ECT

Real Patient Experiences with ECT and Perspectives on ECT

→ April 24, 2016 - 35 Comments

Real Patient Experiences with ECT and Perspectives on ECT

It’s difficult to find real patient experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) online. Well, it’s easy to find patient experiences and people’s perspectives on ECT but what tends to happen is that those that scream about ECT the loudest are the only ones people hear. I suspect this is thanks to the extreme animosity held on at least one side of the debate.

I aim to change this with real data from real people who have experienced ECT. What I want is data that will prove or disprove the assumptions that people make about ECT. I really hope you’ll support me in this effort.

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Judging Those Who Get Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

→ October 15, 2012 - 86 Comments

Judging Those Who Get Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Saturday, after sharing the story of someone who had been through electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). someone named Michele Montour left me this series of tweets (shortened words lengthened to improve readability):

Nothing will ever convince me that this barbaric, antiquated butchery is proper treatment. We know almost nada about the brain. Scientists admit very little known about our brain – even diagnoses are guessed. But zapping it and not REALLY knowing and irreversible!? I think ECT treats us like animals. Repackaged to remove ITS stigma. Let’s just go to the ice-pick lobotomy again! #disgusted

To this, I, admittedly shortly, responded:

That’s a convenient perspective when you’re not dying.

Well, Michele Montour did not like this response and it led to a bit of a diatribe on her part wherein she, among other things, called me a stupid and ignorant bitch.

I thought, perhaps, this stupid bitch could take a moment to explain her opinion.

[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

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I’m Not a Statistic! – Yes, You Are a Healthcare Statistic

→ June 22, 2012 - 27 Comments

Apparently I’m the only one that understands the concept and usage of healthcare statistics.

Recently a commenter got angry at me for saying this:

“. . . Are there people who have had a bad experience with ECT [electroconvulsive therapy]? Yes. Are there people who have had very bad experiences with ECT? Yes. But then, I was hit by a car, so things happen. It’s not really the car’s fault. . . ”

My point, of course, is that there are people who have bad experiences, I would never deny that. But there are people who have bad experiences with everything. That doesn’t mean it’s the typical experience. We work hard to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in North America and doctors work hard to try to implement ECT in the best way too.

A Commenter on Statistics

But the commenter felt,

“. . . And you wonder why are people anti-psychiatry? Because they had horrible horrible experience and are consider “oooops” and downplayed number in statistic . . .”

Well, um, yes. That’s what statistics are.

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How Does Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Work?

→ March 26, 2012 - 38 Comments

How Does Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Work?

In the book I’m writing on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) I’ve had to address the question as to how ECT works. However, in spite of the fact that ECT has been in use since the 1930s we really don’t know how ECT works.

But recently we may have gotten a bit closer to figuring it out.

[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

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Have You Had ECT? Help Others and Tell Me Where

→ February 23, 2012 - 117 Comments

As many of you know I’m writing a book on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).  This book will hopefully answer all the questions a person might have before undergoing ECT  treatment as well as share with them my personal experience and the experience of others.

And I’ve decided to include, at the back of the book a list of hospitals that offer ECT to help people who want the treatment with a starting point on how to get it.

There’s just one problem – there’s no central repository on who offers ECT treatment.

[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

ECT-Offering Facilities

Please Help Me with the List of Hospitals that Offer ECT

So I’m asking for your help. If you know of a facility that offers ECT, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll add it to the list. You’ll be helping me and helping others as well. Please include hospitals in Canada and the US.

And, of course, if you have any questions about ECT, also feel free to comment on those and I’ll make sure the answers are here and in the book.

Thanks.

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Dr. Oz Show – The Shock That Could Save Your Life – Electroshock Therapy for Depression

→ January 25, 2012 - 50 Comments

Dr. Oz Show – The Shock That Could Save Your Life – Electroshock Therapy for Depression

As many people know the Dr. Oz show, did 30 minutes today on electroshock therapy. I’m going to talk a little about the Dr. Oz show’s representation of electroshock therapy and add a few additional facts.

[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

First off, the Dr. Oz show is a source of entertainment, like anything else on TV, so he added drama that wasn’t particularly necessary. That is the way of the show, and TV, however. Specifically, the show started off with scenes of electroshock therapy being given pre-1950 which is when you see people having convulsions in the bad old days before people were anesthetized during treatments. This is not the best way to start a show that is supposed to educate about current treatment, but he does balance this later on.

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Doctor Background Checks; ECT in Film; New Borderline Criteria – 3 New Things

→ December 1, 2011 - 5 Comments

Doctor Background Checks; ECT in Film; New Borderline Criteria – 3 New Things

Today we return to my 3 New Things series so I can touch on three new pieces of information I’ve found this week. This week I talk about:

  • How to get a background check on a doctor
  • The sorry portrayal of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in film
  • The newly-proposed diagnostic criteria for personality disorders in the DSM-V

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Mental Health Information – 3 New Things

→ August 4, 2011 - 1 Comment

Sometimes writing for a living drives me bonkers. Basically, I have to be brilliant on-command. And seriously. That’s hard.

You. Write. Be brilliant. Now!

It’s a lot of work for me. My brilliance gets tired and bogged down in the bits of my job I don’t like doing.

However, then I’m reminded there are many wonderful things about my job. Specifically, I get to learn new things, every day, all the time. While others work at real jobs I spend all day looking up facts and studies and learning things I didn’t know when I woke up.

I love that stuff.

3 Things I’ve Learned About Mental Health

Three New Mental Health Articles

So, I’m creating a weekly feature by sincerely flattering Jane Friedman and stealing her idea. (Jane writes Three Happy Things about writing once a week. Go check her out.) I’m not sure they will be three happy things, exactly, but I will be sharing three new things about mental health I’ve learned each week.

This will give me a chance to share smaller details that don’t make it into a full blog post, pimp the resources I like and otherwise share my knowledge.

On board? Great!

Three New Things About Mental Health

Not surprisingly, I’m inundated with information about mental illness/psychiatry/psychology. I’m constantly researching, reading articles, checking sources and other such things. I come across things I like and things I don’t.

  1. What I don’t like – the British Psychological Society’s comments on the revisions proposed for the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The British Psychological Society appears to be a non-profit group dedicated to psychology/psychologists. Which is fine. I’m a fan of psychology/psychologists. But their remarks on the DSM-V revision sound like propaganda nonsense. Not only can they not get through a paragraph without cutting-and-pasting, they seem to have only one thing to say – we don’t like the idea of diagnosing mental illness; oh, and we’re better than you.
  2. What I do like – a Psychiatric Times article: The FDA Advisory Panel on the Reclassification of ECT Devices. I wrote about this issue for Breaking Bipolar to put it into smaller, more easily-digested chunks. (Why There Isn’t More Modern Data on ECT and Should the FDA Consider ECT Devices Less Dangerous.) But read the original article. It’s good and shines a light on yet another ECT issue that get’s people’s knickers all twisted.
  3. What I think is interesting – a journal article on methods of schizophrenia treatment. This article is interesting because it outlines non-North American treatment options as well as standard antipsychotic/medication options. The article’s goal is to define schizophrenia recovery and use evidenced-based methods to determine the best path to schizophrenia recovery. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself about schizophrenia.

I do admit, those may not be easy reading, but they are worthwhile reading (or skimming, anyway).

I’ll see you next week when will I learn more and try to do better.

PS: If anyone has any direct knowledge of the British Psychological Society I’d love to hear it. They seem quite legitimate but I have to question the motives of such an odd report.

What Happens When You Talk About ECT?

→ March 25, 2011 - 32 Comments

What Happens When You Talk About ECT?

The Bipolar Burble thanks for everyone who took the time to read my electroconvulsive therapy primer and The Badger’s personal experience of ECT. Most people were really respectful in their opinions and asked great questions. As per the usual, however, electroconvulsive therapy is a controversial, contentious and polarizing topic that brings out people’s abusive side pretty quickly.

[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

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Myths, Realities and Journey Through ECT – by BiPolar Badger

→ March 22, 2011 - 39 Comments

Myths, Realities and Journey Through ECT – by BiPolar Badger
This post was controversial even before posted; clearly underscoring how much people need to talk about ECT. The Bipolar Burble welcomes Steven Schwartz, the BiPolar Badger, and his experiences with electroconvulsive therapy.
 
[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

Myths, Realities and Journey Through ECT – by the BiPolar Badger

I was 9-years-old in 1975 when One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest came out. I remember watching it on our floral, pleather sofa, late one night on TV. It scared the crap out of me; this was the first time in my life I saw E.C.T. (electroconvulsive therapy, previously electroshock therapy or shock therapy) and little could I imagine that one day I would find myself in McMurphy’s position.

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Electroconvulsive Therapy Works (ECT, shock therapy)

→ March 20, 2011 - 44 Comments

Electroconvulsive Therapy Works (ECT, shock therapy)
Natasha Tracy and the Bipolar Burble welcomes Steven Schwartz, the BiPolar Badger as a guest blogger later this week. Steven will be speaking from the point of view of someone who has chosen to get electroconvulsive therapy treatments and is in the middle of his current series of electroconvulsive therapy treatments. 
 
[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

Electroconvulsive Therapy Primer

In preparation for Steven’s piece, I’ve written this primer.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the second most controversial medical procedure. (Abortion is the first.) Certainly when I write about ECT it seems to prove the controversy of this topic. And it doesn’t matter what I say about ECT, even if it’s not pro or con, people insist on expressing very strong viewpoints on the use of ECT. And yes, I have had ECT.

And generally the strong viewpoints are anti-ECT. They are from the ECT-is-torture crowd. A prevalent crowd online, to be sure, but someone needs to actually talk about the facts of ECT.

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Will ECT Work for Me? – Predictors of ECT Efficacy

→ May 12, 2010 - 2 Comments

It would be nice to know ahead of time if a treatment would work. Unfortunately, no one cal tell the future: not for cancer treatment and not for mental illness treatment like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) either.

Will Electroconvulsive Therapy Work for Me?

But very smart people try to figure out what might predict the outcome of treatments. Especially treatments like ECT, a hotly debated, and much maligned treatment. That’s the good news. And the bad news.

In a retrospective chart review of depressive and bipolar patients in a Netherlands hospital, of those who received  ECT, 65.8% met the standards for remission. The only predictor of response found was duration of index series.

The good part here is that medication failure did not predict response; so theoretically, no matter how many medications you have failed you have an equal chance of response to ECT.

The bad part is that the more times you get ECT in your initial series, the more likely you are to respond. I say this is bad because the more times you do ECT the more chances are you’re going to suffer more and worsening cognitive side effects too.

It’s something to consider when thinking about starting or stopping ECT treatment.

Image by rolffimages / 123RF Stock Photo.

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