Any experiences with ECT for social anxiety? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Any experiences with ECT for social anxiety?


Hey guys!

I don't know if this is the right forum for this, but I'm interested in whether anyone has had any experience with electroconvulsive therapy? I have two serious mental disorders, namely treatment resistant depression and body dysmorphic disorder. For anyone that doesn't know, Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a form of OCD where you get constant, irrational intrusive thoughts about your appearance. It doesn't sound that bad, but when it happens non-stop for 10+ hours a day for months on end, it's extremely distressing. It makes you afraid to look in the mirror and just generally makes you hate yourself.

Unfortunately, both disorders have made my life a living hell for the last few years so I'm considering getting ECT to see if it helps me. I also have moderate social anxiety which isn't life threatening by itself, but it makes it really hard to cope with the other disorders because I don't have any social support.

So I was wondering whether anybody here has had ECT, and if so whether it has helped their SA? Obviously I'm hoping that it does. The only thing that has helped my SA has been tramadol and ketamine infusions. Benzos, antidepressants and GHB so far haven't worked. I can't use tramadol regularly because it's addictive, and ketamine didn't help my depression so I figured it wasn't worth the risk for the small improvement in SA.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 02:16 PM
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ECT is not known to be beneficial for anxiety. I'd imagine that anecdotal accounts of improvement, there, would just be from the secondary effect of relieving depression symptoms -- relief from which would generally make anxiety symptoms less challenging to treat.

If you suffer from treatment-resistant depression, then that alone is reason to consider ECT (anxiety notwithstanding); however, this treatment should be carefully considered because there are potential serious side effects (memory dysfunction among them). I would never tell anyone not to do it -- I'm just saying make sure you're walking into it with your eyes wide open (ie. get yourself well-informed through several reputable sources).

Two other treatment options (for depression) come to mind as well, being rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is thought to carry less risks than ECT) and DBS (deep brain stimulation).

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Originally Posted by candidsurprise View Post
I don't know if this is the right forum for this, but I'm interested in whether anyone has had any experience with electroconvulsive therapy?
The furthest I got with ECT was a consultation. I decided against it for the risks it carries. That can only be a personal decision, though. Like I said, I would never advise anyone 'for it' or 'against it' -- just to make sure it's an adequately-informed choice.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Just Lurking View Post
ECT is not known to be beneficial for anxiety. I'd imagine that anecdotal accounts of improvement, there, would just be from the secondary effect of relieving depression symptoms -- relief from which would generally make anxiety symptoms less challenging to treat.

If you suffer from treatment-resistant depression, then that alone is reason to consider ECT (anxiety notwithstanding); however, this treatment should be carefully considered because there are potential serious side effects (memory dysfunction among them). I would never tell anyone not to do it -- I'm just saying make sure you're walking into it with your eyes wide open (ie. get yourself well-informed through several reputable sources).

Two other treatment options (for depression) come to mind as well, being rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is thought to carry less risks than ECT) and DBS (deep brain stimulation).


The furthest I got with ECT was a consultation. I decided against it for the risks it carries. That can only be a personal decision, though. Like I said, I would never advise anyone 'for it' or 'against it' -- just to make sure it's an adequately-informed choice.
Hi, thanks for the reply.

Yes, the only reason that I'm considering it is the depression and BDD. If it was SA alone I wouldn't go there. I'm just interested to find out whether it might have ancillary benefits for my SA.

Can you tell me about more about what you've learned with regards the side effects? I understand that it can affect your memory but I was under the impression that it's almost always the memory of events around the time of treatment. If anything this would be a benefit for me, as I'd rather forget the past couple of years.

I've looked at rTMS and this would be ideal, but I cannot afford it and it isn't available in my country. I would have to travel to get it done. ECT is something that might be available for me on the nhs.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by candidsurprise View Post
Can you tell me about more about what you've learned with regards the side effects? I understand that it can affect your memory but I was under the impression that it's almost always the memory of events around the time of treatment. If anything this would be a benefit for me, as I'd rather forget the past couple of years.
Yeah, it makes for a bit of a joke that way... ECT cures your depression in that it makes you forget why you're depressed in the first place...

But really, people report memory loss of all kinds (not just short-term) and some for indefinite lengths of time. Disorientation is reported as well, but it's mostly transient, if I recall. There are physical side effects (nausea, headache, aching muscles, jaw pain), but I figured they would be manageable. And secondarily, I wasn't exactly thrilled about subjecting myself to repeated general anesthetics.

The memory thing was the only side effect I was really concerned with. The risk of long-term memory loss is very low and many people benefit from ECT without any negative long-term effects, but it still isn't something I want to risk at this time.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 07:30 PM
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Haven't heard much of ECT and anxiety relating success stories. It's a downer because it requires multiple sessions before one begins to feel better, and its mainly for major or treatment resistant depression. I don't think you want to do that but always ask your doc. I asked mine and he told me he didn't think it would do much for my anxiety, and that there were risks of memory problems.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 07:50 PM
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Dude, have you tried MAOIs? My doctor was starting to suggest ECT for my treatment resistant depression and anxiety, as they like to call it. I'd been through heaps of antidepressants with no success. But I was scared off ECT by the possibility of permanent memory loss. Then I asked to try Nardil, and it's worked great. Many doctors won't suggest MAOIs though, they're at the bottom of their treatment options, below stuff like ECT and lithium. Might be worth giving a go, if you haven't already, before you go down the route of ECT.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 02:11 PM
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Several doctors told me ECT is last resort due to possible permanent memory loss. I'd hold off and see if TMS is ever an option for you in the future. I'm trying TMS pretty soon. I'd also suggest trying Nardil. It helped me a great deal except the side effects were unbearable. But everyone responds differently. At least those side effects are reversible.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 09:55 AM
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does not help with anxiety....


i think TMS is supposed to help with anxiety , ocd and depression ....but not sure how effective it is compared to ECT.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 10:18 AM
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Not sure; but I'm being treated with ECT, in a few days time

I am having the bilateral ECT, as opposed to the unilateral form

Bilateral is the whole of the brain, whereas unilateral is part of the brain; one hemisphere of the brain

There are risks involved with bilateral ECT; you could become brain damaged, comatose or even death may occur; but for me, I'm prepared to take that risk

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