the ECT, rather than distraction, normal aging, the view of a gorgeous woman walking by, all the things that we normally blame for such events. He really hasn't had anything negative to say about his experience, and afterwards, he's been able to maintain remission on the medications which obviously hadn't worked before the ECT.

He also has a great attitude, which probably helps him -- he said something along the lines of "I may have lost a few points off my IQ, but that still leaves me ahead of most of the world..." I might envy his attitude as much as I envy his remission. (A lot of that is his life -- he's doing something that fits him so well, and is so satisfying for him. I truly believe that we most of us could find that sort of niche, it would augment our medications very effectively. I don't mean we'd "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps," because well-fitting life or not, he became depressed enough to have to go off work. I just mean that having something satisfying to do, something we feel competent and successful doing, would probably improve the effectiveness of any antidepressant out there. And I really hope that makes sense.)

Also, the other person I knew who had ECT had a very different story. She never struck me as depressed, so much as dissatisfied with her life. She had fired doctors for saying that maybe therapy would be helpful for her, and focused exclusively on finding the magic pill that would fix the way she felt. She was not satisfied with the results of the ECT, complained about the memory loss, complained it hadn't worked, etc. I really wasn't surprised that she did not have a good outcome.

I'm sure that there are many similarly negative stories out there, and there must be some people who have a terrible time with it. And there are those who have a good outcome. I hope that the negative stories don't frighten you too much and that the positive stories allow you to consider this option objectively. And I very much hope that my friend's stellar outcome cheers you.

I wish you the very best. Let us know what you decide.




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