ECT would you allow?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TheOnlyMe, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. TheOnlyMe

    TheOnlyMe Relentless Warrior Mom

    My son spent two weeks, in a psychiatric hospital for a medication wash, came home with the tremors and the psychosomatic symptoms are gone, but he is not stable, they only have him on three medications, Lunesta 6mg, Topamax 125 mg, Respiradal 2mg. He is flying Like a kite high in the March Winds!

    The psychiatrist and I discussed ECT as well as CBT and DBT, waiting on insurance. I have researched the ECT effects but on the memory side effects he has had 1% PR since he was 7, and Learning Disability (LD) in written expression and Math all along.

    I know ECT has had a lot of bad PR from the past but our psychiatrist is one of the most renowned in the area for it and I do trust him. We have tried every medication in the book, which I am making a spreadsheet for him so we don't start just throwing medications at him. My main concern is his age (18), he had an EEG done in December should no seizures, and MRI which should no anatomical abnormalities except one which affects his balance. During the medication wash he had a seizure on the 1st they did a CTscan and found nothing.

    So please give me the GOOD, Bad and the UGLY of your opinions!:crazy2:
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Personally, I would not- it scares me. But, if he's 18yo, I think I might put a lot of weight on what he wants.
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    The only people that I know that have had ECT were diagnosed with unipolar depression and it worked for them. Several years ago when I was in a horrible major depression and none of the medications were working, I was begging for ECT and couldn't get it because of the insurance.

    There is some associated memory loss, but my understanding is that is only from the time right around the treatment.

    That's all I know. I don't know anything about it in regard to bipolar disorder.
  4. TheOnlyMe

    TheOnlyMe Relentless Warrior Mom

    Well he is 18 but mentally, he is about 15. He has Bipolar I ultraridan cycles like every five minutes and adhd, on top of the Learning Disability (LD)'s, very impulsive three attempted suicides in 60 days last year. we had 1 year stable since he was 5. He got his SSI in July in only 32 days before he turned 18 and I have a Durable and Medical POA on him and the psychiatrist and therapist keep telling me to file for guardianship but I dont want too!
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I don't know much about it for bipolar. I also have only heard of it used for depression. I take that back. There is a lady up the road who is bipolar. She has been in and out of hospitals for many years. She had shock therapy during several hospital stays and it never seemed to stabilize her, from what her husband has told me.

    I would be cautious. But if you have tried everything else?

    I will say with the seizure in the hospital - MANY of the medications used for treatment of bipolar are seizure medications. Withdrawing them can CAUSE seizures in people who otherwise do not have them. I have been on lyrica for fibromyalgia for a number of years. LAst Sept I went for about a week throwing up with a migraine. I suddenly didn't have the lyrica in my system and had a MAJOR seizure - I don't remember about a day and a half. They are complete blanks.

    So if any medications he was on before the medication wash are used for seizure treatment also, taking him off of them could be the reason for the seizure.

    I am sending support for whatever you decide. This seems like a tough decision.
  6. YoyoMama

    YoyoMama New Member

    My only experience with ECT is with my maternal aunt who had her first bout with any mental health issue beginning Sept of 2007. Her uni-polar depression was extreme and life threatening in that she would not eat and began refusing water. AFter months of having great difficulty getting treatment for her finally she was admitted to Hopkins where they gave her a series of ECT. By May of 2008 she was home and doing very well. Today I see absolutely no sign of her terrible, terrible experience of depression. She does experience memory loss but only for that period when she was depressed and actually psychotic. Her memory before and after hospitalization are excellent.

    Judging solely from her experience I would definitely be willing to undergo the treatment for myself. But again it was uni-polar. I would also allow my son to undergo ECT if it were recommended by a Dr. I trusted - without a doubt I would allow it.
  7. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    In 2 memoirs I have read I remember ECT being used and it saving the persons life. I personally do not know any one who has had it. But in the memoirs it was used after many medication trials and hospitalizations, as a last resort.
    The one woman I remember was a rapid cycler I believe in a mixed state at many times, BiPolar (BP)-I.
    He name is, Myra Hornbacher. Her life was a horrible nightmare and she is now doing well. Her book is wonderful, "Madness-A Bipolar life"

    Sorry I do not have Any more info. From what I have read, it is much safer now and used when patients are unable to come out of a depressive state most times. When patients are un-responsive to medications.

    From what I have read, after ECT many people are able to go back a much normal routine and begin medications again and therapy.

    Good luck with your decsicion and keep us posted.
  8. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    My husband ( diagnosed bipolar) had ECT two years ago. He had a series of 9 treatments. They lasted about 3 weeks. We had tried every medication and combo of medication known to modern psychiatry. He was still suicidal and not improving.

    The treatments were ineffective and based on our experience, barbaric.

    I am not an advocate of such treatments. It literally erased his memory bank for a period of almost 3 months. That part of his life is just gone to him.

    I know there are empirical studies that support the efficacy of ECT. But, there are just as many that show it to be not only ineffective, but inhumane.
  9. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    ECT is portrayed terribly by the film industry but for many it is life saving. It's use has improved with the progress of medicine. The state of imbecilic affect that is portrayed is similar to the state following a grand mal seizure.
    Most peoples experience with ECT is from films and television which are portrayed in a terrifying way. Most of us who have experience with seizure disorders know that seizures are terrifying.

    I know that it doesn't always work. It's not for everyone or every type of mood disorder but it does work for some and it is reputable medicine. It's not torture.

    If it were my child,I would use the most reputable and experienced physician(which sounds like you have), do research then make a choice for your son's future. What you are doing isn't working. What alternatives do you have?
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would if it was a last resort and things were desperate. But I do know people who have had it who have short term memory loss more than just for the period of time of the ECT. Some say they have the problem years later. Still, if it's life or death, you do what you can. Chemotherapy causes memory loss too. His age allows him to make the decision, I believe (could be wrong). even if he is immature.
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I have kind of a mixed opinion on this issue. Personally...I am against it because I believe it is a form of intentional brain damage.

    However, my mother in law had it several times for severe depression...and credits the procedure with saving her life. To this day, there are large gaps in her memory--but in her opinion--those gaps are for the best.

    So, I guess I would be most concerned with what my son wants. Is he capable of making such a decision?
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My aunt had this therapy. She did not recommend it. (putting it mildly) My grandmother had it against her will. (she was nearly rabid against it) But that is a long story and I'll add she had no mental illness.

    In all honesty, it scares the willies out of me that this is once again being considered for therapy. I've researched it. The then and now. Don't really see much difference. I don't like it because what we honestly know about the human brain would probably fit into a brief case. While what we don't know about it is enormous. As far as I'm concerned, we don't yet know enough about the human brain in relation to mental illness to consider shocking it as therapy. Heck, we know so very little about the human brain in relation to mental illness as it is.

    I could really get onto a soap box about this one. But I try not to. I do attempt to have an open mind about it.

    And then I think of those shock collars that are supposed to be so wonderful to train animals. Maybe they are. The shock is supposed to be so minor that it can't hurt them. Yet I've known owners who have used them, only to have a once normal dog suddenly become epileptic, and a couple of the dogs died. The collars were never used more than once or twice by any of the owners.

    They have a hard time convincing me that electricity and the brain are a good combination. I know that at this point in time my answer woudl be a flat out no. But do some research and really get into it before considering this route and whether or not you think it is worth the risks.

  13. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    The memory issue - I have very little memory of my severe depressive episodes - without ECT. I have found that to be quite common among people with this disorder. My son almost has no memory at all from the age of 10-12 when he was severely depressed.
  14. TheOnlyMe

    TheOnlyMe Relentless Warrior Mom

    Thanks for all the hones input!

    We are at a crossroads, but we are considering CBT and DBT but Managed Health Care plan will take 25-45 days to get him Enrolled even thought he got his medicaid through SSI! So we are at a stand still the hardest part right now he is in a High manic state and has a history of being very impulsive!

    I am continuing to research while I advocate and keep a hundred other irons in the fire and YES I am attempting to keep my BIO clock on schedule!

    Much love to all and thanks for all the support and much need prayers!
  15. TheOnlyMe

    TheOnlyMe Relentless Warrior Mom

    Well we are going for it (ECT):praying:. We watched the video, have talked to people in DBSA support group who have or are currently in treatment, and second Dr.

    We watched the video Friday, they did an EKG, blood work Friday, and scheduled for a physical Tuesday and may start Wednesday.

    I am just believing by Faith, that The Lord will use it for a reverse of the curse and some people on the video said the families even seen results after the first TX, when the patient wasn't aware of the change yet.

    Will keep posting as we go.
  16. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I will be thinking and praying for difficult child and you family.
    I do hope this gives him the peace and quite we all deserve in our minds.
    I struggle at times with my BiPolar (BP) and I struggle at times with my medication management.
    But I usually can trudge through it. I have seen the terror and the blackness. God I never want to go there again, I understand. I am sure it is nothing like what he suffers through.
    Big hugs to him and you.
  17. TheOnlyMe

    TheOnlyMe Relentless Warrior Mom

    Thanks for your prays and thoughts, I am believing God to do a miracle like WOW, we (the Dr world) can't explain it!
  18. Steely

    Steely Active Member are incredibly brave. My prayers are with you. Please keep us posted on how this goes.

    I assume the doctors already explored the new magnetic therapy that is out there, that can be used in lieu of ECT? I am not sure if it is for BiPolar (BP), maybe just depression

  19. TheOnlyMe

    TheOnlyMe Relentless Warrior Mom

    I don't know if it is BRAVE or just alot of Faith, but THE psychiatrist we have is the best! For real, he told my son in the hospital after a very down to Earth conversation about of lot of stuff; we never knew was under the surface, I would tell you I love you man but that would be unethical.

    He is one who truly cares, is known for being the best with this ECT and the Chief of Staff of the hospital, we have had him since 10/06 and before last hopsitalizatoin, he had not been hostialized since we began with him. His father was a psychiatrist and

    He tells me at my appointment Mon for a medication check that when he seen me on his list it made is day! We have an awesome relationship with him and all the staff at his office, they never charge us for letters, and I private pay and he gives me a 50% rate, plus signs all the Patient Assistance Programs I can find! I know get my Vyanse for free for a year!

    My daddy always told me not to fear man cuz they just like you and put their britches on one leg at a time just like you do, boy has that gotten me in to some tight hitches! LOL!
  20. TOM,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you as you move forward with this treatment. I have both professional and personal experience with ECT. I have worked in two hospitals that offered this treatment, and I observed its effects on many folks. I assisted with treatments as a patient tech back in the 70's. The treatments were a little more drastic then as medications have changed now, and the treatment caused a seizure at that time. I saw at least 20 folks treated -all of them successfully. The most successful was a little lady in her 60's (she seemed so old to me at the time LOL) who was the most maniac person I have ever witnessed. After a series of treatments she went home a different person - no kidding. I had never seen such an incredible transformation in my life!

    More recently I worked with a local teaching hospital that has reinitiated ECT treatments. Due to advances in medication, the treatments are much "calmer" and are physically easier on the patient. Again, I have witnessed quite a few folks pull out of serious depressions due to the treatment.

    Personally, a very dear friend of mine entered a horrendous depression last year. After all treatments tried had no impact I urged her and her husband to consider ECT. They were opposed for several months, but they finally went over to the teaching hospital and gave it a try. Three months later she and I were having lunch together, and she was talking to me about her plans for the future. (This was a lady who was completely mute and sequestered in her homefor four months!). I would take the treatments in a hearbeat if I were dealing with severe depression and/or mania.

    I hope this treatment is successful for your family.