HELP! shock therapy--- negative side effects... help!

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/15/2009 7:53 PM (GMT -6)   
i underwent 25 shock treatments two years ago to fight off a depression and depersonalization i had been suffering from for many years. i do not feel the shock treatments caused any desirable effects--- in fact, i have been suffering from many negative side effects in the two years since recivcing this "treatment" which in turn have just agitated the depression the shocks we intended to treat. i feel totally "empty headed"--- and am no longer able to visualize imagery in my head--- was a visual thinker. aside from totally changing my thought process i have suffered from ongoing severe memory and cognitive impairment. the depression and depersonalization are still there plus the side effects of the ECT--- i feel like crap and this is hell to go through.


It has just been suggested that i receive a MRI and an EEG--- to see if there is any structural damage that the ECT could have possibly caused.

I read online the other day that it isn't uncommon for ECT to cause brain shrinkage, and blood clots.--- often abnormal brain waves.

How true is this?

Has anyone had a similar reaction to ECT?

How would one get over such side effects?

If nothing shows on my neurological tests what does this mean?

i look forward to hearing peoples advice and experiences.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1190
   Posted 4/15/2009 9:30 PM (GMT -6)   

I wish I knew something about ECT in order to advise you about your concerns! The only person I knew who had undergone shock treatments was one of my grandparents, and it was many decades ago when depression was a family secret and not discussed, even among our own family members. I do want to offer my support to you in all that you're dealing with, and to encourage you to stay with us and keep posting. I hope there is another member (or members) who have knowledge and/or experience with this and can give you some helpful information. Have you scheduled the MRI and EEG tests yet? I hope you won't have to wait too long. Has your doctor given any info or advice at all about your concerns?

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42608
   Posted 4/15/2009 9:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I am sorry for what you went through with shock therapy. I have heard of people losing huge sections of their memory. And then I have heard of people that it has helped.

I can only imagine the feeling of depersonalization and the depression that you are going through. I hope that there is something that they can do to help you. Would medications help at this point? You might have to consider that now.

Keep letting your doctor know what you are going through and that you don't feel that it is right for you to feel this way. Don't let up until you are satisfied. I hope that you feel better soon.

I am glad that you have joined us here at the forum. You will find that there are a lot of wonderful members here and we are happy that you are here with us.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20279
   Posted 4/16/2009 3:44 AM (GMT -6)   

hi fivejelly, i too have had courses of treatment, ect. it is common to lose short term memory, to feel empty headed and a tad lost. in 2004 i had a course of 6, i took around 8 months to kick in. remember ect is only usually used for very severe depression. some people have maintenance ect, i have not - although some people i know feel better 4 it. the seizure we have is very mild, obviously this is dependant upon if you are having a uni or bi treatmemt. uni, singular polar of brain or bi, for both polars. i had both polars done, and when i awoke from treatment i would say am i next, each time and each time the nurse would laugh and say that i'd been done. i respect that your depression was at a very high level, 25 is a lot, obviously broken down into sections i gather, but not assuming. yeah effects can linger, but the fog does pass, i hope yours does. in terms of shrinkage and brain damage, i have not seen any peer journals or other written evidance that this is a concern, and i did my homework, before and after treatment.

since we are all unique, we expereince things differently, thus your expereince has been different to mine, i respect that. today it is a very safe proceedure and 2 do this proceedure here in oz there is a lot of medical and psychiatric protocols to go through before treatment commences. no disrespect to u, but i am not a fan of the word shock treatment. it is outdated, and for me a stigmatistic element. in the old days, well that is what is was, but we have come a long way since then. loving kindness, jamie.

iddm, major depressive disorder, severe borderline personality disorder, diabetic nuropathy, lombroscal spine, water works, & bits and pecies.

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20279
   Posted 4/16/2009 4:28 AM (GMT -6)   
obviously ect is done differently in different places, the methods may be different also, thus experiences will differ from place to place. having said this, i convey my compassion to you. with loving kindness, jamie

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/16/2009 7:35 AM (GMT -6)   


Welcome to HealingWell.  I am sorry I do not know a lot about ECT.  I had a friend who went through it 4-5 years ago and I am sure the methods they are using today have changed since you received you therapy.

I have heard that you do experience some memory loss but I have also heard good things about the treatments for treatment resistent depression.

I hope you find the answers you are looking for and my prayers are with you.

Keep talking to us as you will find much comfort here in the Depression forum.

Gentle Hugs to you.


Kitt, Co-Moderator:
Co-Moderator Depression

*~* *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources

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