I Have Had Ect And Regret It.

0I can't tell you dates for sure, my memory was severely affected by at least  9 sessions of ECT.  The first time I had it I seem to remember loosing about a month of memories, which I didn't mind at the time because I'd been in the Psych Ward for that amout of time.  It seemed to help to jumpstart my meds kicking in.   I never got "better"  I struggled for years with BiPolar Depression, anxiety, and in extreme times hallucinations.  I was in and out of the 'psych ward with multiple overdoses.  I couldn't  find the right combination of meds.  I really gave up on getting better, I couldn't control my moods.  After an extended stay in the hospital I was practically begging for more ECT.  I took the mmpi and had various psychiatrists examin me and we decided to do two more "rounds" (6 more times).   I had terrible headaches after each treatment, but I felt better temporarily.  These times left me wth more than just temporary memory loss.  I lost a full year this time.  I lost so much memory that I didn't even know what I was missing.   My husband  realised this right away (he had not wanted me to do them).  It has been 7 years and I am still having memory problems.  I've forgotten movies I've seen, people I knew, Events (I recently found myself trying to find a friend on the internet, when my husband told me my friend had been murdered 6 years ago-  I broke down, I didn't remember!  It was losing him twice.  I've put together some pieces.  It's like my brain has been short circuited and I am trying to follow a broken line of memory.   Some things come back to me sometimes something triggers me to remember.  I also have short term memory difficulties as well as math problems that were no trouble for me before.   Now I am doing better, I have found meds that work, and I really believe in dialectic behavior therapy.  Ihave not been in a hospital in 4 years.   I feel that I did not recieve adeqaute information about the ECT process or real side effect possibilities.  This is just my story.  Please if you are going to get ECT educate yourself and your family or support system.  samm

3 Responses Aug 29, 2010

hi Sam, the doctors, hospitals, don't tell you about the so often reported long term, short term memory problems, and cognitive impairments of a permanent manner....I've studied up some on ECT and find the truthful consent form is lacking truth to be blunt...they don't tell you how high dangerously high, the current is, and voltage and what ECT can acutally physically do to the brain, which is pretty ugly...as someone that has had 9 unilateral treatments myself I'm wondering if you have gotten any of your memory back or have improved in some way shape or form?

Finally I HOPE you thought to contact your ECT clinic or doctor to tell them of your lost memories...you won't have much closure until you make your voice heard, also this helps get justice for all the people like you and myself that feel the harm far out weighed the benefit for this outdated procedure.

Thank you for your story. I just finished my treatments 4 months ago, and I feel crazy and stupid. I'm scared of things I wasn't scared of before. I feel befuddled. I HATE not remembering movies, as I used to be a movie freak, and loved them! UGH. What a strange thing to go through, huh? I wish you well. Kathy

I too had major memory loss but my memory loss was limited primarily to the months of my ECT. I believe I had about 12 treatments. It's weird because you don't know what's missing until somebody brings up a particular event, movie, or person.<br />
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The memory loss was the worst part of ECT but I'd do it again in spite of that. It helped me more than any drugs ever did. The effect was temporary (lasted months) but it pulled me out of the worst depressive episode I'd ever suffered.