It's no secret that I suffered through survived, a year long severe depression in 2010. It's also no secret that the treatment that saved me was ECT. I'm 14 months out from my last treatment (I had 13 total) and although I have moments, I am better than I was before it. Way better. I always wanted to be open with what I went through because if it helped just one person, it would be worth it. I read some encouraging news today.
A friend of mine forwarded a news report that a team at the University of Aberdeen just completed a study that shows for the first time how ECT effects the brain:
"Prof Ian Reid, who led the research, said: "ECT is a controversial treatment, and one prominent criticism has been that it is not understood how it works and what it does to the brain."
"For all the debate surrounding ECT, it is one of the most effective treatments, not just in psychiatry, but in the whole of medicine, because 75% to 85% of patients recover from the symptoms."
(I remember how frightened I was before my first treatment and the doctor gave me this exact statistic.)
He added: "Over the last couple of years there has been an emerging new perspective on how depression affects the brain.
"This theory has suggested a 'hyperconnection' between the areas of the brain involved in emotional processing and mood change and the parts of the brain involved in thinking and concentrating.
"Our key finding is that if you compare the connections in the brain before and after ECT, ECT reduces the connection strength between these same areas - it reduces this hyperconnectivity.
"For the first time we can point to something that ECT does in the brain that makes sense in the context of what we think is wrong in people who are depressed." " via BBC News
He goes on to say that they hope the findings will help them develop new treatments that will lesson the memory problems that effect people undergoing ECT.
I'm encouraged by the article and hope that it sparks a bit of positive thinking on, not only ECT, but depression as well.