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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I'm a 47yo woman suffering from clinical depression. I have

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Hi There, I'm a 47yo woman suffering from clinical depression. I have been under psychiatric care for around 8 months, trying several different medications, none of which have worked, some which gave me quite bad side effects. My Doctor has suggested that Electroconvulsive Therapy may be my best option. I trust my doctor, and I have done some research of the proceedure, but I need some other opinions on the safety and risks, and even possible alternatives. Im pretty scared about it all. Krissy

Hi there
Thanks for writing in here.
Let me ask you a question first.
Have you tried psychotherapy before?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Yes, I was in the same situation about 20 years ago. I underwent therapy (with the same doctor I am currently seeing) while trying to find a medication that worked. He came to the conclusion that I was clinicaly depressed, and didn't need therapy. When we found the combination of drugs that worked, the change was instant and great. I have also had some therapy this time, and he felt again, that my depression is clinical.

Hi there
Thanks for your response.
Do you have any medical condition?
A variety of medical condition may cause clinical depression.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, I don't have any medical conditions.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
It is understandable that you feel scared about attempting ECT. Based on past history, the procedure tends to have a bad reputation and many fear even the idea of trying it. But ECT has improved a lot over the years and is considered a safer alternative treatment when other treatments have been tried.
One of the first things you might want to consider is if you feel as your doctor does, that all possible treatments for your depression have been explored. To find out, you might want to consider seeking a second opinion. That does not mean you don't trust your doctor, but having another psychiatrist's opinion can help you make a good decision.
Alternatives to ECT are medications and therapy. You mentioned trying both with your current doctor. That is good. However, sometimes you may find that another therapist's approach may offer you more alternatives that you didn't consider and different treatment approaches that work better for you. So trying another therapist to see if that helps is another alternative.
If you feel ECT is a good option for you, then knowing all the facts can help you feel better about getting it done. Compared to the past, ECT now includes general anesthesia so you are not aware of the procedure. And because ECT changes brain chemistry, it can have significant effects on something like clinical depression improving or eliminating your symptoms. It is also a way to treat depression without having to deal with the side effects of drugs or lengthy therapy treatments.
The adverse effects of ECT are memory loss, confusion and physical pain such as headaches, nausea and pains through the face and jaw. And if you have high blood pressure or any heard defects, ECT can cause further problems.
Overall, if you feel your current treatment is not effective and you want relief from your symptoms, then ECT is a good alternative. But if you feel you have not yet explored all your options and you need more time to do so, try other choices first then consider ECT if those choices do not help.
I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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