ECT a Last Resort?

electroconvulsive_therapy_by_wolvaria-d51sp8xDuring my recent inpatient stay electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was brought up as a potential treatment for my depression since I am on my last hope for a treatment medication for my depression. Needless to say images of ECT from the movies went through my mind and I was immediately scared witless. Images like the to the right went through my mind, a rather negative image of ECT, but it’s like how they used to do. According to the doctors I talked to about it  (I talked to three different doctors about it), it’s better too and many improvements have been made since the 50’s and 60’s. It still doesn’t make me feel any better about it and the long inpatient stay it would require bothers me too (although it can be done on an outpatient basis); then again long inpatient stays seem to be a part of my life anyway.

Rather than try to explain ECT myself, I found the following information on the Mayo Clinic website, so I feel confident sharing it here.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses. It often works when other treatments are unsuccessful.

Much of the stigma attached to ECT is based on early treatments in which high doses of electricity were administered without anesthesia, leading to memory loss, fractured bones and other serious side effects.

ECT is much safer today and is given to people while they’re under general anesthesia. Although ECT still causes some side effects, it now uses electrical currents given in a controlled setting to achieve the most benefit with the fewest possible risks.

Mayo Clinic, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

I also found the following short video on ETC:

This is the long video I was shown in the hospital…it’s long and rather boring:

Oh well, I’m getting desperate and am grasping at straws trying to find someway, anyway, to break this long battle with depression. As a last resort I’ll keep ECT in mind as a last-ditch option, but I think I’d rather see if we can’t find some medication, any medication, that works for me…stupid adverse reactions and medication allergies 🙁

Peace, love, and contentment,

PS Other things mentioned during my last stay were things like; court appointed guardian, court ordered stay in a group home, nursing home, or the state hospital; Adult Protective Services; and others. I’ll have to pull from the journal I kept while inpatient and future posts on these topics will be forthcoming…


  1. I’m just curious what a normal inpatient stay is for you guys? You keep saying long for like three weeks- but like all my IP eating disorder stays have been 6 months or more….. I just can’t imagine what gets done in 3 weeks???

    • Ah, no my recent inpatient stays have been for depression and being suicidal. My IP stay for my eating disorder was 11-months.

  2. I recently saw a book about ECT and how doctors tend to lie about it. If you’d like, I could give you the link to the podcast that talks about it, or the book. I personally wouldn’t risk memory loss. Scares me too much.

    • I’d love to have that link. I am most likely a candidate for ECT because of my borderline personality disorder. My memory is already fragmented and some parts of my life I can’t remember (usually the parts of my life with abuse and traumatic event), hence why they usually won’t do you people with BPD.

  3. I had a lot of rounds of ECT in my early 20’s on an outpatient basis. It was unilateral as that was all they had at the time and I was diagnosed with BPD and Bipolar. My memory is hot, but not sure how much is the ECT and how much was trauma previously. I’m not sure how effective it was for me, but really the only side effect was memory loss and the intense memory loss was majority the time when the treatments were taking place close to each other. When I was tapering off treatment, like only going once a month I was attending college and doing well.
    I wouldn’t volunteer to do it again, but I’m not crossing it off my list as a last resort. There is one person’s perspective that has been there.

    • Thanks! I’m always glad to hear from people who have gone through it. Yes, I’m keeping it as a last resort only; not until every other avenue has been tried and exhausted. I’m not saying yes to it, but I’m not saying no either…more I wait and see :/

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