Electroconvulsive Therapy Shock Treatments
What is Electroconvulsive Therapy? Remember that scene from the movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, or just look at the photo above, when Jack Nicholson character was strapped to a table and had electricity run through the two electrodes attached to his head? Well welcome to the wonderful world of Electroconvulsive Therapy or Shock Treatments and they are still being used in a psychiatric hospital near you. In this article I will outline the use of Electroconvulsive Therapy and my personal experiences undergoing shock treatments
- When Is Electroconvulsive Therapy Used?
- How Does Electroconvulsive Therapy Work
- Electroconvulsive Therapy Procedure
- Aftermath Of Electroconvulsive Therapy
- Memory And Electroconvulsive Therapy
- Number Of Electroconvulsive Therapy Treatments
- How Effective Electroconvulsive Therapy
- Why Would Anyone Volunteer For Electroconvulsive Therapy
- What Happened To Me My ECT Experience
When Is Electroconvulsive Therapy Used?
Now everyone who enters a psych ward suffering from depression will not partake the wonderful experience that is Electroconvulsive Therapy but for those whose brains are not reacting in the way that the people in the white coats hoped for than you may be a candidate for Electroconvulsive Therapy. ECT is reserved for severe depression where normal courses of treatment have proved to be ineffective
How Does Electroconvulsive Therapy Work
I have asked several doctors, nurses and mental health therapists this very question over the years and none of them could give me a straight answer. The best explanation I have ever heard is like your computer suddenly developing an error so you quickly reboot the device in the hope that the computer fixes the error. Not a great explanation to volunteering to having electricity run through your brain sending your body into convulsions but hey what are you going to do
Electroconvulsive Therapy Procedure
So your person in the white coat has determined that you are a great candidate for Electroconvulsive Therapy, basically nothing else is working, and it begins with a second person in a white coat conducting a brief interview to see if he or she agrees. If you have successfully passed the second interview now it begins to get scary. I should note before I continue each hospital have their own procedures when determine whether a patient is a good candidate for Electroconvulsive Therapy.
At my local psych ward they have you watch a twenty-minute video on the horrors that is Electroconvulsive Therapy and the long list of potential side effects that may occur. So after the video scared the heck out of you they present you with a waiver that they have you read every, single word. The waiver basically says that there is the potential of bruises, sore muscles, broken teeth and possible death. FML.
The day of the procedure the people in the white coats wake you up nice and early then lead you down to sit outside of the treatment room. Depending on how many people are undergoing treatments that day depends on how apprehensive you become before you are led into the room. Once inside the room you lay down on the bed and are surrounded by the head guy in the white coat, two minor people in white coats and the guy who knocks you out (for the life of me I can not spell this particular doctor name). So they give you the medication to put you to sleep, put a mouth guard in, hold you down and then send a jolt of electricity through your brain producing a convulsion that lasts between ten and twenty seconds. Once your body quits shaking you are brought back to your room and you wake up hours later.
There are two types of Electroconvulsive Therapy (A) Unilateral (B) Bilateral . The main difference is where the electrodes are placed. For unilateral both of the electrodes are placed on the same side of the head whereas bilateral one electrode is placed on each side of the head.
Aftermath Of Electroconvulsive Therapy
The people in the white coats have transferred you back to your room and when you wake up the first thing that you notice is your head really hurts. Feels like you went on a bender and not only do you have the headache from hell you can not remember a darn thing. What else becomes apparent is that every muscle in your body is not happy either as it kind of feels like you spent too much time in the gym or were run over by a truck. A whole lot of unhappy muscles.
Memory And Electroconvulsive Therapy
It is really common to lose the memories surrounding the actual treatments and honestly they are not something that you want to remember. For some people they may lose days or weeks around their treatments and in rare cases they may lose a whole heck of a lot more. Over time my memories surrounding the treatments has come back but it took a number of years and who knows how accurate they are
Number Of Electroconvulsive Therapy Treatments
This is not a treatment that you do once than walk away but a mental health treatment that you undergo three times a week with the goal being fifteen to twenty treatments. For some people they may undergo maintenance treatments once or twice a month afterwards for length periods of time
How Effective Electroconvulsive Therapy
This is a difficult question to answer. I know people who swear that it was the only thing that actually worked when treating their severe depression and on the other hand I know people it did not make a bit of difference. When asked I point out that this form of mental health treatment has been used for decades so the numbers must support a positive result
Why Would Anyone Volunteer For Electroconvulsive Therapy
If you have to ask this question then you have never experienced severe depression. When you have been fighting the black cloud for such a long time you are willing to do anything to get out of it. Let’s make this clear in most countries Electroconvulsive Therapy is completely voluntarily whereas the patient must willingly agree to the procedure. There are risks to this particular treatment and a bit of a gamble as well
What Happened To Me My ECT Experience
During my first psych ward stay it was suggested that I go through Electroconvulsive Therapy and I agreed for nothing else was working. I went through seven sessions over three weeks and it was determined the results they were hoping for were not present. I was also taking longer and longer to wake up from the anesthesia so it was stopped
During my second psych ward stay I wanted to try it again as again nothing was working. Due to my problems with the drugs given during the procedure this time it was done in an operating room. After the convulsion was completed I stopped breathing and had to be bagged for thirty seconds or so until my brain remembered how. Needless say that was the last Electroconvulsive Therapy session I had