If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like
Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.
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I think that with today's insight, medical knowledge and expertise and wide variety of drugs available before giving ECT, it isn't a bad thing for treatment resistant depression, so long as the patient has consented (sectioned or not I strongly believe that this should be their own choice) but if there is a chance that ECT might help somebody whose life is a miserym has exhausted other options and are willing to give it a shot then why not.
It's very difficult to talk about this outside of one's own experience. Personally I found ECT traumatic and it did nothing for me except erasing some chunks of memory. Later when I read up on the treatment on the net I encountered lots of horror stories - but this will be a biased selection as people are more inclined to relate bad than good experiences. In my depression support group only 1 of about 5 people who had had ECT said it benefited them. Nonetheless there is no doubt that for some people it has 'worked' in a way which other therapies have not.
The problem of consent is a difficult one. When I 'agreed' to ECT I was in hospital and very ill; I would in fact have agreed to anything that was suggested by the psychiatrists, and was in no position to give an informed decision. I am not saying there can ever be an easy way around this dilemma, just pointing out how tricky the idea of 'informed consent' can be.
I guess it all comes down to our usual response - that everyone of us is an individual and needs individual treatment. I know of people who have had very adverse reactions to various drugs. I had a very adverse reaction to crude CBT. But I think ECT is a bit unique in that the recognised side-effect of memory loss is generally irreversible? Mine was not too severe and centred on the couple of years before the ECT and was far from total. Some people have suffered much more severely. Of course IF it worked I guess many people would trade off some memory loss for curing depression.
Sorry to be rambling . I try to be fair about the topic about which I in fact feel personally pretty angry still.
I've never had ECT but at one point is was a back burner subject but both my self and my consultant resisted the temptation. I have some pretty big memory gaps and don't want anymore. I've never heard anyone with a positive thing to say about ECT. Yes and informed consent is not as straight forward as it can seem. I have an Advance Care Directive that I wrote with my GP and my consultant and they get pretty much carte blanche if I get seriously sick but they know me seriously well and know what I would and wouldn't agree to, a stranger in a hospital wouldn't. Besides what I say when I'm well and the way I feel when I'm ill give me two different perspectives on life. This isn't a simple choice.
Thanks for the replies on this. ECT is something I have never liked the idea. My mother had it in the 70s and it has left gaping wholes in her memory. The one good thing is she is not aware of it herself. It appears that it has truncated time for her.
My own depression has so far failed to respond to a variety of drugs, and the last time I spoke with my psychiatrist he was considering changing the meds again. I have just started CBT which has two chances of helping. ECT is something I see as a last resort, and one I am not in the least bit keen on. Having read the leaflet that Mind have on there site was enough for me. ECT works in the same way as my lithium does, they have no idea. I now its probably a bit OTT but to me ECT is legalised brain damage.
I had ECT when i was 19, i signed the form because i felt it would change my personality and in effect kill me, though i didn't tell the drs that
It may have helped with the depression but there are now large memory gaps, at that is been addicted to drugs any better, they'd call it a dependency oin meddication
By the end of the sessions my arms were covered in needle marks, i looked like a heroin addict the dr the last time had trouble finding anywhere to stick the needle, in the end he stuck it in the back of my hand