Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.
ECT therapy is available but it can cause permanent damage. particularly memory loss or memory lapses. Furthermore, there is much evidence to show that this therapy is not long-lasting, and sometime down the line, maybe just months, she might require more.
There are alternatives to the risky ECT that you are contemplating.
It is hard to predict what medicines or treatments work for whom, and for how long, and whether or not they work best by themselves or in conjunction with other medications and treatments. There are other medications and approaches to treatment resistant bipolar
depression, in addition to the antidepressants that she has already tried.
Many patients have success with the MAOI class of antidepressants (Monoamine Oxide Inhibitors). Such drugs would include tranylcypromine (Parnate) and phenelzine sulfate, and they are often prescribed as a choice of last resort because they can have dangerous side effects and cannot be mixed with certain foods (aged cheeses, pickles, wine) and some decongestants.
A newer, very promising MAOI is worn as a skin patch and has fewer side effects; it is called selegiline HCl.
Another very new drug, given by the brand name isXXXXX has promising results and you may want to inform you physician if s(he) doesn't know about it. Here is a link:
Another new antidepressant is agomelatine, which has no apparent side effects and has had some very positive anecdotal feedback.
Another option is implanting a micro-pulse generator that stimulates the vagus nerve to affect the brain's mood centers. This is yet another way to treat chronic depression that is resistant to treatment.
Finally, there is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, using electromagnets which are placed on your forehead in order to produce an electric current in your brain for the purpose of affecting those same mood centers.
You have an array of options to consider and balance the costs in your money, time, and other considerations, against the history of failed drug treatment.
I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX have been of assistance to you. If this is enough information to get you motivated and give you some hopeful options, then I wish you the very best.
Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC