Treating Depression With Electroconvulsive Therapy - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Treating Depression With Electroconvulsive Therapy

Posted: Updated:

MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Electroshock therapy was first used in 1938 to induce a therapeutic seizure. Those seizures seemed to reset the brain. Today the treatment is nothing like the Frankenstein depictions in film and television. When medication and hospitalization no longer works for 100,000 psychiatric patients, depression and bipolar disorder are wiped away with electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. The FDA is now looking into the pros and cons of ECT.

What scares us most about ECT is a high voltage of electricity sent directly into a patient's brain without any pain meds.

"It used to be that people would have a full convulsion and they would break bones from the contracture of the, of the muscles," Michael Hughes, MD, Psychiatrist at University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, told Ivanhoe.

However, today patients are put under anesthesia and the low dose electricity is safely regulated by the newest machine.

"The machine quite dramatically modifies the waveform of the current as it passes through the machine and then gets administered to the central nervous system," Dr. Martin Strassnig, Attending Psychiatrist and Chief, ECT Service, University of Miami, told Ivanhoe.

It changed Barry Wiernik's life.

"He said, ‘Roni, I don't want to live and I can't get out of bed,'" Roni Wiernik, Barry's wife, told Ivanhoe.

Barry is bipolar and suffers from severe depression.  Newly prescribed maintenance ECT every eight weeks is the only way to keep him from relapsing.

"There's no pain involved. You go under general anesthesia, you wake up within an hour, and it's like nothing happened," Barry told Ivanhoe.

"I think this is such a wonderful thing because it helped my husband," Roni said.

Harvard trained Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Hughes says ECT could cause some temporary memory loss, soreness, and nausea; but it works and can even now be used during pregnancy, instead of mood enhancing drugs.

"It's scary for people to hear about it.  When you know about it and see it, it is safe," Dr. Hughes said.

Some states, such as Utah, have tried to outlaw ECT.

However, it is legal and used to treat severe depression and bipolar disorder that is resistant to medication. In fact, two thirds of those patients are women. ECT is covered by insurance as both an inpatient and outpatient procedure.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

BACKGROUND:  Depression and bipolar disorder are two psychological illnesses that affect countless amounts of people world-wide. Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and unhappy emotions that cause physical and emotional pain. It is defined as a chronic illness that requires long-term treatment to stay healthy. Bipolar disorder is known as a manic-depressive illness. This illness is a brain disorder that continuously changes the mood of a person. It can also affect energy and activity levels as well as the ability to complete daily tasks.  (Source:http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175 and http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml)

SYMPTOMS:  Signs of depression include deceased energy, fatigue, trouble concentrating, feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, irritability, excessive sleeping or insomnia, appetite loss or overeating, suicidal thoughts, "empty" feelings, and persistent headaches. These symptoms all lead to depression if they do not subside. Symptoms for bipolar disorder are dramatic and unpredictable. A person who suffers from this illness has a constant change of uncontrollable mood swings. Typically these symptoms include increased energy, happiness, irritability, restlessness, and an intense sex drive. (Source:http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/detecting-depression andhttp://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-disorder-symptoms-types)

ELECTROCONVULSIVE THERAPY:  Depression and bipolar disorder can now be treated with electroconvulsive therapy treatments. Originally developed in the late 1930s, ECT treatments were not favored, but now the improved therapy is safe and effective for patients, and it does not cause any pain or discomfort. Before the procedure, patients are sedated with anesthesia and a muscle relaxer to prevent the patient from moving during the treatment. Once the patient is sedated, doctors place electrodes on the head which delivers an electric current through the brain. This causes an induced seizure but only lasts about one minute or less. In order to notice progress from ECT treatments, a patient must undergo the procedure about 3 times a week until signs of depression or bipolar disorder subside. This method of battling psychological illnesses has evolved from its first attempts, and has shown that it can be more effective than prescribed medication. Common side effects such as headache, muscle aches, and upset stomach may occur, but the results can be life-changing. (Source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/brain-stimulation-therapies/brain-stimulation-therapies.shtml)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Lisa Worley
Marketing Director
University of Miami Hospital
305-689-1352

  • Medical News HeadlinesMedical News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:15:06 GMT
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
  • Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:15:09 GMT
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure, but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms.more>>
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure for SMA but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms, it targets mutated SMN genes, which are responsible for SMA.more>>
  • Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:15:09 GMT
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
  • Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Friday, April 11 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-11 21:15:07 GMT
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a rare type of melanoma that targets the eye. It can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States. Although rare – it can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
  • Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Thursday, April 10 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-10 21:15:09 GMT
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
  • Pedaling For A Cure

    Pedaling For A Cure

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-09 21:15:09 GMT
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
  • Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-08 21:15:13 GMT
    CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Eric Robinson alive after he went into cardiac arrest. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
    A year ago, while jamming with his son's band, Eric Robinson went into cardiac arrest. CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Robinson alive. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
  • Helping High Risk Hearts

    Helping High Risk Hearts

    Monday, April 7 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-07 21:15:09 GMT
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
  • Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Friday, April 4 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-04 21:15:07 GMT
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
  • Predicting Bad Hearts

    Predicting Bad Hearts

    Thursday, April 3 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-03 21:15:09 GMT
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner.more>>
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. And 600,000 die of heart disease. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner; and they did it by pure accident.more>>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.