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cathy, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience:  MS., MS.Ed., 30 years clinical and administrative experience in psychiatry and mental health
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My mother (85 years old) had ECT Therapy last summer August/September)

Customer Question

My mother (85 years old) had ECT Therapy last summer August/September) for severe depression at a hospital in New Hampshire. It worked very well. She has just completed 8 more sessions in a hospital in Florida (they live in both places, winter or summer) The results are very different. She is very tired after this second go round and still has memory loss, neither of which happened in New Hampshire (though we know memory loss is a side effect). They were both bilateral treatments. What could account for this difference; machine used;intensity;? Thanks.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  cathy replied 5 years ago.

cathy :

Hi and thanks for writing JA

cathy :

are you there customer?

Expert:  cathy replied 5 years ago.

Hi and I am sorry we were not able to connect in chat.


I read your post and hope your Mom is doing well. You know I have had a similar experience. I was a supervisor on a psych unit in NYC for ten years beginning the mid nineties and I worked for a physician, chair of our department, who practiced ECT. I had such a hard time with the procedure as I came out of school in the seventies when it was still such a stigmatized procedure. I assisted on over 100 ECT treatments in my tenure at that hospital only after I witnessed such extraordinary "miraculous" improvements that I had no choice but to change my position on the treatments.


That said, when I moved, five years ago, to MA, I had a number of clients who had also undergone ECT here who exhibited multiple side effects I had not seen in my ten years in NYC.


I assisted on over 100 ECT treatments in NYC wherein all my patients had short term memory loss and NO long term loss. I have assisted on no treatments in MA and all my clients report long term memory loss.

I can only speak from my own experience and as I said before

I was a skeptic

but I would have to say that the differences have to do with the practitioner.


When I first assisted on ECT, I worked with a then APA president who was very conservative. When he invoked the seizure he was very conservative and very careful and we "worked up" the patient for days. My "assist" was sixteen pages long and very strict. Needless to say I worked for a very esteemed but old school doctor who was very cautious and careful. I have since seen some ECT protocols that my former supervisor would have never approved.


I am happy to opt out on this and let other experts weigh in as I have only had experience with a few over a hundred patients but my thoughts are the practitioner who determines voltage, treatment and recovery.

Let me know if that helps?

Warm regards,


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