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Florida_Dave

ECT - Last resort?

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My wife has been in her deep clinical depression for almost a year.  Meds haven't helped much and she's lost enough weight that she may have to go back to the hospital. So its been a long awful year.  I'm arranging for ECT therapy, hoping to start next week.  This is almost our last hope.  

I'm hoping to get some feedback.  Is ECT helpful?   Are there many complaints?   

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I have had 30 ECT treatments since January.  I trust the doctors who are doing it.  They follow very strict protocols.  I've had some memory loss around the time of the treatments.  I've had marginal improvement.  For some people it is a life saver. 

 

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In very sorry your wife is suffering and hasn't yet found a treatment that significantly improves symptoms. I haven't undergone ECT. Maybe it's worth trying and I'd be interested to know if it helps. Ketamine worked for my MDD though it's experimental and availability and cost are major hurdles. 

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One of the most common side effects of ECT is "memory loss", "memory lagoons", think really carefully, should you resign the well functioning of your memory to try a procedure to maybe not helps you ? I wouldnt. The other day i talked with someone who did ECT and have memory issues, and now have to take more pills for it. And frankly, ECT its just a way to fry your brain and it doesnt have any relation with depression, its like try hypnotherapy, a thing that people thought could help, but abondoned, and then other people try to resurface, its just juju, and a money maker.

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I used to know someone that found a lot of success having ECT.  But I don't know much about it, and so will side with mmd.  Please do some very careful and thorough research.

Edit:  I do want to ask though, is this REALLY a last resort?  I am in no way downplaying your trials for the past year.  But 1 year and you are already thinking of a last resort?  I know nothing more than what you wrote here.  But my gut reaction is:  get a new therapist, and try different meds.

Edited by Stan Islavski

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That you to everyone that is replying.  She had her first ECT, verifiable because her demeanor was that of someone that has been hit pretty hard.   I got to learn of it last night on visitation.  She's been in the unit for 8 days and I've yet to get a return call from a doctor, so I get to learn it from my wife.  Her anxiety level is 9-10 out of 10... suffering mightily every moment.  " I can't  do this anymore"...and it appears that VA doctors are good with leaving her like that for the weekend.  I'm so angry from not being able to talk to her doctors that it is ruining my commutes to see her, ruining my weekend.  They hurt her throat during the procedure and I want to know if they can prevent that next time.  

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The ECT... she's lost weight and it about at the limit as she is suffering physical problems from malnutrition and its getting worse.  I don't know what else to do to reverse the trend.  It's been horrible for months and nothing is working.  It took much hell to arrive at  the destination to be more open for ECT.  

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It's an hour and a half commute from my house to the hospital.  That gives me lots of time to worry about my wife, ECT and stew about doctors that don't call me back.  I'd called and left a note every morning for a doctor to call.  No call.  I'm really wanting one so my phone is always by my side, spam filter is off, I'm picking up every call in anticipation.  It ain't happening.  This is our third psych unit and I've laundry list of setbacks in my wife's health due to poor communication, especially the non-callbacks.  

Last night upon arrival to the unit, her nurse came out to tell me that my wife said she was too sick to see me.  I asked her about ECT.  Here is what she said:  That you don't see results until the fourth treatment, and no real improvement until the 7th or eighth.  Tonight's visit was sad.  My wife is in a wheelchair now, for the first time.  But she was cleaned up a bit and I thanked her nurse for that.  My wife did well at first but she got frustrated toward the end of the visit.  She can't work the wheelchair on her own.  

There is another ECT scheduled for tomorrow.  I left a note that I wanted a call first thing in the AM to tell me what's going on.  It was a little more than a note and it will get their attention.  In the note I asked if there was a way to do the treatment without hurting her throat.   I hate having to do that but that's what it took to get some cooperation at the last two psych units.  

I am absorbed by these problems and it is affecting my health too.  Just a couple of calls from even some nurses that could help me understand what was going on would save me much sleep.  

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On 7/3/2019 at 8:13 AM, Tim 52 said:

I have had 30 ECT treatments since January.  I trust the doctors who are doing it.  They follow very strict protocols.  I've had some memory loss around the time of the treatments.  I've had marginal improvement.  For some people it is a life saver. 

 
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Thanks Tim, it at least gives me some hope to read that for some people it's a lifesaver, and that even for you there is marginal improvement.  

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On 7/4/2019 at 7:27 AM, Rattler6 said:

From what @Tim 52 states the procedure sounds very safe.  If nothing is helping then it is probably the next logical step. 

I really don't know what else to do.  She can't keep going downhill, we need a change of direction and soon.  

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Her psychiatrist called this morning and sounded competent and confident.  My wife had her second treatment today and for tonight's visit she was in better spirits.  I brought her some clothing in and amazingly she liked it.  Being out of the hospital gown was a first for this stay.  We shared some very rare laughter.  She was walking on her own again without the wheelchair.  She says that she doesn't like the treatment.  

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Hey my heart goes out to you and your wife.  My mom was hospitalized with severe depression and had several treatments.  They seemed to help her, but she did have some memory loss.  After she went into an inpatient program at the University of Washington Hospital where she got hooked up with a great psychiatrist who got to the root of her problem and got her on the proper medication and she bounced back to her normal self.  

It sounds like your wife is doing much better based on your last post.  That sounds like a good sign.   I understand your wanting to be involved as much as you can during this process to support your wife.  I hope that the doctors step up and communicate better as to her progress and address any of your concerns on an ongoing basis.

Sending you and your wife my very best.  

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On 7/16/2019 at 2:39 AM, highanxiety said:

After she went into an inpatient program at the University of Washington Hospital where she got hooked up with a great psychiatrist who got to the root of her problem and got her on the proper medication and she bounced back to her normal self.  

 

Thank you for that real world feedback there highanxiety.  

One has to be curious, what was the root of her problem?  Do you think that the treatments were a stepping stone to her recovery?  

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My wife had her third treatment Friday and she is in better spirits.  Her appetite has picked up, she has some smiles now, she is little by little showing more care for her appearance and grooming.  Today was the first time that she called during this stay and that too is a good sign.  In the visitation, we are playing cards and that is something that she could be no means do a week ago.  

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5 minutes ago, Florida_Dave said:

My wife had her third treatment Friday and she is in better spirits.  Her appetite has picked up, she has some smiles now, she is little by little showing more care for her appearance and grooming.  Today was the first time that she called during this stay and that too is a good sign.  In the visitation, we are playing cards and that is something that she could be no means do a week ago.  

That sounds great.  Hope things keep going well.

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She does seem to be getting better with the treatments.  Last week, she was suffering level 10.  Now she is not.  She has better appetite, and that's a big deal.  She said that she read a book today.  That would be the first time she read a book in a year.  She used to be an avid reader and her losing that pastime due to the illness made it so much worse.  There is another treatment in the morning.  The side effect she was complaining about today was the goo that they put in her hair.  She's already lost 80% of her hair and the goo sticks to her hair making her lose more hair.

Edited by Florida_Dave
clean up

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4 hours ago, SouthernSolitary said:

I had ect. I think it helped but didn’t completely fix the problem 

Thank you for that input.  Did you get the full regimen of treatments?  Any side effects?  

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Thanks for keeping us appraised of your wife's experience with ECT. While I cant know if she's responding to the treatment I am sure that setbacks are a part of any treatment because it's a process. In time it ought to become clearer if her initial improvement was in response to ECT treatment or if it was a placebo response or even just a good day. 

How are you holding up are you taking care if yourself?

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22 hours ago, Florida_Dave said:

Thank you for that input.  Did you get the full regimen of treatments?  Any side effects?  

I got 5 treatments out of 10 due to insurance. I had some short term memory loss, like the hours before the treatment. I also had severe headaches on the side I got the ect done. 

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On 7/23/2019 at 4:49 AM, Atra said:

Thanks for keeping us appraised of your wife's experience with ECT. While I cant know if she's responding to the treatment I am sure that setbacks are a part of any treatment because it's a process. In time it ought to become clearer if her initial improvement was in response to ECT treatment or if it was a placebo response or even just a good day. 

How are you holding up are you taking care if yourself?

I've some healthy hobbies and some not so healthy habits that help me cope.  What bothers me the most is that while life goes on around me everywhere, I'm kinda stuck in a limbo.  I'm missing all the beautiful Florida evenings because visitation is in the evening.  3 hour round trip and two hour visit.  That's a big part of every day.  

This forum helps.

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On 7/23/2019 at 7:42 PM, SouthernSolitary said:

I got 5 treatments out of 10 due to insurance. I had some short term memory loss, like the hours before the treatment. I also had severe headaches on the side I got the ect done. 

I don't understand getting ECT done on just one side.  Those headaches sound scary.  How long did they last?

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There were some setbacks that delayed the treatments, but she had her fourth yesterday.  She complains that it is degrading.  I asked why and her reply was that she doesn't know what she does during the time she is out.  I think I get that. She also says her muscles ache everywhere.  When I go this evening I'll ask her if her muscles are still aching.   

I think she is improving.  For me, the best thing is that she isn't suffering anxiety near as much as she was.  

Edited by Florida_Dave
add status

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