Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Electro Convulsive therapy, Don't be ignorant!

Image result for ECT
Yes, these people have been helped!
Copyright All rights reserved, 2016, Steve and Robyn BloemImage result for ect one flew over the cuckoo's nest
                                                                                                              Not One flew over the Cuckoo's nest


Here is a shocker! Yes, that pun was intended. I have had my depression treated, on two separate occasions by a series of Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT);  I  usually had from twelve to  fifteen seizures induced  by electric shock. I had to be hospitalized for a month the first time and then for a week for the next series.  I also had it as an outpatient. Today it is available as an outpatient treatment in many places.

Why did I ask for ECT?  It was because I was extremely depressed; I had to force food because I had no appetite. I also could not sleep at all.  I was very suicidal. Both times ECT  brought me  out of  severe depression. The first improvement came after two sessions and then gradually I had no depressive 
Image result for man resisting treatment
What I don't understand is why is everyone so upset, nervous and opposed to a treatment that is safer than or as safe as antidepressants? You can shock the heart so that it beats again. You can use a Cesarean  Section to bring a child safely from the womb to the world.  But when it comes to treating the brain, stigma and fear abound.

ECT is a biological approach to a biological medical problem. It is in no way a lobotomy. Why is it that the church continues to resist the science of mental illness, when the treatment outcomes are better than ever?  For  further discussion of ECT go to chapter twelve of Broken Minds


 http://heartfeltmin.org/resources.html. For Kindle go to

Please read  the John Hopkins Hospital brief article below. The only thing I would add is there are two methods of the placement of electrodes on the brain, both bi-lateral and unilateral ECT. Unilateral ECT usually has the least memory loss. Some say bilateral is stronger in its effect on depression.
You can also read about ECT in our book  Broken Minds.  It is available by paper back, Kindle and other applications.

Why use Electro-Convulsive Therapy Is the Right Choice.

 Many people think Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a thing of the past, but it is still being used today, given its effectiveness in treating major depression. In recent years, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the U.S. Surgeon General have all concluded that electroconvulsive therapy is a valuable tool in the treatment of certain mental disorders, particularly depression.

A Stop Gap for Agony

Before beginning Electro-convulsive therapy, an individual with depression typically first receives psychotherapy, antidepressant medication or a combination of the two. While these treatments are often effective, they take time to work. This delay can be dangerous for people whose depression is accompanied by intense suicidal thoughts and/or delusions. For these individuals, who are at immediate risk for ... suicide, Electro-convulsive therapy can work much more quickly than antidepressants and is therefore a good option

Image result for ECT
What happens during Electro-Convulsive therapy? 

It can be performed in an inpatient or outpatient setting. After the patient is given general anesthesia and a muscle relaxant, electrodes are placed on two areas of the scalp. A short, controlled set of electrical pulses is then administered for about a minute. The electrical pulses must produce generalized seizures to be effective. (Because patients are under anesthesia and have taken muscle relaxants, they do not openly convulse or feel the current),

Patients awaken about five to 10 minutes after the end of the treatment. Most are oriented and alert within 30 minutes. Typically, Electro-Convulsive therapy is given two to three times a week for a total of six to 12 sessions. These sessions typically improve depression in 60 to 70 percent of patients -- a response rate similar to that of antidepressant drugs -- and in 80 to 90 percent of people using it as first-line therapy.

ECT'S Shortcoming

A major limitation of Electro-Convulsive therapy treatment is that the benefits may be short-lived. Within a year, 50 to 60 percent of people experience a relapse, and they may have to take antidepressant medication or continue receiving Electro-convulsive therapy periodically to prevent a  relapse.

Image result for quizzical look
How does it work?

No one is sure how Electro-convulsive therapy helps certain mental disorders. It may flood the brain with neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are known to play a role in conditions such as depression and schizophrenia. Electro-convulsive therapy may also help regulate hormones that play a role in these disorders.

This is a re-post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to respond to my blog. I value your opinion.