ECT Lessons-I’ve-Learned

E  C  T
I ‘ VE

I’ve learned the following ‘lessons’ from my ongoing electroconvulsive therapy treatments. Some of them are meant to be serious, and some are meant to be just fun. But I use or try to follow all the lessons each and every time. Any other lessons I should post? Please leave me a comment.

#1: Importance of Social Support

#2: Wear a Short-Sleeved T-shirt

#3: Look Pretty for the Occasion

#4: Write’ em down!

#5: After ECT, Treatment Continues

#6: Communication is Key

#7: Be Informed.

#8: What Memory Loss?

#9: What happens during ECT

#10: When in doubt, talk.

#11: Post-ECT aches


19 Responses to “ECT Lessons-I’ve-Learned”

  1. Just had another 6 ECT’s myself for my clinical depression. Felt like I’d been hit real hard and my head aches all over. For about 1 week after the treatments,felt better,then poof I was back to the same crushing depression. You end always having to get more. With the resulting memory losses as well.It’s a vicious circle.

  2. Thanks for sharing your insight. I asked my doctor when this whole treatment cycle might end, and his answer sounded like the end is not in sight just yet. The problem is what you expressed: when is it too early to stop?

  3. How many ect treatments did you have in total? Did you have any maintenance treatments? Did you have a headache afterwards and if so how long did it last? Were you confused and again how long did it last. Do they automatically give you a pain reliever in your IV or tablets if you ask for them? I have heard stories that some patients can not speak after the treatment for hours or in some cases for days.

  4. Marie, I had 15 initial consecutive ECTs, then 15 maintenance, for a total so far of 30 ECT treatments. I sometimes have headaches, but most of them never last that long. And the strongest drug I’ve ever taken for headache is Lortab, but most of the time, I just pop an Advil afterwards. (My headaches have never been that bad) I didn’t know that people get pain reliever in their IV. As for the confusion, the only thing I’m usually confused about is the date but any mix-ups dissipate really quickly. Otherwise, I’ve never really been ‘confused.’ I’ve never had a problem with speaking English after the treatment. The one problem I had re: language is that I had a hard time speaking my first language (japanese) during the first set of treatments even though i never lost the ability to understand it. But it went away.

  5. Thank you yumers for your quick reply back. I have a few more questions if you don’t mind. Do you find ect is helping you? Would you recommend it? Do you personally know of anyone who has had a bad out come from receiving it? My biggest concern is the memory loss. I have read horror stories about it. Do you have to have bed rest for the remainder of the day after receiving your ect treatment? Do you have initially 3 or 2 ect treatments a week when you first started? Any more insight you could provide I would very much appreciate. Again thank you! Marie

  6. Marie, let me answer some of the questions for now, and I’ll get to the rest of them very soon. I don’t know of anyone who’s had a bad outcome, but then again, I don’t really know anyone in person who has had ECT. You don’t have to have bed rest afterward. You’re probably a little sleepy because of the anesthesia. I sometimes take a quick nap when I come home, but that’s about it. I had 3 treatments per week when I started, for 5 weeks (total of 15), but the usual is 6-12 treatments.

  7. Thank you so much for writing this! It’s almost certain that I will have ECT in a couple of months time so it’s good to be able to find something that’s actually helpful! I will be bookmarking this for future reference.

  8. Has anyone gone to a residential treatment center where you’re required to check in for an extended period, say 3-6 months?


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