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    Have made the decision to have ECT after years of severe depression
    EdinChas posted:
    I am a 56 year old male.
    I have had depression for as long as I can remember and was diagnosed in 1995 and have been on many different antidepressants since. I have been on just about all of them out there with no results.
    I recently started the process of obtaining ECT treatments as a last resort, as I just don't know how much longer I can hold on.
    I suffer through every day...feeling dead inside. I don't laugh or cry. I don't have hate or love. I wake up each day just hoping that it will go by quickly.
    If it wasn't for my children and family I would have put an end to this a long time ago but I just can't do that to them.
    Would like any advise and experiences with ECT from anyone who has been through it.
    beautifulbuffalo responded:
    EdinChas: Hello I'm 48 and have received over 50 ECT treatments over the years. I still had to take some medication afterwards, but the reason for the treatments was because I to at the time nothing was helping me. The treatments are quick. You will feel a little confused upon waking up, but there is no pain in an ECT treatment. It worked wonders for me and if I had to do it over again I would. It did take some of my memory away. I got 95% of my memory back with help but I did lose some.

    I'm presently looking into TMS right now, it's just I'm having a hard time getting my insurance to pay for it because it is expensive (about 9,000.00) for the full complete treatment. Having TMS is magnetic. Your awake, you can talk, you can read. But if it works you don't have to take any medication.

    If your interested in anything else in regards to ECT, drop me a line.

    Good Luck
    susiemargaret responded:
    hello, E --

    here is what i wrote about my experience with ECT about a year ago --

    about seven years ago, i was suffering from very severe depression -- i had the privilege of being what my psychiatrist said was the most depressed patient he had ever seen -- and was in and out of the hospital over a period of about four months. we could not seem to find any med that worked well enough to make a difference in my emotional state. with reluctance and nervousness, i agreed to have ECT. i had approx 12 treatments at 3/week, inpatient at first, then outpatient.

    frankly, that whole period is a blur to me, and i don't remember feeling a change in my emotional state, but my sister and others said that they could see an immediate change for the better. we saw it as a temporary measure to get me to an equilibrium where i could think straight and where we would have some more time to try different antidepressants. it does not solve all of your problems (nor do antidepressants, as i'm sure everyone knows), it just sort of "resets" your brain chemistry so that you can think about your problems more clearly.

    the treatments don't hurt. you lie down, they hook you up to various monitors (heart, etc.), they give you some sort of short-acting anesthesia, then give what i understood to be an extremely short and small electrical charge thru things on your head that look like very small earphones (except that they are not on your ears, just on the sides of your head). you are completely unaware of anything after they start the anesthesia. because of this, you may want to ask for a blanket before you start, because the next thing you will be aware of is waking up in the recovery room, and i was always cold there.

    as for side effects, i usually had a headache and was very tired after each treatment. and i did experience some short-term memory loss; i could not remember the name of my sister's dog, for instance, but i never forgot who i was or where my house was or who other people were or why i was in the treatment room. as i recall, this memory loss was for about a month or six weeks; it's a drag and frustrating, but it's not physically debilitating or emotionally crippling in terms of daily life.

    the idea of ECT is scary, and it is definitely a last-resort measure; i don't think that anyone disagrees with that. but after my treatments, i've never had to be hospitalized again. so my advice is that if you have been suffering disastrously and you trust your psychiatrist, you should very strongly consider having the treatments.

    of course, this is solely my experience, and i acknowledge that others' experience might have been different. i would not lightly agree to do it again, but i would seriously consider doing it again if i became as depressed as i was then.

    if you or anyone has any Qs about this, i'll be glad to answer them. i hope that this has helped and that you are having a good day today.

    -- susie margaret
    what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
    EdinChas replied to beautifulbuffalo's response:
    Thanks so much for your time in posting your response to my question. it was very helpful. I looked into the TMS also as part of a study where I could have gotten it at no charge but was not a candidate Anyway, having some meds changed so the ECT is on hold for a few more weeks. Am ready to start it as so much time has been lost to this depression and I would really love to have my life back...even just a little. Thanks again...Ed
    EdinChas replied to susiemargaret's response:
    Thanks for all the information. I am still on hold for the treatments to start as I have had to have some meds changed and I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism back in Jan. and they want my thyroid levels fixed before starting the ECT.
    Just got the word that my levels are now normal but I feel no difference at all...still have the same depression and joint pain and other things that "normal" thyroid levels could have made better.
    Anyway...looking forward to getting started and hopefully getting a life again. Thanks again...Ed
    susiemargaret replied to EdinChas's response:
    hello again, E --

    for some other sources of opinion on ECT, take a look at .

    -- susie margaret
    what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
    beanisgood replied to susiemargaret's response:
    Hi Susie, my husband has been on every drug they make and ect has been suggested by his doc. What is tms and any thing else you can share about the ect. Seems really scary.
    Thanks, Dinny
    beautifulbuffalo replied to EdinChas's response:
    Why were you denied the TMS!!!!!!!

    I can't have it because I had neck surgery and I have metal in my neck that would interfere with the magnets.
    beautifulbuffalo replied to beanisgood's response:
    TMS - Trans cranial Magnetic stimulation

    Tms Therapy is a treatment that can be performed in a psychiatrists office under their supervision. They use a medical device called the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system.

    The therapy is non-evasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery. It does not require any anesthesia or sedation, as the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.

    Each session takes about 40 minutes. A helmet is put upon your head with magnets in it towards your forhead.

    My therapist uses this in his office. The patients are awake and were talking to the therapist at the time of the TMS.

    It's expensive but worth it. I just can't have it because of my neck surgery.

    You have to remember that even though it has good effects and good responses there is always that chance that it won't work just like everything else.

    Good Luck
    susiemargaret replied to beanisgood's response:
    hello, dinny --

    do you have particular Qs about ECT beyond what i covered in my two responses above (third and sixth posts)? i'll be glad to answer them. ECT is scary and not an option to be chosen lightly, but it was my last resort and i was fortunate enough that it helped.

    BB gave a good explanation of transcranial magnetic stimulation (ninth post). the mayo clinic also has a good article on TMS at .

    i hope your husband can get some relief. i send caring thoughts to the both of you and hope that you will keep us posted on how things are going.

    -- susie margaret
    what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.

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