talking about ECT, sociologically

My professor, Dr. H, e-mailed me last week to see if I wanted to present my paper about the experiences of going through electroconvulsive therapy at a social science symposium that was going on at the school the following week. I agreed, so yesterday, I talked about ECT to a group of people at this symposium.

As I spoke about this sociological analysis of my ECT experience, I could also hear in my voice a little bit of frustration I’ve been feeling about the treatment lately. I think it’s been bothering me that, unless I quit first, I don’t really see an end in sight to having this procedure every few weeks.  And when I first started, it was just supposed to be a few weeks—-and perhaps have freedom from depression forever. Not that I was overpromised things, I feel like I was led and led myself to think that more could be achieved through this treatment in a short amount of time. But I find myself thinking that without being maintained on it, the other treatments wouldn’t be enough. And if they weren’t enough before all the ECT, I’m not sure if they would be enough now. I still believe firmly that ECT is an effective treatment against depression, but for me, who is going through maintenance ECT, is this going to be like taking medication—which could be for a lifetime?

Another point that bothered me yesterday: the fact that more women receive ECT than men. Why is that? I found myself feeling other frustrations, but I’m sure I’ll bring those up at a later point since I’m still working on this paper. This was the second time I’ve presented this paper in the past few weeks, and while I’m not necessarily great at talking in front of people, I really am glad that I was given a chance to speak to people about a treatment that they may otherwise never hear about.




3 Responses to “talking about ECT, sociologically”

  1. I didn’t know there was maintenance ECT. So that happens for the rest of your life? And is it supposed to? I didn’t understand why an insurance company would reject you due to something in your past, I guess ECT is expensive then? I guess you had disclose it, huh…I never want to disclose my illness to a new insurer. I’m afraid of the exact same thing happening to me.

  2. KansasSunflower, I don’t think this is going to go on forever….though I’ve heard of people having in for 7-8 years. I don’t think I’ll be doing this for that long, but I also don’t know exactly when the end date is for the whole series of treatment. It’s spaced out now to about once every 5-6 weeks. The plan is that it’ll get spaced out enough to where I don’t need it. But I just don’t know what that really means.

    As for disclosing ECT to the insurer, I’m not sure if I brought it up or if they looked through my medical records. I guess I’ll get ‘caught’ either way by these insurers.


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