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Ralph LMHC
Ralph LMHC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience:  20+ years as therapist, supervisor, clinic director at mental health, substance abuse treatment ctrs
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I have struggled with severe depression most of my life.

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Hi. I have struggled with severe depression most of my life. Last Nov., with the advice & support of my psychiatrist, I began electroconvulsive therapy. I was told to expect about 6 to 10 sessions over 6 weeks or so. I've now had 11 sessions. Some were postponed because my health insurance initially refused to pay. They've now agreed to pay 80% (so I pay $70/session)--after a $1,000 deductible. I struggle financially, so this is not peanuts. So far the results seem so-so. I notice a slight improvement, but could be placebo effect. My psychiatrist says sessions to date were spaced out more than they should've (due to health insurance issue above) and advises me to have six more. My health insurance "annual renewal" is April 1, which means I'd have to pay another $1,000 deductible (100% of 3 sessions) + $70 x 3 = $1,210, almost 1 month of my living expenses. I have problems with creditors already. Should I have more ECT or not?


You have not mentioned the short term memory loss so I assume that you are fairing well with that side effect. ECT is an extremely effective treatment for refractory depression-depression that does not respond to medicine. Usually the problem is as I said with short term memory loss, and if this is not the case I would suggest you continue because of its extremely effective results. The positive effect is not a placebo reaction, but the treatment working. If the treatments are not given on an appropriate schedule, there is severe lessening of its its effect. Therefore I would recommend a continuation of the treatment as the results can be spectacular.


Ralph LMHC

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