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ECT

(17 Posts)
Aliiiii Wed 13-Jan-16 18:54:56

Looks like this is now my only option having exhausted every ADD without long term success
I'm scared stiff to be honest. Obviously I don't want to have severe depression the rest of my life that can't be controlled by meds but this final treatment is not with out its risks
Is there anyone on here that has had ECT and be willing to share their experiences? Either on the thread or by PM or anyone who is close to someone that has had it and seen the results
Thank you all

annandale Wed 13-Jan-16 19:00:15

My husband had it almost two years ago. I can honestly say he's been better since he had his four sessions than he has been since I have known him. It has changed our lives substantially for the better.

His doctor would have liked him to have six sessions, but he did find it difficult so stopped after four when he was feeling better. The difficulty for him was the run up to the session and knowing he was going to have a general anaesthetic - it was a bit of a tense buildup. He tended to feel sleepier and more woozy afterwards, and hasn't much memory of that time (a good thing as he was very depressed) but otherwise hasn't experienced memory loss.

It was logistically a bit tricky as he needed to get to hospital early in the morning and then to have someone with him for 24 hours after the anaesthetic. I don't think he was driving anyway at the time but he wouldn't have been able to due to the wooziness.

Haggisfish Wed 13-Jan-16 19:01:50

Mil had over twenty sessions. Eventually she recovered, almost overnight. She's been left with no long term effects. For a short while after she had occasional short term memory problems -couldn't remember buying clothes god example.

Haggisfish Wed 13-Jan-16 19:03:12

It is a lot less of a risk than it used to be and lots and lots of positive stories about it-I did a lot of research.

Aliiiii Wed 13-Jan-16 19:37:15

Thank you all so much for that so far
My doc thinks I may need 8-12 sessions
Does anyone know if these are weekly or twice weekly?

annandale Wed 13-Jan-16 19:38:09

When my husband had it it was daily, but ring and ask.

NanaNina Wed 13-Jan-16 20:20:48

Hi Aliii I'm pretty much in the same place. I've had depression for 6 years (on and off) and it can be severe - 2 IP stays of 3 months each. Last year was horrendous and in September I was on the brink of having ECT with the psych really encouraging me to have the treatment. She glossed over my worries about memory loss. However I did some research on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website and I found it worrying in parts. I knew about retrograde amnesia and wasn't too bothered about that but reading about the possibility of anterograde amnesia (short term memory) really worried me. It did stress that mostly these problems were temporary but could be permanent in a minority of patients. So I backed off.

I started on lithium (which we'd talked about) but the psych said it could take weeks or months to take effect. Anyway I started on 200mg and weekly blood tests, then increase to 400 mg, and dare I say I think it's making a difference. I also take sertraline 150mg an mirtazapine 45mg.

I paid to see a psychiatrist who was highly competent and very well qualified - she taught psychiatry at Uni and her list of experiences and publications covered 4 A4 pages. She was very nice and thought lithium might be a good drug for me. But she said the combination of drugs that had the best outcome was Venlafaxine and Mirtazapine, together with lithium. I really didn't want to take Venlafaxine as I'd tried it for a month last year and I got nausea and insomnia that wasn't helped by zopiclone.

But this psychiatrist was very positive about ECT and said she had seen around 50 patients having the treatment and she'd never known anyone lose their memory, only around the time they were having the treatment. She said that if it was her, she wouldn't hesitate.............so I am now in a quandary. My DH didn't want me to have ECT but after seeing the private psych he changed his mind - we were both very impressed with her.

I don't know if this is any help or just confused you more. I think if the lithium isn't making very much difference I will try ECT. It's very tempting isn't it when you hear accounts of people making such an improvement - I think it's about 70% - let us know how you go.

Severe depression is a torment isn't it.

Haggisfish Wed 13-Jan-16 20:39:59

Honestly, I did sooooo much research for my mil. I was satisfied it was the best option for her, and reassured about the safety. I totally understand your worries. If it could stop me snd my chronic health anxiety, I would certainly go ahead I think. It is hard. My mil was so ill, it wasn't optional-I hadn't realised they didn't need family consent when someone has been sectioned.

Aliiiii Wed 13-Jan-16 21:25:52

Thank you nana
That was very helpful
I've had so many different drugs it's amazing, including lithium which did not help
I have researched in depth
I wanted to hear real life experiences which would help me make a decision
I've had private treatment for over 2 years-through work even though I haven't been at work since Jan 2014, I have been very lucky to have that and I trust my expert 100%
He has suggested this as it really is the last option, I support his suggestion but obviously it is ultimately my decision

NanaNina Thu 14-Jan-16 14:42:10

Presumably if you do go ahead with ECT it will need to be done on the NHS as I imagine mega bucks privately. Do you anticipate any problems with the NHS taking you on as a patient in secondary care. I only ask because I know MH services are so thin on the ground.

Criminy Mon 18-Jan-16 10:02:54

I know this thread is a few days old now, but I felt I had to reply.

Last year I was IP at a psych unit, and a lady with severe depression was admitted for ECT. When she first came in she just lay, motionless, in bed all day. She was painfully thin as she didn't eat or drink - they just managed to get her to take a few sips of nutritional drink every day. She had just completely given up.

After her first session of ECT she actually drank all her drink and talked to us. After her second session, she came in the dining room and ate a small bit of dinner with us!

She then went from strength to strength, and improved even more with every session. It really was like magic. I honestly had no idea ECT could make such a difference.

Aliiiii Thu 21-Jan-16 08:21:29

nana I'm hoping to have it done privately, if not I will have to go through the NHS and as you say they're thin on the ground
My consultant is very supportive and has already said that he will support the treatment via the NHS but at the end of the day I'm assuming it's a GPs say so as to whether I will qualify
I'm still unsure as to whether to go ahead
On the one hand I can't cope with this severe depression any more but I have heard both good and bad outcomes so I need to be 100% sure
One thing I'm very worried about is if it changes my personality, if that makes sense? I've been ill for so long I'm not sure who the real me is anymore and have concerns that I won't like me after the treatment!

NanaNina Thu 21-Jan-16 13:23:30

I'll PM you

insan1tyscartching Thu 21-Jan-16 13:35:43

I had twelve sessions twenty years ago, it didn't work for me but the lady who had it at the same time had a miraculous recovery before my eyes. I did recover with lots of meds and above maximum recommended dose as apparently I have a super efficient liver. I've been meds and MH professionals free for 15 years now which wasn't expected tbh but psych was prepared to support my wishes.

ohdearlord Thu 04-Feb-16 01:54:35

I'm in the midst of having it and already feel the difference. I managed to put the dishwasher on today without feeling it was some Herculean task.

I'm also having Ketamine infusions which have had a drastic impact on the suicidal thoughts. I don't think that is that common though. Might be worth asking if ADDs haven't worked thus far though?

My depression is definitively not situational or even what I'd describe as emotional. Life, objectively, is better than it ever has been. Loving family, good job, secure finances/home etc. No major stresses.

I do have endometriosis and the pain is a contributing factor. As is the "chemical menopause" treatment. But that's been the case for years and isn't a sufficient explanation.

I had a hellish background/childhood - but also years of talking therapies with a psych I love dearly and who has more or less adopted me, which did wonders.

My depression is more an emptiness and absolute lack of emotion/meaning - more than deep sadness or anything. I don't know if that impacts what kind of treatment is effective or not.

As for adverse effects - I usually struggle to remember what happened directly before and after. It makes me pretty tired for the rest of the day, but not unmanageable. I get a headache too, but nothing that doesn't go over with some co-codamol.

Hope this helps - or that you're already well on the way to recovery! Depression is beastly.

NanaNina Thu 04-Feb-16 12:35:19

Oh this is really interesting. Can I ask how many sessions you've had and the struggling to remember what happened before or after, do you mean immediately before and after or a longer period or isn't it possible to say. My depression sounds very similar to yours and it's 6+ years and is really getting me down. I have been offered ECT but am too scared of memory loss.

Have never heard of ketamine infusions - isn't it a strong pain killer?

What meds are you on - sorry for so many questions - are you having it on an outpatient basis or IP.

ohdearlord Thu 04-Feb-16 16:09:29

Immediately before and after. I write myself email drafts and ask the staff to remind me to read them so I don't totally lose it with panic when I come round. No long term effects so far.

I've had three so far. Due for six and then a review.

Ketamine is an anaesthetic properly I think. It is used as a painkiller too. Definitely does the trick for me with really acutely suicidal moments. They give it slowly so I don't get any nasty side effects or hallucinations. It doesn't produce euphoria in the way that I think people say it does when it's used recreationally. It does break the desperation though.

I'm invariably an outpatient - I'm stubborn and my psych is patient :-) I was an inpatient for the majority of my adolescence and had some shocking experiences. So far it's been safer to stay out.

I'm on Mirtazapine and Agomelantine (melatonin-based) as antidepressants. At the moment also oxazepam and zopiclone for sleep. Usually just the mirtazapine though - and often not in the summer (where we are we get midnight sun).

I have a light-box too which helps with the Autumn and early Spring, at least with the tiredness. Ironically once the depression really kicks in though I switch rather rapidly to insomnia.

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