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ECT Therapy

Discussion in 'Therapy' started by kris, Aug 27, 2010.

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  1. kris

    kris Active Member

    Does anyone have any advice on ECT therapy-good or bad? As well as nerve stimulator therapy? I was introduced to the idea of either one of those treatments today, and frankly from what I have read they both scare the crap out of me.
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  3. catjudo

    catjudo I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    You will hear a lot of really negative things about ECT. I can say that while I believe it should be a last resort therapy, it does have its benefits when used appropriately. I actually have much more to say on the issue, but here is a link to a prior discussion about ECT. [DLMURL][/DLMURL]

    If I recall your circumstances, and forgive me if I'm wrong, your family/friends don't know that you're in treatment and you don't want them to know at this time. It would be virtually impossible to receive ECT in these circumstances.

    There is a newer treatment called rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) that has had very promising results. It doesn't require anesthesia, doesn't have the side effects associated with ECT and the patient is able to take themselves to/from treatment, is still allowed to drive during treatment, etc. I actually looked into this treatment earlier this year when I was in a very bad place but found that right now most insurance companies are not pre-authorizing it. In order to receive treatment I would have had to pay for the entire course of treatment, up front, out of pocket ($10,000+) and then wait to have it billed to insurance, appeal their denial, hope to get it approved eventually and get reimbursed. That just wasn't a financial option for me. Rumor has it that the end of 2010 or beginning of 2011 Medicare may begin including it in it's covered services. If this happens, other insurance companies will follow.
    kris likes this.
  4. kris

    kris Active Member

    Thanks for the info catjudo, the part about my family not knowing and me doing that treatment... I was thinking they would have to know, you can't just go under anesthetic and let to go home by yourself, let alone after you have had volts of electricity zapped through your brain. It kind of makes me mad my therapist even mentioned this, he knows my circumstances and the fact I am not going to tell my family, so why bring that up.
  5. externalsmile

    externalsmile Active Member

    It is really a last resort for Depression and some other mental health issues. I have seen it work, I have seen it not work. My personal view is that no person get more than 2 or 3 sessions of it. Just enough to get the person out of the deep end. I'm not a fan of it because I have seen what it does when it is inappropriately used. Saying that.....I have seen it make wonderful improvements. But really only after all other options are not enough.
  6. kris

    kris Active Member

    Has anyone went through or have any information on electroconvulsive therapy? My therapist is really pushing me to undergo ect therapy since I have tried atleast 9 different medications, and although some of them work to an extent, nothing seems to help enough.

    I know it isn't as inhumane as the movies show it-I have actually done some research on it, and they give you a muscle relaxer so your muscles don't spaz out like they would in the event of a normal seizure, and that your given an anesthetic so you are not aware of anything going on. But the thought of actually inducing a seizure to my brain freaks the hell out of me. Besides the fact that I am afraid to undergo ect therapy because of the fact that is scares me, is the point is I don't trust the psychiatrist one bit as well. I don't trust him to even prescribe medication correctly or anything of that nature, so the fact that he is the one who would oversee me getting my brain zapped with an electrical current also scares me even more than the original thought of doing ect therapy!
  7. AdamAnt

    AdamAnt Well-Known Member

    Hey Kris, that sounds like something I'd want a second and maybe third opinion on!
  8. catjudo

    catjudo I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    There are some threads on this forum that discuss fact, one started by you about four months ago. I suggest you review the info and responses already in those threads.



    After reading those threads, I'd be more than happy to do my best to attempt to answer any additional questions you may have.
  9. kris

    kris Active Member

    I now I had posted about this before, and didn't get much of a response so was trying again. The topic also is getting brought up more and more it seems in my therapy sessions so I wanted to see how it has went for people if they have had it done.
  10. catjudo

    catjudo I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    I've merged your two threads together for continuity.
  11. jesse

    jesse One Opinion in Opinion City
    Premium Member

    I seriously considered having ECT once because anti-depressants make me feel worse and I was really close to dying. What changed my mind was all of the information about the variable effects it has on your Memory. Some people never regain important memories like your education/career so I didn't do it. If it didn't have that potentially serious side effect I would do it today.
  12. Xibalba

    Xibalba Active Member

    I was considering ECT and my therapist had a shiny new chair from the future in his office. He was a first adopter of the TMS technology, and said I was a candidate for it. Yes, entry fee is $10,000 and it's not covered by insurance. I was desperate, but fortunately I did some reading on it.

    Unfortunately, TMS has *not* had promising results, as Catjudo said. The FDA specifically did NOT approve the device for treatment of depression because it said the limited trials "did not prove the efficacy" of the machine for MPD. Later (and suspiciously), however, the FDA rammed approval of the device through a fast track process of approval on the basis that the machine was similar to other devices, so it therefore didn't need "premarket approval" after all. (As someone who helps companies get their products through FDA and CE Marking approval, I can tell you that this is totally mystifying, and shocking.) Plus, the initial trials that were done were not particularly conclusive, and there has been NO long term study to know if (a) an initial set of sessions is sufficient, or if lifelong maintenance is required (at tens of thousands of dollars more!), and (b) the long term effects to the brain from the technology itself. Furthmore, there were difficulties in the trials because developing a "Placebo" machine proved problematic (users knew it was a fake, jeopardizing the study.) Finally, I noticed that my doctor, and a company rep from the machine's manufacturer, quoted a outrageously high number of "clinical trial" patients -- something like 10,000, when the number of actual people run through the trial was about 160. I told my doctor that his "10,000" number was way off, and he just scrunched his head.He was just parroting what the manufacturer reps told him. When you have reps saying "10,000 patients" and the real number is only 160, you have to question the manufacturer's integrity.

    And remember, the FDA, while approving the device, specifically said the manufacturer failed to show sufficient evidence that the device provides any relief for depression or related diagnoses.

    TMS has a long way to go to prove itself as effective as ECT, and the suspicious way it sped through FDA should raise eyebrows. There is a movement to have it de-listed from FDA and to have the process restarted from scratch, properly this time. That same movement is pressuring Medicare NOT to accept it for reimbursement, until efficacy is proven through proper trials.
  13. tigrou465

    tigrou465 Active Member

    Hello to all
    I am presently awaiting for ETC treatment. I should have some news in the current week - approximately when I will have the treatement. I have read a lot about it, went to a conference and took my decision after. Even if I'm scared, I look forward in having this theray - meds don't work and I'm tired of feeling so bad. I am very positive about the treatment. It was explained to me and I know the good and bad side about it. I know it's not a miracle treatment but I only wish it give me a break from feeling down most of the time. I will keep you posted about my situation.
  14. catjudo

    catjudo I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Thanks for all of the info, Xibalba. I don't have any first hand experience with rTMS so was just basing that on information that I had heard. All of my experiences and opinions of ECT are the same, as previously stated.

    There is also a situation due to the changes in FDA requirements that puts ECT at risk of becoming unavailable. Rules within the FDA were changed about 35 years ago but at the time, since ECT had already been in use for so long they waived the requirement for that device. They've more recently been looking at whether that should continue to be allowed. If ECT machines remain in their current classification, FDA may require clinical trials that exceed the scope of what is affordable to the two companies who are the main manufacturers of the device in the US (in which case, no clinical trials would mean no more ECT). The other option is the FDA could reclassify ECT machines to a lower-risk category, but as you can imagine there are many people who adamantly oppose such an option.

    My point is, technically, ECT has also never received the kind of clinical trials that one would expect or deem sufficient for such a device.
  15. Xibalba

    Xibalba Active Member

    Thus part of the controversy with ECT, except that it has a far longer history of at least anecdotal, if not statistical, data to rely on. Still, whether or not ECT is effective remains a point of contention, too. That's why it's a choice of last resort for many.
  16. Xibalba

    Xibalba Active Member

    Please keep us updated.

    I am interested in it because one of the side effects is memory loss, and if there's one thing I wouldn't mind losing, it's my memory.
  17. tigrou465

    tigrou465 Active Member

    I will for sure, if I don't forget ;). Once again, for me as you say it's in last resort that I will try this treatment. Normally I should receive 9 treatments - 3 per week but I will be evaluated every week. I trust the medical team aroud me for the treatment and hope my guardian angels will be with me.
  18. Heather

    Heather wonder woman I NEED YOU!!!!
    Premium Member

    Hi tig!
    I've known people that have had ECT done and the treatment has benefited them. They did experience short term memory loss but that is normal. I wish you the very best and hope your experience is a positive one.

    I also hope you get the relief you are seeking and deserve!

    Good luck, take care, much love and HUGS. Heather
  19. Xibalba

    Xibalba Active Member

    Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I will have many options for ECT in Peru, where I will be living. I was thinking of slipping the tech a few extra US dollars to add a few more volts, to ensure memory loss. I guess it doesn't work like that. (Kidding!)
  20. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    The FDA has a lot to answer for in general, just look at depression medication. :whistling:
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