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ECT?

(11 Posts)
exWifebeginsat40 Mon 04-Jul-16 19:14:29

so, i have diagnoses of major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder, general anxiety and suicidal ideation.

i've been on anti-depressants on and off since i was 18. i'm 43 now. i had a total breakdown 4 years ago and ended up in hospital for a month, and i haven't worked since. i had a terrible childhood, growing up with violent alcoholics. i'm an alcoholic myself - i quit drinking in April 2014.

i thought quitting booze would make things better than it has. i am on a huge amount of medication (i also take Tramadol for chronic pain) and things just don't get easier. i go to a support group for my BPD - where i live there is no other help available for me. i was discharged from secondary services over a year ago, and although the psychiatrist sees me periodically to review my meds, the CMHT won't take me back on.

i have recently swapped from one medication to another. i was then put back on the other one as well! my sleep is terrible. i have no routine at all, and can't cook or eat healthily as i also have had a long-term eating disorder that i've never discussed with anyone.

my local hospital has an ECT clinic attached to the psych ward. i've had a look at the NICE guidleines, and it says ECT can be used in cases of intractable depression.

given that there is no chance of therapy any time soon, that my issues are based around neglect and abuse in my childhood, and that i just keep taking more and more medication i am thinking that ECT might offer me some relief.

does anyone have experience (as a patient or professional) of ECT, or can offer suggestions of how to talk to a psychiatriest about this?

thank you.

AnxietySertraline Wed 06-Jul-16 08:14:57

ECT can help depression but has sideeffects such as memory loss up to 3-6 months after ECT.

dangermouseisace Wed 06-Jul-16 10:04:57

I haven't had ect but have been in hospital a few times so have known people who had it. exwife my history is kind of similar to yours…but I was fortunate enough to have talking therapy re my childhood many years ago. I'd suggest it's worth holding out for. The trouble is getting through all your issues is going to take a long time. It might be worth actually discussing the eating disorder with someone as poor nutrition will have an effect on your mood. My mum was alcoholic…like you, giving up alcohol didn't make her magically better, it just meant that she could start working on the issues that had caused her to drink in the first place. This took years tbh, like you she was only offered group support.

The people I saw in hospital who had ECT were literally unable to function at all due to depression- literally lay in bed all day doing nothing, not even watching tv, and those that I eventually spoke to were on medication as well. It's not a cure- 2 of those I spoke to were on their 2nd course of treatment…and one was on treatment number 10 by the time I left. They mentioned short term memory loss. I think it's one of those things that is used as a treatment of last resort. Are you on a waiting list for talking therapy or something similar?

exWifebeginsat40 Wed 06-Jul-16 10:13:50

thanks for the responses. no, the psychiatrist didn't say anything at all about therapy - just meds upon meds upon meds. services are down to the wire here and the Trust is in special measures.

I am fat and unhappy and I don't sleep. I self harm, I'm in bed at 7pm as I can't stand sitting with myself. I'm just so stuck.

exWifebeginsat40 Wed 06-Jul-16 10:19:24

I take Venlafaxine, quetiapine, mirtazapine, pregablin and tramadol regularly.

I was put on pregablin for nerve pain after severing a finger and having it reattached and it improved my mood so I stayed on it. I swapped it for the mirtazapine about 3 months ago as I was at crisis point. my chronic joint pain got worse and worse and the GP put me back on the pregablin for pain.

I'm so fat it's revolting. I hate myself but I binge eat - I seem to have lost the 'purge' trigger and I'm not strict enough to starve.

dangermouseisace Wed 06-Jul-16 18:59:35

hmm crap with no therapy. Is it services that organise the support group? I think services are down to the wire everywhere…my trust seems quite good compared to where I lived before, however, my next door neighbour has PTSD and has told she will wait years for appropriate therapy…she said that as she has no life and can't work she's prepared to wait however long it takes…It is awful though. Therapy for MH problems is a lot cheaper in the long run than cancer treatment/surgery/bigpharma drugs and the benefit to society of getting us all back to work/volunteering etc would far outweigh the cost. It is shite and unfortunately it doesn't attract the same sort of outrage at lack of provision as physical problems do.

Starving won't do you any good exwife so it's good that you don't. You're on a few medications that have weight gain as a side effect plus you have chronic joint pain so it would be actually pretty hard to not put on weight. Feeling bad about yourself triggers binge eating. It is worthwhile saying about this to MH people/GP as because that impacts on your physical health (can't imagine it helps joint pain) they might actually do something about that…

exWifebeginsat40 Wed 06-Jul-16 21:09:58

MIND run the support group. it's really helpful but it isn't proper help, if you see what i mean.

ah well. i'll just keep on trucking. thank you for your replies - means a lot.

dangermouseisace Thu 07-Jul-16 00:21:15

thank goodness for MIND actually doing something then. There is always talk about personal budgets, which are now commonplace in social care, becoming more common in health…with the idea that eventually there will be personalised budgets for mental health provision…which would mean that theoretically, people who are eligible for services may be able, in the future to choose how to spend their budget. E.g. purchase gym membership/counselling/practical support etc depending on their needs. This would be a far preferable situation to the current one where there are no 'services' and people don't have enough money to privately fund therapy etc much of the time, or are eligible for services that they are not actually happy with. Fingers crossed that your psychiatrist has either an epiphany or something changes for you soon exwife hang on in there flowers

Foxyspook Thu 07-Jul-16 23:21:22

I have bipolar and have about 35 years' experience of mental health services. I have a similar background to you and have also suffered from eating disorders.

In my twenties I had several extremely long courses of ECT. I don't think it was any more miraculous than any other treatment and left me with a lot of detrimental effects - some of which are still with me and which I can only describe as brain damage!

First course was 10 treatments - did snap me out of depression but I went back into it again later on in the year. So a year later I had a vast course of twenty treatments. Didn't really do much and left me impaired. Year after I had another 8 - did nothing at all.

I think if you are really catatonic from depression it can snap you back into life but I don't think I would recommend.

I know it is obvious and I know it is not easy, but you sound so miserable about your weight issues and I know what an overwhelming thing this can be. I read and read books to try to help myself and I just kept myself as busy as I could and walking dogs etc helped. Sometimes an overhaul of your lifestyle can help so much. I really know this isn't easy but it can mean more than all the drugs and treatments. I appreciate you have done vast amounts giving up the alcohol but it sounds a bit like the eating disorders might be even more fundamental.

Anyway, I am sorry you are suffering. I know the answer is rarely simple but in my case mental health services have never been the whole answer whether in the case of counselling or treatment.

Foxyspook Thu 21-Jul-16 23:58:28

exWifebeginsat40, are you ok? Hope you are feeling better...

nattygk Sun 24-Jul-16 21:54:30

Oh you haven't had it easy dear have you tried interpersonal psychotherapy I'm currently getting that due to similar problems that you describe with yourself i really hope you find something that works for you best wishes Natalie

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