Amanda’s ECT Experience

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Why did you have ECT?

I was suffering from Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia and OCD.

So the doctor said any way.

Over a course of 2 years I went from being on 2 medications to 12.

It got so bad that I didn’t want to get out of bed anymore.

I was never suicidal, I just couldn’t function.

I had a 13 year long career working for the Government and I was desperate to try anything to get me to snap out of it.

So my doctor suggested ECT.

If you can remember, how many ECT treatments did you have?

I had about 60 to 65 treatments. Twice a week for about 8 months.

Over what time span, if you can remember?

I think I started in August of 2016 April 2017.

Do you remember what type of ECT you had? (bilateral, unilateral, mixed )

Bilateral.

What side-effects did you experience? 

I always had headaches after and dizziness.

They actually prescribed me Toradol for the headaches and Vyvanse because I was always so out of it.

I noticed my memory loss after the first few treatments.

My entire past pre to treatment is a blur and I still have trouble with my short term memory.

It has been very hard.

I had to resign from working for the Government and I lost everything.

I have had to start all over again.

I am currently on no medication and have been for a year now and I’m much better mentally.

I just have trouble with my memory still.

Did any of these side effects resolve? If so, over what period of time?

Headaches went away. Dizziness went away shortly after I stopped treatments.

Did you tell your doctor about these-side effects? If so how did he respond?

They told me it was temporary.

If you told your doctor (or other professional), how did he/she respond?

They told me it was temporary and since I still wasn’t getting better that I shouldn’t stop treatments.

Were you able to get any cognitive testing? If so, what kind of testing and what were the results?

No.

How has your life changed since ECT?

As I said I lost everything. I have had to start over. I’m still trying to get my life back together.

Do you feel you were adequately informed about ECT’s risks and efficacy?

Yes.

Was the diagnosis used to justify ECT correct?

I think so.

What would you tell someone considering ECT?

It’s not worth it. Memories are a big part of who you are. It also affects everyday life. I have to write everything down now, I’m 35.

 I truly believe I wasn’t getting better because of all the medications they had me on.  

I was on 12 psych medications at one time. 

 Now that I have been off all the medications for over a year now, I am doing much better. 

 I think I just want people to know is that no matter how hard things get, its not worth giving up your memories and forgetting a part of who you are. 

I also struggle with short term memory loss and it’s very frustrating sometimes.  

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