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Most people might be quicker to associate electroshock therapy with torture rather than healing.
During an ECT treatment, doctors jolt the unconscious patient's brain with an electrical charge, which triggers a grand mal seizure. In fact, antidepressants — the most widely used method for treating depression — don't work at all for 30 percent of patients. But some doctors and past patients say that the risks of shock therapy, such as memory loss, are too high a price to pay for the temporary benefits. Despite convulsive therapy’s 70-year history, doctors still aren’t sure exactly how ECT works to ease depression. Russell, who lives in Mill Creek, Wash., has struggled with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder since he was in high school. As his depression worsened, he was hospitalized, and at one point was on eight different antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, but none of them helped.
But not everyone responds as well as Russell, say critics of the treatment who warn that the cognitive side effects, such as memory loss, are too severe, and that the fuzzy, foggy state of mind that ECT initially causes simply makes patients temporarily forget about their sadness.
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Convulsive therapy was introduced in the mid-1930s, when scientists discovered that by triggering a seizure, they were able to shock psychiatric patients back into a functioning state of mind. During the '40s and '50s, it was one of the only available methods for treating mental illness, so it was often overused. Treatments both then and now require about the same amount of electricity — somewhere between 3 and 100 joules depending on the patient. When Russell, 43, initially was considering ECT, he and his wife, Sue, did extensive research and had lengthy conversations with his doctor about the realities of the treatment. After weighing the risks with the depression he just couldn't shake, he made an appointment with Melman, the doctor at Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center. The hospital is being renovated, which has shunted the ECT suite to a somewhat unfortunate location: the basement, just down the hall from the emergency room. A quick husband-wife huddle reminded them that they were now down to their last idea for relieving Bill's depression, because psychotherapy, medications and hospitalization hadn't helped. Melman placed one handheld electrode at the crown of Russell's head, and the other at his right temple, sending electrical currents through his brain for about 10 seconds while Russell lay perfectly still — only his right foot slightly moving.
The severity of memory loss varies from patient to patient, and in most cases it’s limited to the weeks before and after. Some former electroshock patients say that the treatment's side effects don't end with short-term memory loss. There were a few awkward exchanges in her first week back, Karen says, when she realized she had forgotten the names of certain co-workers.


Because ECT has a high relapse rate for depression, doctors prescribe psychotherapy or medications after the final ECT session.
Because so much of ECT is still not understood, and because of its stigma, some psychiatrists treat ECT as a dire last resort. Good-looking athletes seem to have it all — fame, money and often plenty of admiring women. The majority of Rodents must be at least 6 weeks old before they can leave their mothers, with the exception of Guinea Pigs which should be at least 3 weeks old, Degus, Hamsters and Gerbils which should be at least 4 weeks old and Chinchillas, Pygmy Hedgehogs and Sugar Gliders which should be at least 8 weeks old.If you believe this advertiser is letting their rodents go before our recommended ages, please report them to us. Do your research firstGetting a new rodent is a massive commitment, so make sure you have researched the breed fully and have the time and commitment necessary to care for the rodent.
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But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring. And at least one study backs that claim: In 2001, Columbia University researchers found that without follow-up medications, depression returned in 84 percent of ECT patients within six months.
After that, once the patient’s mood has reached a plateau, the psychiatrist may stop the ECT sessions and prescribe an antidepressant. Under the APA’s guidelines, an anesthesiologist, a psychiatrist and a recovery nurse must be present during a treatment, and the treatment must be voluntary, unless the patient is unable to provide informed consent. And because the treatment has lingered in the shadows of psychiatry for decades, many people still associate it with its sketchy past. It was designed to be a treatment for curing schizophrenia, but doctors found it also seemed to benefit patients with depression, bipolar disorder and catatonia.
Even when doctors adhered to the standards of the day, it was a harrowing procedure: As patients were shocked with electricity, they were wide awake, feeling their bodies' convulsions, which were sometimes severe enough to break bones.
While he was desperate to find a way out of his depression, he was still terrified of shock therapy.
While Russell had a somewhat innocuous experience, Melman recalls a former patient whose relative died during the weeks of her ECT treatments.


Juli Lawrence, who had 12 ECT treatments in 1994, says it caused long-term cognitive damage. But as no studies have established a link between ECT and long-term cognitive damage, evidence of long-term harm remains anecdotal. It tends to work best in people who’ve had a hard, fast fall into depression — people like Karen, a current patient of Melman’s. Her job as a communications liaison for a nonprofit in Seattle involves a lot of international travel, and after returning to work she had trouble recalling the details of some trips. For skeptics of ECT like Breeding, the Texas psychologist, that proves that ECT is just a quick fix, and it doesn’t work to relieve depression in the long run.
Sarah Lisanby, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, are working to find new, less traumatic therapies that rival ECT’s efficacy for relieving depression.
Instead of being considered a last option, Melman and other proponents of ECT wish that it was considered a next option.
He’s now taking antidepressants, and he’s had some bad days that brought him close to scheduling a booster ECT treatment. Stylish and durable as it's made of stainless steel, this charming toilet paper holder comes with a mounting kit. The number of patients undergoing electroconvulsive therapy, as it's formally called, has tripled to 100,000 a year, according to the National Mental Health Association. One 2006 study at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina found that ECT improved the quality of life for nearly 80 percent of patients.
If someone hasn’t responded well to antidepressants in the past, ECT won’t do anything to change that.
A muscle relaxant prevents their bodies from jerking around once the seizure is triggered; in fact, the patient hardly moves at all. They placed a blood pressure cuff on his lower right calf, preventing the muscle relaxant from flowing to his right foot, which they would rely on during the treatment to twitch and tell them when a seizure was happening. Before his wife left for work each day, she papered their home in Post-Its — Remember to take your pills!
She says she now has trouble learning new things, and she still has problems with her memory. ECT even erased an entire country from her memory — there are pictures of Karen on a trip to Ethiopia that she can’t remember at all. But both Russells say that their life is essentially back to the way it’s always been in their 12 years of marriage.
To get the look of fully completed bathroom you can add the entire collection of bathroom accessories to your Blomus Primo Wall-mounted Toilet Roll Holder. For those patients, a doctor may prescribe a different antidepressant from those that had failed before.
Or those patients may need once-a-month follow-up treatments, called maintenance ECT, which can continue for years.



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