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568456 tn?1222036062

PEOPLE DIAGNOSED BIPOLAR

HAS ANYONE  HAD ECT BEFORE FOR TREATING BI-POLAR, IF SO, WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?

WHAT TYPE OF COUNSELING HAVE THEY SOUGHT, IF ANY?  HAVE CURRENT MEDS SEEMED TO HELP?
11 Responses
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Avatar universal
Hi, I haven't had ECT but a friend of mine did.  The decision was made because her manic mental state had got to a point where she was at serious risk to herself and she was refusing to take medication.  Following the ECT she was put on a high dose of lithium so I cannot say whether it was the lithium or the ECT that was the cause of her outward demeanour and appearance.  All I can say is that when I saw her I was shocked, she had gained a huge amount of weight (from the lithium), but she "wasn't there" if you can understand what I mean, it was very sad to see my once beautiful, intelligent, happy friend become a shuffling, blank, almost mute version of herself.

HOWEVER, over time she did get much better, she maintained her medication and therapy programme and didn't have to have ECT again.  15 years down the line she is off lithium and now on tegratol, she works part-time as a foreign language teacher, has her own flat and the old bubbly person I remember has re-surfaced.

I don't think the docs take on the use of ECT lightly.

I am sure others have different experiences of ECT and I hope they also post on here.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
yes i have had ECT and it helped the crushing depression go away. I am fine, have some memory probs but am alive. as for meds, you pickem I've been on them. I am now stable on some new as well as old meds.
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Avatar universal
i am in talk therapy as well as seeing a psych for meds
Helpful - 0
222267 tn?1253302210
I never understood ECT.
They give you seizures and kill off parts of the brain and results very widely and mostly temporarily.
But when treating mood disorders with medications they treat you with ANTI-seizure medications.
Helpful - 0
585414 tn?1288941302
I believe that medications for bipolar that are anti-seizure agents work by lowering activity in the limbic (mood) area of the brain that is over activated in bipolar. I don't believe they understand fully how ECT works but for some people it does work including one person I know who it saved from a suicidal depresion. However, for some people it can have long term effects including long term memory loss (short term memory loss is a given). That's why trans cranial magnetic stimulation is now being used as an FDA approved option that has a safer long term side effect profile. Before my current recovery with the experimental medication, TCMS was in clinical study for treatment refractory schizophrenia and I almost considered it. Now that it is FDA approved it is a worthwhile option for some people and now that is in study for my physical disability which is extremely hard to treat once it makes it through the studies if it proves effective it is something I'll consider:
http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Transcranial_Magnetic_Stimulation_(rTMS).htm
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Avatar universal
   I had several ECT's in the mid 90's. Now I have tons of anxiety due to the fact that I cant remember even day to day occurrence's. I still take anti-  depressants and wish all the time I had NEVER had the ECT's done.
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Avatar universal
I had ECT when the meds quit working. It was not painful, just a bit undignified lying there waiting to get it done. I had some memory loss.. But I always get some amnesia during depressions, so how much was ECT I can't tell you. It's expensive. In certain circumstances it's very valuable.
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Avatar universal
The other thing is I never got like Bernie40's friend. I have a photo of me in the evening after I'd had ECT in the morning. In the picture I'm dressed up and fixing to go to a banquet for some business organization. Yeah, I don't remember who, but it's been six years and I'm not really into entrepreneurship.
Helpful - 0
2196504 tn?1351392195
I was not diagnosed at that point with bi-polar, rapid cycling. I had been admitted to hospital with what my previous pdoc had misdiagnosed as severe post natal depression. As I was taking anti depressants which they have found make me more unwell, this obviously made matters a lot worse.
I eventually tried  16 ect treatments before my husband told my pdoc that as I wasn't get any benefit from the treatmI wouldn't be having anymore.
I see I'm not the only one who's memory has been badly affected by having ect, I have lost so many memories.
But it can be very helpful in bi-polar disorder, especially severe depressive episodes. I know someone who also has bi-polar and before her  treatment started she just stood in the corridor looking out the window, completely unable to function. After she had started ect treatment she was back to herself, chatting to people and eventually going home to her family.
Helpful - 0
2196504 tn?1351392195
Sorry, it caught and posted. Really need to get my laptop out rather than using this stupid phone!  
I have seen both sides I guess, how much it can help and also the going through it and dealing with what can be a debilitating side effect.
My family didn't want me to agree to ect treatment but as I told them at the time, if there was a possibility it could help then I wanted to give ect a chance. I
It may sound strange but given the time again my decision would still be the same. I have paid a hefty price with memory loss problems but I stand by my decision to try it.
I think ECT treatment will always be a a controversial subject but it has it's place in the treatment of Bi-polar disorder,
Get all the facts and then make an informed decision on whether it is a treatment option that you want to investigate.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I have had ECT. I had the initial treatments of 3 x a week back in July 2011 and have had maintenance treatments every 3 to 4 weeks since then. I have minimal to no memory loss and ECT treats my depression very well. I had a series several years ago too. I have probably had about 50 treatments over 5 years. Still no memory problems. I can even remember the time just prior to being put under, a time period many people can't remember. I had maintenance once for 18 months, followed by 9 months of stability, much more than I had before ECT. Certainly ECT is not a cure but it is a good treatment. All treatments have the possibility of side effects and I feel the memory loss chances are much smaller than some of the possible drug side effects like diabetes, heart trouble, coma, and death (two of my meds). I am taking medication while having ECT. My lamictal was reduced so that it wouldn't interfere with ECT.

I know someone mentioned TMS. I would be willing to try it but it's still not covered by insurance.
Helpful - 0
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