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SCARED TO DEATH OF ECT
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doxielover10 posted:
Dear Dr G,

I've been away for awhile, major bipolar issues and a diagnosis of PTSD. We've been trying to control my swings, however I am a very serious rapid cycling bipoar1. I have swings every day !!!

My dog died and I crashed into a massive depression, I could not get out of bed or stop crying. 3 days into the depression I was taken to the hospital with the Norvo Virus. I have never been so sick in my life

I saw my Psychiatrist to discuss the mess I am in. 2 1/2 years ago, I was in the same predicament I'm in now, I had taken all the drugs on the market except Lithium, I was scared to death of it and DID NOT want to take it, However, my mania was out of control and I was extremely nasty and aggressive. The surges of adrenalin were at a peak level and I HATE bullies. I have been riding and showing horses since I was 3. Tossing 120 pound bales of hay, mucking stalls, carrying huge buckets of water make you very strong. I saw a woman hitting a puppy and I beat her senseless. This happened often, but ONLY with bullies. I took the Lithium and it killed my thyroid. A few months later I had my creatinin levels taken and they were 1.0. 2 weeks later I arrived at the Hospital DOA in total renal failure with a creatinin level of 9.0 from Lithium Toxcicity . NO ONE to this day has any idea what happened ? My renal function is 30% all from taking a drug I did not want to take. I was completely DETOXED and I did well with no meds. Of course, the time comes when the symptoms return and you need to start taking meds again. I have been housebound for more than a year because if I was around people I would get sick.

Here I am again, the ONLY thing left is ECT and I am scared to death of it. I read everything on here, watched the videos and I'm still scared to death. I got slammed when I agreed to the Lithium againgst my gut and I feel the same about the ECT. What do you think ????
Reply
 
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Joseph F Goldberg, MD responded:
Dear doxielover10, ECT remains the most effective as well as overall safest treatment for any phase of bipolar disorder, and has been shown to work for manic or depressive symptoms when medicines approaches may not help. It remains unequalled in efficacy. Modern techniques minimize it's cognitive (memory) side effects by using what's called unilateral, ultra-brief pulse stimulation. ECT deserves serious consideration for anyone whose mood symptoms have persisted and caused impairment in functioning after multiple poor responses to drug therapy. Dr. G.
 
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doxielover10 replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
Dear Dr. G,

During this year and a half of being housebound, I've had time to review my bipolar history. There is no doubt that I have been bipolar since I was a child. However, I was a functioning bipolar, I was an Honors student through Prep School, College, Grad School. I had a high level Executive position in the third largest Medical Company in the world. An overwhelmingly traumatic event sent me over the edge into a monster.,I have ALWAYS DESPISED BULLIES and I started to target them.I used my 167 IQ to learn how to hack into computers. A particularly obnoxious rodent I know in NYC did some horrible bullying to children. I went down to Christopher St and found all the Gay S & M bars. I put up flyers
requesting partners with his e-mail and copying his boss. He got fired and I loved it. That was the end for me, I am not this kind of person.

My terror of ECT is aphasia, brain damage, speech impairment, which occurred with the renal failure. I also had a severe breakdown that took 3 months to subside. I also am aware if I don't do it, I'll never leave this house again.

I cannot thank you enough for your clear and concise explanation. I
feel much better.

BEST
Allison
 
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doxielover10 replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
Dear Dr. G,

Well, we have a rather unusual event. You and my Psychiatrist know each other. Not just in passing either.

The last time I saw him, I told him I would not do ECT for ANY REASON !!!!After the hell I've been through., housebound for more than a year. I was just about to be given freedom and the almost unbearable anxiety I have on a daily basis was causing Bipolar problems. I saw him this afternoon and I brought a copy of your note.
As I started to speak, he yells"This is the Dr. G you talk about all the time ? I said yes and he's is in total disbelief. However, he never tried to make me feel pressured, he said, he would have answered the same as you did. I'm starting next week, I'm extremely anxious but I'm sure I'll be OK.

Small World
BEST
ALLISON
 
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Joseph F Goldberg, MD replied to doxielover10's response:
Dear Allison,

I'm glad you and your doctor found my comments helpful and consistent with his own view.
A small world indeed. Good luck!

Dr. G.
 
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doxielover10 replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
Dear Dr. G,

I had spoken to my Psychiatrist on numerous occasions regarding my
struggle to maintain a life. I also asked you and the responses were always almost identical. However, I always just called you Dr. G.

I am diagnosed with PTSD and extreme anxiety, I had a bleeding ulcer when I was 15. I am convinced the anxiety exacerbates my bipolar issues. As an example, I was fine the day I went to see my Psychiatrist. When he brought up the ECT I started to shake and when I got home my ongoing depression was worse. I could not stop crying.

I have worked so hard to control my bipolar issues. I have never missed a day of meds, I learned breathing exercises to calm down. I dislike taking tranquilizers, but I have to. Are there any other avenues of treatment you are aware of ?

Thanks
Allison
 
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Joseph F Goldberg, MD replied to doxielover10's response:
Dear Allison, ECT remains the best known treatment for depression of any kind. If you think anxiety might be holding you back from allowing you to partake of the treatment your doctor is recommending, it may be worth talking with him about strategies to better help you manage anxiety and distress. Low dose antipsychotics, including the older first generation drugs (eg, Thorazine), are sometimes very effective on an as-needed basis for that purpose. Dr. G.
 
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Betzy11 replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
I had the ETC treatments many years agoi. Back in the 60's . The said it would help me forget. Many years has gone by and am still having many problems. Depression today bit time..
You will be ok. If you need them
 
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doxielover10 replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
Dear Dr. G,

After the renal failure, my life split into a billion pieces. I had a MAJOR breakdown. The anxiety was so bad I broke out into quarter size bloody sores head to toe. I was at MD Anderson hospital for gland surgery. They biopsied the sores and it came back as Simplex Chronicus ? (can't remember last word). Supposedly, it is the worst anxiety you can have, I shook uncontrollably 24/7, I had trouble speaking. My doctor wanted to put me somewhere so I could calm down. If you aren't a drunk or drug addict there are no other places.
What does Silver Hill do ?
 
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Joseph F Goldberg, MD replied to doxielover10's response:
Dear Allison,

I'm not sure I have a suggestion, or answer to your question. Silver Hill Hospital in CT has a short-term acute inpatient hospital and then a residentially-based 28-day treatment facility which is self-pay, and the focus there tends to be on addiction recovery and DBT skills. There is information on their website.

Dr. G.
 
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doxielover10 replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
No, this is not my issues. My Doctor is away and I would like to know answers. A number of us went out last night, we have visitors here. The topic turned to Bipolar Disorder, I was the only Bipolar so I tried to explain what I consider Bipolar to be.

My question is: As a Bipolar like me, Rapid Cycling Bipolar 1 taking massive doses of medication start to deteriorate in areas like ALWAYS being perfectly dressed, made up, perfect hair etc. ? Wouldn't the meds help me keep some normalcy ? Gone from always being very social, parties, dinners, Black Tie, Committees, Charities etc. to preferring quiet, being with my dogs, reading ?

After ECT, will I be able to cut back on meds ?
 
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Joseph F Goldberg, MD replied to doxielover10's response:
Dear Doxielover,

Not everyone responds to psychotropic medicines the same, and there is no way to predict medication outcomes or results for a specific individual until an appropriate medicine has been tried. The WebMD exchange here can address general questions about bipolar disorder and its treatment, but only your own doctor (or the doctor covering for him when he is away) can advise you specifically on the best and most appropriate treatment for you.

Dr. G.
 
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doxielover10 replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
Dear Dr. G,

I don't think I phrased the question correctly. I've been a rapid cycling bipolar 1 for years.

Before I had the overwhelming event that sent me over the precipice into full blown bipolar disorder, I led a great life.

I took great care of myself, I ALWAYS walked out the door, not a hair out of place , I got fabulous reviews at work. As I mentioned before, I was perfectly put together. When I fell into full blown bipolar disorder, even with medication, I could not do the things I had done before.
I had to stop working and go on disability. I no longer took care of myself, T-Shirt and sweats was it. I would sleep all day, would not leave the house.

I worked so hard to pull my self back up, I cannot do it every day but I am doing things I NEVER did before. I planted flowers across the whole front of my house. I went out to dinner with my husband and friends. It's INCREDIBLY hard but I am trying.

I guess my question would be, as I age will the disease take over ?
Will I be incapable of a semi-normal life ?

Allison
 
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Joseph F Goldberg, MD replied to doxielover10's response:
Dear Allison,

Unfortunately there isn't any way to predict for a specific individual what the long-term course of bipolar disorder will be. Some studies say that episodes can become shorter in duration but more frequent over time. The past is usually the best predictor of the future, and symptoms are more likely to go and stay in remission if remission can be achieved. Residual mood symptoms -- ie, incomplete recovery -- is one of the strongest predictors of relapse. The best of medical care therefore means trying to find the optimal treatment (medication, psychotherapy) regimen with your doctor(s), avoid things that can destabilize mood (eg, irregular sleep, alcohol/drugs, poor stress management skills), use support groups and mechanisms, and do the best you can.

Dr. G.
 
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doxielover10 replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
After much thought and soul searching, along with your comments, I figured it out. I have always thought I would go back to my previous life. Of course, I was not aware of this, I kept trying and trying to have the energy I was accustomed to and would become despondent when I could not do it. I tried and tried to be perfectly groomed as I had always been, then crash and burn into depression when I could not do it.

I have an excellent cognitive therapist and Psychiatrist, however, since I was unaware of what I was doing, I could not tell them. Realizing now how much I was forcing myself to do things I was no longer capable of, caused extreme anxiety and stress. I have chronic migraines and have been an insomniac as long as I can remember. I would go 5 days with no sleep, and then feel guilty if I took a nap during the day. Now that I see the intertwining of all these behaviors, I can start to find other pursuits that I enjoy. I was actually considering going back to riding competitively !!!!

I know it will be very difficult, however, I have no choice. I actually can't believe, I figured it out.


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