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Depression and ECT - Carers UK Forum

Depression and ECT

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
My wife has had depression for 22 years brought on by the loss of her mum and son.
She has had 9 different types of medication, 8 psychiatrists and every type of counselling/talk therapy..
These treatments are short term gain and she has now reached the point of dispair.
Her hope is now for ECT treatment as a last resort.
She is on primary care and the forms have been signed.
Has anyone here ever had ECT and if so what were the results please?
Hi Gavin
I don't have personal experience but I do have a good friend who had the treatment you are talking about. Her depression was less severe that your wife's by the sound of it but , but after a few weeks of hospitalisation, some shock treatment and hitting the right combination of medication (perhaps the most important bit) she has been well and stable ever since, and that was about 10 years ago now.
Just to say that I know ECT has had a 'mixed' press (!), and that's partly because its mode of action is mysterious and not well understood (like the rest of the human brain/mind of course...), but I would say 'if it works, GREAT!'.

Placebos can work, herbal thingimigigs can work, faith healing can work - and even if we don't know why, when everything hits the fan in terms of human unhappiness, I say, that it works is its justification.

I do hope that she can 'pick up' (understatement obviously), and that her life, and yours, will become easier with this treatment, or any other that can lift that dreadful weight from her.

May I just ask, though - obviously the loss of a child is a blow that is, at heart, not one that can ever be 'recovered' from (it's unnatural, and shouldn't have happened), but why was the loss of her mother so traumatic? Yes, parents die tragically prematurely sometimes (my son lost his dad while a young teenager), but it "shouldn't" be something that the human psyche cannot come to terms with, and 'accept' (in the 'steps of bereavement' sense). Of course, perhaps her death was more than premature or tragic, hence the pathological impact on your wife.

Wishing you and she all the best possible with her ECT treatment. Kind regards, Jenny
Hi Gavin,
I havent had ECT but I worked as a nurse and used to take people for ECT and monitor them in recovery.
The patients I took did not remember the procedure or recovery -it's performed under general anaesthetic so for that day your wife will be confused. Don't be alarmed, this is normal and short term, usually resolves after a day but can take a couple of days to get back to normal for older adults, particularly those 65+ Drinking plenty of fluids after will help to flush out the anaesthetic and reduce confusion.
It's common to have a course of six sessions to get the best results (Ive been out of nursing a few years and guidelines could have changed) but your wife's doctors will have discussed this with her. Every patient I took felt rotten afterwards, understandably so given they had induced seizures and anaesthesia to cope with, but the improvements were significant. You or your wife might notice an improvement in mood after only one session, or it could improve gradually after third or fourth session. Dont be disheartened if there is no difference after one session, discuss with your wife's doctors what the time frame & expectations are.
Hi and thank all of you for your response:)
Her mum passed from cancer and I believe that seeing it happen has caused the issue.. As we know, it is a long sad drawn out process which takes its toll on anyone..
However!! We are due to start ECT therapy this Tuesday coming so i will keep you updated as we go!
I have been through almost every possible remedie with Sarah over the last 12 years so it will be very interesting to see the results.. By the way, Sarah is 40 yrs of age and very intelligent..
Thank you for your kind words & taking the time to reply:)
Will be thinking of you both.

Hoping this treatment brings results.

Hi Gavin
As soon as you mentioned your wife's age one thing sprang to my mind and that is menopause. Hormones can play a huge part in mood and depression. It might be worth your wife's time to look into endocrine /hormone things but perhaps she has already explored these.
Hello again!
Thank you Melly,your a good soul:)
To answer your q Henrietta re: menopause.
Sarah has had her thyroid gland checked recently and it is working ok.
So we presume that menopause isn't the problem!
I'm learning all this as I go!
Treatment starts tomorrow morning so I will keep updating in the hope that it may help someone else in the future:)
I may well go into phsychiatry myself soon!!
Hi Gavin
Hope the treatment goes well.
I am no expert and I know a lot of thyroid problems are down to menopause but I am not sure they are mutualy exclusive. Perimenopause often kicks in up to 10 years or more before menopause is reached and it can play havoc with all sorts of things.
There is a good web site called Menopause matters which you could both look at and see if any of it rings bells.
Thank you henrietta:) I will read up on it..
Sarah had her first ECT this morning.
She came out as red as a beetroot but seems very coherent.
Her memory is still good and she remembers going to the treatment..
She says that her head feels like it's been in a vice and has a headache.
So far all minor symptoms but ( and there's always one! )
This is her first of possibly 16 sessions so her memory may worsen from what I have read..
Anyway, so far so good!
My thought of the day: every person should have someone to care for and in return have someone that cares for them:)