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ECT for Withdrawal Symptoms

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Anybody had any experience with this controversial therapy, good or bad?

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I have never heard of ECT helping withdrawal syndrome.

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If you are going to take it just make sure you start with a tiny dose and don't mix it with anything, that way if it is causing a problem you'll know right away.  Hope it goes well for you! 

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I once had 2 sessions of it 15 years ago. and I didn't like it so gave up. I got temporary memory loss which was the worse thing, especially on immediately coming round. That's what frightened me off. But it only lasted a short while.

I think it can snap some people out of depression but only seems to have limited life. ( a few months I believe)

I was given it as it was considered I wasn't responding to anything else, but from what I now know about ADs there are so many variables, (like withdrawal symptoms) which wouldn't have been factored in and in my case, simply waiting longer for the AD to work and getting over symptoms of previous AD trials, probably would have done the trick.

Not going into hospital, too, would have been a good move ,looking back as that alone really freaked me out and probably caused a downturn in my depression. But it was my choice and at that time was a more common option over here (uk)

Personally I just gradually got better, albeit on ADs. But with hindsight, allowing myself to go through a depression decades ago and then heal naturally (as most people did before ADs reared their ugly heads in the 60s) would have been by far the best option! But you cant turn back the clock.

I do hope you find some way of getting through your plight; its probably a matter of time and patience. In my case I find mindfulness meditation  (see utube Jon Kabat-Zinn etc) very effective.

 

Simon

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Hello everyone! 

 

I was hesitant about posting this in here because I know many people here are against ECT, thinking it might cause brain damage or other bad symptoms, but still I wanted to share my experience, because it has helped me enormously! 

 

After a lot of research, asking other people who had also had it and just being sick of suffering for almost more than two years of protracted withdrawal, I decided to have ECT. My main goal was to eliminate akathisia through this therapy, so I had 10 treatments, starting last July 23. They were usually done 2 or 3 times a week. I was really scared and nervous before some of the treatments, but it has been a MIRACLE! No more akathisia, no more brain zaps, no more muscle twitches and many other things that made me suffer so much for so long. Also, as a bonus, my depression has lifted and I feel like I'm in a better mood and frame of mind than I have been in years. Anyway, what I mostly wanted to eliminate was akathisia, and I'm just overjoyed it's no longer bothering me. 

 

Yes, I did have (and still have) some short-term memory issues which have been resolving as the days go by (my last treatment was two days ago), but my pdoc thinks I will recover my memory much more quicker than his other patients because I have shown to have very good memory, memory of things patients usually don't remember. I still can't drive, but I think next week I will be able to drive again and return to my normal activities. Finally I will be able to continue with my life and all the things I had interrupted due to the horrible suffering of withdrawal symptoms. 

 

ECT is not an easy thing to do, it requires bravery and mostly a deep desperation to heal and feel better (but that's how probably everyone here in the forums feel like).

 

I know many will still see ECT as something dangerous or bad, but I do recommend it, it has saved me, I can finally continue with my life and my plans! 

 

Feel free to ask me any questions about this. :) I am really happy for the first time in a very very long time! In my opinion, at last psychiatry has done something right! At last! 

 

Claudia :)

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Yay yay! Amazing!! Totally brilliant.

 

But you mean this July you started?

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that's very interesting - i am very glad that this has worked for you..  i think that ECT has been refined a lot in the last few years and is much more targeted with lots less side effects.  

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This is very interesting. I'm very glad that you feel better. That's amazing. Keep us posted if the success keeps up! 

 

How did it feel afterwards? Did the symptoms go away immediately or gradually? Do you have a theory as to what has happened in your brain? I don't mean a scientific theory, just something like "it feels like things have been shaken to the right place again". Or "it feels like there were things misfiring that now stopped". 

 

Just in case anybody is considering ECT now. Be very aware of the risks. 

 

I have read some testimonies of people completely disabled by ECT. Some people forgot the memories of their childhood, some people forgot their professional education so they couldn't work anymore. So I guess it's another one of those treatments that can have very severe side effects, but not necessarily for everyone. 

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Hi,

 

i read your blog intro, since 2001 you are taking heavy psychotropics, until 21 july this year, you say having severe symptomes and taking daily drugs...

 

you say you made 10 ect end july and a week after you are cured 

 

???????

 

has the ECT made you something in your brain???

 

madre mia

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What

Hi,

 

i read your blog intro, since 2001 you are taking heavy psychotropics, until 21 july this year, you say having severe symptomes and taking daily drugs...

 

you say you made 10 ect end july and a week after you are cured 

 

???????

 

has the ECT made you something in your brain???

 

madre mia

Hardly heavy psychotropics- she was using ssri's- none of those drugs she was on were considered heavy but psychiatric standards

She developed treatment resistant depression and got ect - I don't doubt for one second it didn't work- there is a lot of evidence that it intact does work, and even better now than it used to since it is much kore localized

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LoveandLight, 


 


Yes, I started on July 23, 2015 and had 10 treatments. At some point I wanted to quit, because I had a lucid nightmare, I think around treatment 5, I had never had such a lucid nightmare. It scared the hell out of me. My parents didn't let me quit, and I'm glad they didn't, it was worth it even with the nightmare and feeling scared and everything, it was really worth it after so much time of prolonged withdrawal suffering. 


 


Peggy, 


Yes, it has been refined, they used general anaesthesia, a muscle relaxant and some other things. I did develop a problem twice which is why I got scared and got the nightmare. I think due to the same reason I developed prolonged withdrawal, I also metabolised the anaesthesia very quickly in two occassions and felt for a few seconds a sort of sleep paralysis, I could hear everything but felt like I couldn't breathe or move or say anything, this was just for some seconds, but was enough to scare the hell out of me. That was the only unfortunate event. Still, like I said before, I'd rather push through that scary moment than continue suffering what I was suffering with withdrawal for so long! 


 


Laura1981


 


The symptoms started dissappearing gradually. I felt really well the days I had the treatments but  I started to feel bad again on the days I didn't have the treatment. I think the gains from the therapy stuck with me by the 8th session (I had 10), and since then I have felt really good. 


 


About the theory on how it worked, mmmmh, it feels like things stopped misfiring inside. I used to feel a lot of misfiring from my head towards my body with the akathisia, the brain zaps and the muscle twitching, and now it feels like it's calm, normal, like it should be. I'm begging God for it to stay like that, I really hope so! 


 


Yes, there are risks, I also got scared with things that I read abut people losing very many important memories. I had my birthday on July 27 and I don't remember anything about it, except for pictures that were taken. However I don't mind, I will have many other birthdays to come, and my family told me I had a better time on this year's birthday than last's ones (because last one I was suffering WD symptoms). So, I think I was lucky I had such good results with ECT and that my memory loss was not too bad and is coming back. But yes, there are risks, one has to be really desperate and akathisia was making me beyond miserable and desperate (among other symptoms). 


 


Stan, 


I don't say I am cured. Depression might come back or other symptoms, who knows. But it does feel like things have improved A LOT. Like Vonnegutjunky says, they were srri's, they did cause a lot of damage but it does feel like things have reset inside my brain. It feels good. I don't know what will happen later on, but for now I'm enjoying how good it feels to finally feel like my brain is balanced, however long it lasts. :)


 


I used to be unable to tolerate many meds and supplements after WD. Supposedly now I might be able to tolerate them again, like for example Fish oil or Magnesium. However, I don't want to push my luck, I'm going to wait for a while before trying supplements again. 

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Just saw you online..I'm so happy for you :)

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are you taking anything now?  Did the Dr who prescribed and administered it say it was for withdrawal related symptoms or was he treating depression?

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Thank you Love&Light, I'm trying to catch up a little bit with everyone else here :)

 

 

Peggy, 

 

I'm not taking anything right now. The doctor says he's not giving me any medications right now for a while. I don't know if I'll need meds in the future, I hope not. I will probably try other natural things first before trying medications again. The Dr. who administered the therapy did it mainly for the akathisia but he knew the depression would also lift because he has seen it happen with other of his patients. 

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Great news, I'm so happy you found something that helped. Now I'm considering ECT too. 

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Not to rain on Claudia's parade, I truly hope that the treatments have benefited her, but two days after her last treatment is not enough time to declare a success story.  Despite the advances in ECT treatment techniques the mechanism by which they work is still unknown and their effects on ADWD even less so.  Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, I suggest that we step back and watch what happens over the next weeks and months and then start asking questions.  Even with the new safeguards and refined techniques these are still highly dangerous treatments and not to be taken lightly.  Claudia did her research and sole searching and decided that in her case it was worth the risk.  I don't see this as a panacea and don't want to see anyone injured by making a "knee jerk me too" decision.

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Good for you Claudia , and thankyou for being brave enough to share your experience.

:D

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What

Hi,

 

i read your blog intro, since 2001 you are taking heavy psychotropics, until 21 july this year, you say having severe symptomes and taking daily drugs...

 

you say you made 10 ect end july and a week after you are cured 

 

???????

 

has the ECT made you something in your brain???

 

madre mia

Hardly heavy psychotropics- she was using ssri's- none of those drugs she was on were considered heavy but psychiatric standards

She developed treatment resistant depression and got ect - I don't doubt for one second it didn't work- there is a lot of evidence that it intact does work, and even better now than it used to since it is much kore localized

 

 

 

you speak as my doctor or my psychiatrist who put me on these heavy toxics 

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I knew there would be different opinions about this, that's why I was not so sure about sharing it. But I feel so good, that I don't really mind some people talking negatively about this. And though I know it has its risks, I think it might be nice if someone could also benefit from this therapy. 


 


Sorry if I repeat myself, I still sometimes forget what I have already said, still recovering my memory. 


 


 


bluebalu86 


I do recommend ECT a lot if you are desperate, suffering daily and almost all day long, when you have already tried EVERYTHING for a VERY LONG TIME, when you can't tolerate supplements and more meds, and when you wish you want to die both because of your physical and emotional symptoms. 


 


 


brassmonkey, 


Yes, I suppose you are right. My last treatmet was on Wednesday. I keep feeling very good, actually better as the days go by, I suppose because the memory thing is coming back and the side effects from the therapy are dissappearing and also the nightmare thing is staying behind. You're right, I did a lot of research for a very long time on this, and I was SO SO SO desperate and suffering so much that I finally decided to do this, not caring if I would be further damaged or not, that's how badly depressed and desperate with my akathisia and other symptoms I was. You're right it's too soon to declare it a success story, we will have to wait more time and see what happens in the future. But for now I'm enjoying the benefits I got from ECT. 


 


Fresh, 


Thank you so much! You were an angel and very supportive through all of this. :) 


 


Stan, 


I don't know if it's the ECT or what, but I find your comments very funny haha :) I decided to change my signature and instead of putting "cured" I wrote "took away my protracted withdrawal…." because you're right, we don't know if I'm cured, but at least I'm not having the symptoms right now and it feels like I won't have them for a long time.   :)


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Cdav,

 

A close friend had ect many years ago for very severe depression that was treatment resistant. Before depression and ect, she was a very outgoing, beautiful and intelligent young lady.

After ect, she still is all of those. She has some memory gaps about her early childhood, but, that is all.

She is married, has a child, and recently retired from a career in healthcare. Hers is still a success story three decades later.

 

I totally admire her guts, and yours also, Cdav.

I wish the best for you !

 

????RB

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What a nice message, thank you very much Road Back :) 

 

Hugs! 

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Cdav, I am ecstatic for you on the disappearing of the wd symptoms. I hope you continue feeling better and get the things you want to do.

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Purplestar22!

 

Me too! I'm crossing my fingers and I'm praying for things to stay the way they are right now! I still cannot believe I had all these improvements. 

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I wanted to share the links of the abstracts of the scientific articles I found about ECT helping akathisia and also tardive dystonia and tardive dykinesia… like I had mentioned before, it also helped with other withdrawal symptoms in my case plus depression, but perhaps these links might be of interest to some, so I'going to paste them here. 

 

http://journals.lww.com/clinicalneuropharm/Abstract/1986/12000/Disappearance_of_Akathisia_Following.9.aspx

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4086770/

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Stan , I don't think it's reasonable to ask Cdav to comment on any of the millions of articles we can find about the problems with ECT.

She has provided some relevant information for people like you , who may think no-one has anything good to say about it.

 

I'm liking your new avatar Cdav.  Thanks for the info.

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thanks for your opinion fresh, but i wanted cdav opinion, as some people may also be pushed to try, maybe myself, because i am still in withdrawal after 6,5 years off

 

as she has much studied the ECT thing, i think it is interesting to have her opinion, because you have not tried ECT, but she has...

 

and David HEALY is also for ECT...Healy is recognyzed for his work

 

until now i do never study it, i was against because electricity, it was not intelligent from me,  and in forums do not find much people who tried ECT, in paxilprogress i remember one old woman from canada but she had many diseases, i forget name

 

maybe i have to close my mouth, i do not know

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there are many opponents to ECT; and then there are many who report seemingly miraculous results.  I read a book by called Struck by Living and thought that if I was ever in the throws of deep depression i might consider ECT.  Perhaps the success is more in the knowledge and skills of the administrator.  One would think there is a special art to deciding where to place electrodes and how much to administer.

 

ECT makes some sense to me; in as much that our brain activity IS electrical and perhaps a jolt 'resets' and helps the brain to go back to normal?  

 

I know a lady who had a lot of ECT about 35 years ago, bilateral and heavy - she is damaged from it and I am sure if she was my only example i would stay well away. I also watched a documentary on ECT a year or so ago, they had a panel consisting of a damaged person, a recovered person and for and against doctors.  Worthwhile noting that the damaged person was from ECT administered a long time ago - this person did say that despite the damage (memory loss) the depression was improved and that outweighed the damage.

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Perhaps I jumped the gun , I didn't read the whole article , just the first few lines.  Sorry Stan.   There are other forms of electrical therapy

to consider that you can do at home , like Cranial Electro Stimulation (CES) therapy.  I've been doing that and it's my own little miracle.

There's a thread about different devices and people's experiences here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4829-alpha-stim-fisher-wallace-sota-biotuner-pons-and-similar-devices/

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Stan, 


 


Thank you for the link with the articles. however I'd rather not read them though, because I don't want to get scared or paranoid. I know there are risks with ECT, I know there are people who have been damaged by it, I know it's a last resort kind of therapy. Like Peggy says there are opponents and there are people who have found it miraculous like I did. But I'd rather stay with the benefits and consider myself lucky that I didn't have any damage and my memory is coming back rather fast. 


 


I do have to confess though, the only problem I experienced and it was not easy to deal with it, (I had already talked about this before) is  I think about around treatment 6 I started to get VERY scared of the treatments due to the problem I had with the anaesthesia and the vivid nightmare I had related to this. So, the problem with that right now are two things, 1) I still feel a little bit scared when I go to sleep, like some kind of PTSD, and second, if for some reason I need to have surgery in the future I might feel scared to have to go through general anesthesia again. Oh, but well… yes, the benefits outweigh these negative things COMPLETELY, in my opinion. But I wanted you to know it's not all perfect. 


 


I'm sure some people are quite unlucky and do get deeply damaged, but from what I've read (which is a lot) most people report very good results, side effects like memory loss don't last too long, and there is no real structural brain damage. 


 


Actually, I've also read that many people improve their scores in intelligence tests and concentration after ECT because the psychiatric illness impairs their attention and concentration. Today I was able to verify this fact myself first hand because I'm a musician, I usually play the piano and sing, but I've been trying for two years to improve my guitar skills, something that always was really hard for me due to my WD symptoms not letting me focus on learning new things. I often had to cancel my lessons with my guitar teacher due to my health issues. But now, in just two hours I was able to sit down, learn and practice what I would usually learn and practice during a whole month and with A LOT of effort. So I'm surprised. I'm also a singining teacher, I vocalize students with my keyboard, I was afraid I was going to forget my keyboard skills and the vocalizing exercises, but today I resumed activities with some of my students, and everything went perfect, I had no problems of any kind, actually I enjoyed myself more than before. 


 


So, yes, there have to be many risks of course, but if you are desperate, and you have tried everything, I think it is a good option. Like I said before, I didn't care about the risks, that's how depressed and desperate I was with my symptoms, and thankfully I was lucky enough to not have any damage. 


 


Now I just have to wait for my mind to get over the trauma that I experienced with the anaesthesia thing, that's the only thing, but still it doesn't compare with the suffering I had with WD.


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But Stan, I just wanted to add, if you are focusing so much on the negative things ECT can cause and it scares you, then I don't think it's a good idea you do it. You have to be 100% convinced that it will be beneficial to you and you have to focus on the success stories, not the tragic ones. That's my opinion. 

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Thank you on the compliment on my new avatar Fresh :)

 

Yes, like Fresh says, CES is a very good therapy too, it works very well for some, it didn't for me, but I think CES has to be tried before ECT. 

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Okay folks, None of us here are experts on either ECT or CES.  We are all wanting to learn more about the possible benefits and dangers of both of these treatments.  But we need to do so in a civil manner.  This thread is bordering on the hostile and that is  unacceptable.

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thank you very much CDAV, for explaining all this, 

 

i wish you to heal your fear from anesthesia, but look, i do not make ECT, and fear from anesthesia... 

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Peggy: 

 

 i think that ECT has been refined a lot in the last few years and is much more targeted with lots less side effects.  

 

VonnegutJunky:

 

 

there is a lot of evidence that it intact does work, and even better now than it used to since it is much kore localized 

 

 

This is an illusion.  The sedation is better, but the juice is turned up higher.  As far as "more targeted," well, you can do unilateral or bilateral, but the efficacy of unilateral (one side of the brain) is questioned in some circles.  Was Cdav's treatment unilateral?  Or bilateral?

 

If "more localized" is more specific than "unilateral" (one side of the brain) I'd like to know about it.  Otherwise, it sounds like medical propaganda to me.  It's not like they are hooking up the frontal lobe to the amygdala, and giving a jolt to the occipitus and pineal glands…..  No.  Not particularly "localized." 

 

My take on this is yogic in nature.  There are 2 ways to feel bliss:  energy leaving you, and energy coming into you.  Any movement of energy is blissful.

 

In most cases - except for extreme ones - ECT relief of symptoms has a higher price than its benefit.  If it saves your life, I suppose.  Maybe it would've saved my ex-husband when he became "treatment resistant."   Saying that it "fixed" akathisia (especially in under 3 months, which is about the time the "numbness" from ECT lasts) is like saying that a general anaesthetic cured your headache.  Sure, you don't feel it anymore, but -

 

There is a remote possibility that by searing some neurons, you slowed or stopped neurogenesis, and achieved some remission of symptoms.  Sometimes we do have too many (or too sensitive) neurons, and this can cause symptoms (if I understand Alto correctly).

 

Believe me, I considered ECT at one point, and I've said soothing things to parents who were about to put their daughter through involuntary ECT….you know, that "it's better than it used to be, the old ways are gone."

 

But in my estimation, the old ways are disguised by anaesthetics and anti-emetics, and the damage is higher - stronger current because the drugs deaden the ECT response, so they turn up the juice.

 

Like with anything, there will always be fans of a technique, supplement, medicine, treatment.

 

But in my book, the improvement seen from ECT is more likely to be "bliss of energy depletion" rather than "bliss of energy evolution."

 

Brassmonkey is right - cdav has reported something that she believes has helped her.  And she must have been in a lot of pain to try something so difficult.  It is my hope that her window lasts a long, long, time - and I'm sorry that she had to go through all she did to get to this place.

 

But to hear Blue - as much as she's been suffering - to say, "OH I must try that!" scares the holy pants off of me.  It is not a decision to be taken lightly.  Not the same as say, trying a CES machine, which is non-invasive, or a supplement that you can quit.  It makes possibly permanent changes.  It is up to the individual to decide if those unknown changes are worth the risk in order to get benefit.

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