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Topic: ECT treatment

  1. danman
    danman avatar
    7 posts
    21 June 2016 in reply to Lolaandelvis

    Hi there,

    Glad to hear everything is starting off well for you.

    Would be very interested to hear whether you are in a public or a private facility for your ECT treatment?

    I had a very frustrating experience with a private facility in Melbourne and actually checked myself out after 2 days after being continually frustrated by the lack of care and organisation of the staff.

    It sounds like you are getting good treatment and assistance from all the staff which certainly helps a great deal.

    Keep me posted


  2. kitkatsoppy
    kitkatsoppy avatar
    24 posts
    11 February 2017 in reply to danman

    Hi again,

    It has now been more than 4 and a half years since I had my ECT treatments. My short term memory is still just as bad as when I received my treatment back then. I still have problems remembering things at work and when I am having simple conversations with people. For example, I always have to ask the person if I said a particular thing to them or not (which is very frustrating for me).

    I guess the ECT literally resetted my brain, but it hasn't totally cured my schizophrenia or depression at all. I just guess I will hang in there and see if they have any other medications or whatnot out in the market. However, I don't think I will be young enough to be cured or managed better. Oh well lol

  3. Ovait
    Ovait avatar
    34 posts
    3 February 2018


    I recently underwent 12 sessions of ECT, the first 9 as unilateral & the last 3 bilateral. I was very wary of having the procedure & even though I was a voluntary inpatient at the time, I was led to believe that if I refused consent it would be taken to the tribunal who would approve it, so I was just wasting time.

    Two months after my last session I am still experiencing memory loss ( I have very little memory of the 3 months I spent in hospital), I have word finding difficulties, trouble multitasking, trouble reading - I understand the individual words but the sentence won’t make sense, & trouble dividing my attention particularly in a noisy environment. Unfortunately for me, my job involves me reading & doing 3 things at once in a noisy environment.

    I don’t feel that the ECT has made any great improvement but left me with a whole lot of deficits that now threaten my job security.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. StillKicking
    StillKicking avatar
    29 posts
    2 July 2018

    I had 12 ECT sessions in about 2007 and I regret it. There was a lot i didn't know. It was touted as the way to get me back on track quickly and I'd already had around 20 years of struggling with it. I hoped it would be a bit of a miracle cure. Instead it damaged my brain and i haven't worked since. It affected the word area of my brain and i in my job as a technical writer that was kind of important. Even to make internet posts I get frustrated and need to refer to a thesaurus regularly. It did weird things to my sense of smell too but fortunately that abated after a few months. My short term memory was also affected.

    I'm not telling anyone they shouldn't do it, as it obviously works for some people or they wouldn't keep doing it. Although while i was an inpatient they kept recording my mood as improving, but that was more from the fact that I was being looked after and daily stressors had reduced so I'm probably recorded as a success. After the treatments i also found out that you're supposed to go for regular follow up treatments but I will never go through that again. I since found out that ECT isn't as effective on atypical depression, which is what I have. I also discovered that i had further diagnoses which if detected earlier and treated would have made a difference. What i needed was practical support, not brain damage that left me permanently scarred.

    Make sure it's your informed decision to go into it. Be prepared to lose memory. Ironically the only clear memory of the prior year is them telling me that it might make me forget the morning of each procedure but instead I lost about a year of memory that never returned and it's freaky having people tell you things and showing you photos of stuff you have no memory of. Please do your homework, explore other options and get a second opinion if you're not sure. My treatment-resistant depression remains treatment-resistant. I've also suffered permanent side effects from medication so everything has a risk, just be aware of the risks involved in every treatment so you can make the best possible decision for yourself.

  5. kitkatsoppy
    kitkatsoppy avatar
    24 posts
    17 March 2019

    Hi yet again - it has now been nearly seven years now since I had ECT treatment.

    With my memory, my ability to remember things is vastly improving, but I still have several periods of my life that have been wiped out of my memory. At least though, I have two hobbies of mine that I still enjoy - playing music, and doing maths problems.

    I was playing a musical instrument in a couple of bands in 2017 and 2018. I admit that I do still have the ability to play music quite well still, which gives my brain a workout if I am playing a piece of music difficult.

    Anyway, I was at a bookstore the other day, and I purchased a maths/calculus textbook. I have no idea why I bought this textbook, but I had a crack at it, and I could actually answer some *not many lol* of the questions in the book! I found out on my own that my memory seems to be working for me again, and that I can solve some maths problems.

    Finally, after all of this time, I really can't say where I would be without my ECT treatment being performed way back seven years ago. It was the only thing that the doctors could do, because apparently I was in the too-hard basket. I really hate having periods of my life gone because of my dodgy memory though. I am getting better with names and things like that, but I still have a lot of short term memory trouble when I am talking to somebody face to face.

    These days, I am taking 8 different medications for various things, and I have finally been starting to do exercise each day and watching my food for two months now. I do think that exercise has helped me out, and has helped my brain to actually think for once.

    Like I said, I really don't know where I would be now if I didn't have ECT performed on me - I would probably have killed myself by now.

  6. Paw Prints
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Paw Prints avatar
    1689 posts
    5 April 2019 in reply to kitkatsoppy

    Hello everyone,

    Reading through these posts I was surprised at how many people regretted getting ECT. For me it was a life saver literally & I'm very glad I had it.

    Yes I have some memory problems, I have little memory of when I was on the Psych ward or the following few months. I also have some memory problems with repetitive tasks as my brain doesn't seem to date/time stamp all my memories so for example I often don't know if I have fed the dog or if my memory of feeding him was from another day. I have also forgotten some things that have happened since the ECT, but very few.

    I forget things I meant to get when shopping & leave myself notes to remind me of things, but my sister who has never had ECT has the same memory problems & solutions. So how much of my memory problems is ECT & how much is just getting older the culprit.

    Before ECT the meds weren't working & I was a danger to myself, since ECT well I'm not cured but now the meds help & I'm not so far down in the dark that I can't see.

    Would I ever have it again? The answer is a definite yes if it was thought I needed it.

  7. Montana
    Montana avatar
    10 posts
    16 April 2019

    I've had ECT. I get regular convulsions that must be similar to light epileptic fits or seizures. It's been probably more than a year since my last course and I still get them...

    I hope your dog never doesn't get fed on account of your success with ECT. Not really a success for him or her if that's the case.

    Has your sister or yourself ever considered different herbs that might be useful in building short term memory capacity?

  8. Paw Prints
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Paw Prints avatar
    1689 posts
    17 April 2019 in reply to Montana

    Hello Montana,

    It must be very distressing for you to still be getting convulsions, are there no treatments the Drs can offer that would help you manage/stop them, such as epilepsy meds.

    My dog would never be not fed, apart from him nagging me I also mark on the calendar in the kitchen each time I feed him so I have a way of confirming each feed. I find my memory lapses are worse when I have not been eating/sleeping well.

    Hope you find a way to control the seizures.

    Best Wishes

    Paw Prints

  9. Montana
    Montana avatar
    10 posts
    5 May 2019 in reply to Paw Prints
    Alright, so I let the doctors give me epilepsy then prescribe me epilepsy medication? My weak understanding is that if you are sleep deprived, which I was, they shouldn't even let you sign the form to have it. My response to it was quite different to most of the other patients. I'd also be interested in seeing a study on the contrasting effects of laying on of the hands vs ECT to see if they results differ. My belief, is that it's the close contact with humans and the care that makes the difference not the ECT. I get the history of ECT and a slap in the face can wake anybody up but I'm sure there are gentler ways to do it...
  10. Shan94
    Shan94 avatar
    1 posts
    6 June 2019


    I just had 12 treatments of ECT about a month ago, and am struggling to remember any of these year, is that supposed to happen? My dr said my memory when I'm undergoing the treatment and two weeks either side will be affected but it's still causing issues now. The worst thing though is that nothing improved after the treatments, in fact I'd say I am feeling even worse

  11. Ovait
    Ovait avatar
    34 posts
    15 June 2019 in reply to Shan94

    Hi Shan,

    I had 12 rounds of ECT 18 months ago while I was an involuntary inpatient in hospital. I have very little memory of my 3 month hospital stay ( I didn’t even know the doctor who had been treating me!) & it’s sketchy for a few weeks after. My memory for things before ECT is pretty good. I don’t think it helped me at all & the more I read about ECT the more I feel completely violated. My short term memory, concentration & focus since is considerably worse then pre ECT. I’m told this is just the depression...except I wasn’t this bad pre ECT. I don’t believe it helps everyone. I believe the research that shows it causes brain damage that (supposedly) makes you feel slightly euphoric afterwards but as your brain heals (neurogenisis) the depression comes back.

    Have you got a psychologist to chat with? I find talking to mine so much more helpful than the ECT ever was. I hope things settle for you.

  12. Guest_0986
    Guest_0986 avatar
    1 posts
    13 October 2019

    In 2017 I had 12 sessions of ECT, and to date I'm still having issues with my memory.

    No professional I have spoken to can assist with this. I started work 13 months ago and to be able to function I have to write in a notebook. Even writing in that doesn't help as my boss will say I explained this all to you last week, you have to do better.

    For four weeks now i have been going to a gym twice a week, the nutritionist has given me a meal plan.

    That's not helping either.

    Has someone else had this experience?

  13. Mona Lisa
    Mona Lisa  avatar
    1 posts
    28 January 2020
    12 ect rounds last year. About a month of short term memory loss. Not completely sure it helped but hitting rock bottom again and no one seems .to have any idea other than to offer 6months of maintenance treatment of one a week. Makes no sense to me.
  14. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    436 posts
    1 February 2020 in reply to Mona Lisa

    Hi Mona Lisa,

    Great to see you writing in. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling like you are hitting rock bottom again after a year of ECT and that the only solutions presented to you are more ECT treatments.

    I wonder if you have considered a second opinion on finding out what other treatment solutions are out there for you?

    It is great that you are reaching out for support here on the forum. Besides using ECT last year, are there any other things that have helped you when you are feeling low?

    Sometimes writing out your feelings can help and I encourage you to use the forum if you feel comfortable doing this.

    You are not alone. We are here and we are listening.

    Nurse Jenn

  15. Kmmmmm
    Kmmmmm avatar
    3 posts
    27 February 2020

    Hello everyone,

    I have never tried ect or tms but from what you guys have said it is a really bad option.

    i have been treated for my depression for 7 years. I’ve committed to multiple forms or psychotherapy, taken every class of antidepressant on the market, taken up yoga and running, adjusted my diet, quit smoking.

    I have a limited support network. Most of my friends have disappeared as they were sick of the same story or felt I was a negative person. I have my dad, but I know I need to get well so that I can care for him. He is getting older now and I am in my 30s.

    i am trying everything I know how, I really want to remember what it is like to feel well. I wish I could remember what it was like to enjoy something. I am really loosing hope. I know I can’t fight this forever.

    what can I do ? Does anyone know something that can help?

    1 person found this helpful
  16. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    436 posts
    1 March 2020 in reply to Kmmmmm

    Hi Kmmmmm,

    Its great to see you reaching out here on the forum and it sounds like you have a lot of insight and experience in seeking treatment. It sounds like you have made a huge effort to get your mood on track and well done for taking big steps such as quitting smoking, starting some exercise and changing your diet. You must be really frustrated doing all these changes and not having the right level of improvement in your symptoms. I wonder if you have ever kept a mood journal and tracked your mood daily to see if there are any specific triggers. There is a few mood tracking apps like Daylio that some people find helpful.

    I haven't had very much experience with TMS (Transcranical Magnetic Stimulation) however there are some other threads on the forum where people have had good experiences with the treatment. I think the most frustrating thing I have read about it on the forum is that TMS is not covered by Medicare at the moment. You can have a look by using the search bar above and looking up TMS.

    ECT is a treatment I have had a lot of experience with and there are both pros and cons to this type of intervention. Your health professional (GP, Psychiatrist) would be best placed to discuss with you the impact of ECT treatment and the side effects that can occur.

    There are some other treatments that you haven't listed that some people find helpful, such as Mindfulness. I wonder if this is something you have ever tried or discussed with your Health Professional?

    I also wonder if you have tried group therapy - sometimes being in a group can help with symptoms as well as improve your support network through having a shared experience. The forum is great place for this as well. There are often group therapy sessions available for low mood or anxiety. Perhaps discuss this at your next health professional appointment to see if there are any in your area.

    You are not alone in struggling to find the right fit in a treatment that resolves your symptoms. Persistence and support are key in searching out what you need. We are here, and listening.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

  17. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11264 posts
    1 March 2020 in reply to Kmmmmm

    Hi Kmmmmm and everyone

    My brother had ECT and did experience some improvement afterwards...Just a note...this was for his own set of symptoms

    The forums also have an excellent thread on 'Mindfulness' and is an active discussion on the forums...Its a copy & paste link below which does provide additional clarity where Mindfulness is concerned

    my kind thoughts


    1 person found this helpful
  18. SlipperySlope
    SlipperySlope avatar
    8 posts
    18 May 2020 in reply to kitkatsoppy

    Hi Kitkat...

    ive had many rounds of ECT over a 6 year period... probably well over 100 treatments... I think I’m the long run and effect on my depression in helped a little and kept me alive because I’m fairly resistant to medications... I also didn’t have much success with TMS... however the memory effects have been shocking for me, but it seems in the opposite way to most... I have little to no memory of my childhood or years leading up to when I started having ECT. My mum tells me that my memory loss mainly became apparent when my doctor changed his approach and positioning of the electrodes to a different form of ECT. Given there are different forms that can impact memory etc differently you could have a chat to your doctor about that?
    my psychologist is wanting me to have some more now however I’m too scared of the memory loss since I’m doing well in a career that needs me to think on the spot...

  19. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    436 posts
    23 May 2020 in reply to SlipperySlope

    Hi SlipperySlope,

    Thanks for sharing your story here on this thread. It is a really important topic to give voice to as many people experience some of the impacts of ECT but go through this journey in silence.

    It's great to hear that you are going well in your career and are working collaboratively with your psychologist together to find the best strategies to keep you on your healing journey.

    Wishing you best,

    Nurse Jenn

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