Help wanted and know about this bipolar treatment?


How’s it going?

Hope everything is good with you.

Finally I have the new job position at posted.

It’s for an administrative position.

If you or anyone you know is interested please visit:

Hey, I wanted to talk about something today.

I had someone ask me about ECT, so today I’ll tell you some things about it.

ECT is Electro-Convulsive Therapy. I know, it sounds like this really big word that a doctor would use to tell you a whole lot of nothing just to confuse you or scare you.

What ECT really is, is shock treatments.

Ok, just so you don’t get the wrong idea, it isn’t like shock treatments in the old days, or like it was in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Jack Nicholson.

Actually, it’s nothing like that now.

And, first of all, it’s only used pretty much as a last resort, when your loved one’s usual medications are failing and other medications won’t work for them. And it’s not like everyone stands in line to get ECT. It’s not that common. But those who do need it, get it.

How ECT is done is that the patient is put under general anesthesia, and gets little shocks to their brain, causing them to have a small seizure, which “resets” their brain, or the chemicals in their brain specifically, the ones that are messing with their bipolar disorder.

In my courses/systems below:







I have a whole section on ECT, and explain it in great detail.

ECT is usually given 3 times a week for 2 weeks. The usual risk is the normal risk that general anesthesia itself has. So if your loved one has had general anesthesia before and not had a hard time with it, they probably won’t have a hard time with ECT, either.

The only side effects of ECT are a short-term memory loss, which usually doesn’t last that long, and usually comes back pretty quickly.

So if your loved one’s doctor is recommending ECT for them, don’t be scared of it. It’s probably for the best.

I’ve been told it’s worked for a lot of people with bipolar disorder.

I forgot to tell you this. When I first started this organization there was a person who applied for a job. She was REALLY, REALLY good.

But, her medication was not working. She had been to lots of doctors. Finally one doctor said that he recommended ECT. I didn’t know what it was at the time. My mom never had ECT.

Anyway, she did a whole lot of research and concluded it would be a good idea.

So she decided to do it. She also agreed to do interviews before, during and after it. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find those interviews J

I don’t know where they went. But I am very confident that I will find them soon. I think they maybe with my mom.

Anyway, this person had some memory loss intitially but then it was amazing. It all came back and she went on to do great things. She still works for me today. I have also met many people where I volunteer that have undergone ECT and it worked for them. Many people just think of ECT as like torture and it’snot. That’s “old school” thinking.

Just like the fact you can work when you are on disability—a common myth is that you can not work on disability because if you do, you lose your benefits instantly. This comes from this old rumor that to this day is still circulating.

Anyway, do you have any comments on ETC? Now don’t post ridiculous stories please and scare people. You know what I mean. When someone says:

I knew this person, who knew this person, who knew this person, who had a friend who mother’s father had bipolar and he had ETC and his head exploded and his arms and legs fell off. You know what I mean. FIRST PARTY stories please J No bipolar rumors or urban legends. FIND OUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT ME


David Oliver is the author of the shocking guide “Bipolar Disorder—The REAL Silent Killer.” Click Here to get FREE Information sent via email on how and why bipolar disorder kills.

  1. This isn’t a first person account, but I think I can add some information.

    I was a psychiatric nurse, and many times assisted Dr.’s during the procedure, as well as caring for patients afterwards. All that Dave described is true. It isn’t particulary pretty to watch, but the patient is not concsious and unaware of that. The amount of time it takes the patient to come “out of it” afterwards varies – some sleep longer than others, some are confused for longer than others, and, rarely, there is vomiting.

    ECT, as I understood it, is used (as a last resort) to treat depression – not just bipolar depression, but major depression, as well. It is used primarily for depressions that have otherwise been treatment resistant.

    As Dave said, most of the time the memory loss is short term, but, unfortunately, not always. When patients sign the consent form for ECT, they understand that there is the possible danger of long term memory loss. I had a personal friend who had ECT, and, unfortunately, in her case, her memory never fully returned (a lot of it did, but some didn’t).

  2. I suppose there always has to be one exception to the rule, but a friend of mine with serious uni-polar depression had ECT and she found it the after effects rather distressing, Namely, she didn’t get her short-term memory back BUT there may be other explanations for that other than the ECT. I forget the name for it but some people block out memories of things that disturb them, and it’s possible, just possible that this might be what caused her memory loss, not the ECT. She has had a serious re-occurrence of the depression, but this is like around 20 years later.

    THAT SAID, while I have not (yet?) had ECT, my own view is that whatever it takes to stay well enough to stay alive has to be worth it!!! When you’re at the edge and looking over the abyss and oblivion, what the heck have you to lose? (That’s my view on the meds, too – if the meds eventually kill me, at least I’ll have lived longer than it I didn’t take them!! You do what it takes to survive.)

  3. feeling very frustrated and angry about having this disease. it seems every two years i lose a job because of it. i’m a nurse and recently something that happened two years ago is just now being brought to the state licensing board for nurses. i’m facing the fact that i may lose my license. when i was diagnosed my employer who was in a big city gave me medical leave. the employer who reported me to the state did not. their response was “be fired or self terminate”. because i’d already lost one job up here due to this illness and was fired for it, i self terminated. it took the state two years to act on this which is very frustrating. i’ve done nothing like my mistakes made then in the past two years of gainful employment. it’s very hard to go to work with this hanging over my head. wish they would state what they expect of me as the waiting is killing me.


  4. david, i am canceling …. first i wanted to say to you. you did a good thing with your “mother”. now a mother an son relationship is “FAR” different than a husband/ wife one. so after youe email on the 21th i feel you really DO NOT UNDERSTAND what goes on in a marriage with a bipolar, now today’s was way out.
    diane – wife of a bipolar “crazy”
    WHO IS DONE !!!!!!

  5. Hi Dave,

    My husband who is bipolar 1(mixed) went through a series of ECT treatments. What brought (us); and I say us, to this decision, was that he had had a major event in his life affect him so much personally that he went into a deep depression. He was hospitalized, placed on a medication regimen without success, and ended up back in a different hospital soon after. The psychiatrist at this hospital , who by the way who continues to be his current psychiatrist, thought he would be a good candidate as he was highly sensitive to medication and the current treatment was not working. My husband was unrecognizable and the decision was a last resort. My husband and I were also told that with ECT that he would probably be able to lesson his medication in general. He started as an inpatient having ECT 2-3x’s a week for 2 weeks before he was released.
    Not to scare anyone, but because of my husband’s high sensitivity he did experience a positive -7’s test which is trying to subtract 7 from 100 down the line and also cognitive deficits. We were told this was highly unusual. A CT Sacn was performed to ensure this was not positive for a brain bleed which it was not. He contiuned with outpatient ECT for 6 weeks starting from 2x’s a week tapering to 1x a week. My husband not only suffered long term memory loss, but short term memory loss as well which he is just now coming out of after 6 years. It was a very scary time for us, but the bottom line is ECT did save his life and bring him out of a very deep depression when all other treatments failed. He is more stable today than he ever has been and on a lesser amount of medication. We have been together for almost 20 years and I also facilitate support groups for NAMI in my area. Education is key for stability and this can be possible with accurate information and treatment. ECT is not for everyone and you should seriously way all of your options, but it can be life saving…….

  6. Is it a method in changing ECT with ETC?
    This is the only comment, please don’t post it.
    Never done or heard about ECT. Maybe etc…

  7. please send him all bipolar he is a lecture
    he his in education line
    he neet information please send him copy of bipolar
    thank you

  8. I only know what I’ve read in two biographical books written by journalists who suffered from bp and had ECT…Kay Redfield Jamieson and Marya Hornbacher, and they both say it helped them a lot.

    They are both bipolar type I, the more severe form, and were initially resistant to other medications. So I think ect could be used as a “last resort” and I know it is not like the Cuckoo’s Nest days, thank God, just from googling it! lol

  9. I am a retired nurse and in nursing school assisted to provide ECT to patients. The short term memory loss is just that, short term. Why does it work? It is thought that it “scrambles or short circuits faulty patterns” and allows for break throughs when medication alone is too heavy to allow cognitive therapy. It hleps many. Do research and ask questions. We also used insulin shock therapy, as well. This was during my nurse training years in the 60’s. I’ve had no experience with it since then.

  10. It is no coincident that I had just been thinking about ECT. Despite medicine and extensive therapy I continue to have episodes. I have long periods of stability then manic episodes that are lasting longer and are more and more destructive. I’d planned to talk to my Psychiatrist about ECT. I guess my hesitation is the fear that I’d not feel great ever again after the treatment. I don’t have much depression – just the disappointment of not feeling elated about life and a ton of shame for my behavior during episodes of mania.

  11. Dear Dave,

    I had ECT last year. I had about 8 or nine of them. They sure helped me. It took me about a year or less to get back to my old self; or rather my new self. I’m so better now.

    Sue from Tennessee

  12. Dear Dave,

    As someone who has had experience with ECT, both that and others I have known well who have had it, I can say the following:
    1 Yes, ECT is not like it was done in the old days when I was a kid and was first diagnosed with bipolar after a manic episode and then crashed into a catatonic depression. Then, they didn’t give local anesthesia and ECT was administered with far less discression. As with the early days of drug treatment in psychiatric hospitals where large doeses of drugs such as thorazine, stellazihne,meloril,etc. were administered mainly to keep the patients quiet. Yes, there are horror stories from the old days and they often really did happen. But you are also right when you say things are different now.
    2ECT is most commonly used for intractable, treatment-resistant depression for which other methods of treatment have yielded minimal to no results. It is never done lightly and generally not done until other options are tried and/or ruled out.
    3 I’ve been told by nursses and other staff that when they administer the pulse, the only thing people see is the movement of the big toe. Usually, (hopefully)? (smile) the anesthesiologist knows what s/he’s and you really don’t feel a thing. The worst part, especially the first time, it’s the anticipation that gets you. Sometimes though, they’ll give you something for anxiety if they really need to calm you down but that’s usually a short acting med, enough so that you’ll relax and it will be easier for both patient and workers.
    3. Regarding memory loss: Initial confusion, disorientation and memory problems are often transient and short-lived. However, I do know a woman who lost her ability to cook. Since she was a cook by profession, it was a serious problem. Her recent episode that put her into the hospital for ECT in the first place caused her to be put on paid leave. But if she couldn’t cook, what was she going to do?

    Well, after six months, her cooking ability returned. She was back to her sharp, creative self.
    I know of another who lost but then regained her ability to drive. I know of a woman who did not develop bipolar until after menopause, which begs the question of whether in some cases of bipolar in women there may be hormonal changes that trigger someone who has never before had an episode. Anyway, this woman was put on MAOIs and tricyclics and was tried on the newer ssri and snri families of antidepressants as well as atypical ones like Deseryl (trazadone) which affect the serotonin but not in the way ssris do and Welbutrin, which I’ve never figured out how that one works. It’s different and helps some that other antidepressants don’t and it has been given for people who are trying to quit smoking with some success.
    I know people who have had several courses of up to 14 treatments each. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. That’s why they’re still working on better treatments,one of the most promising of which is Vegas nerve stimulation. There is also an ongoing clinical trial of a depression drug and if anyone wants to check that out it’s at

    By the way, the older woman I mentioned was helped by ECT, but needed boosters which came more and more frequently as she aged until by the end of her life the quality of life was bad and it was hard on her family, friends and workers. She is now in a better place. ECT did help and in some cases has prevented suicide attempts. But it should be used with caution and, in my (non-medical) opinion, should still be a last resort.

  13. Okay, I’m rethinking this. Sounds like it is more for depression. I was thinking memory lost might have its benefits.

  14. Dave,

    Despite the medical guarantees ECT is not a safe option for anyone with a functioning, healthy brain-living- thats the rub. Not that ECT has not helped many suffers of major depressive episodes but the mere fact of driving electric current through a living organism. This is ‘one flew over’ in a controlled medical/psychiatric practice. Think of subjecting someone you love-who God has given a healthly brain-not perfect(what ever that is)- to the invasive-and no they don’t know how it works(it may bring symptom relief but at what cost)-to electric shocks in the name of ‘care’. I have no argument with people’s experiences of improvement-but honestly a 1st year med student knows how violent ECT is-just ask a thinking one.

    yours in concern for people with or without bp,


  15. Dave,

    I looked over your job posting. Very interesting! I couldn’t find however, any mention of salary?


  16. Dear Dave

    I have a dear friend who has had bipolar disorder since her early teens. She is now doing well, with support from her family, friends and colleagues and is a brilliant medical researcher in a major university. For very many years, though, she went through some extremely difficult times and was sometimes held in a secure hospital; struggled with anorexia; numerous times tried to end her life. At one time she was given ECT – she has told me that there was nothing to fear from it and that it probably helped her at the time. Knowing her well, it is clear that no harm was done to her personality, intellect or memory. I hope that this will reassure anyone who is facing ECT as a possible therapy.

    With best wishes:


  17. As a first hand recipient I would NEVER recommend ECT to ANYONE. The side effects are not worth it. The short term memory loss is only one manifestation. My children still bear the scars of watching their mother change into a zombie from having 12 “treatments” that did not help much and not only caused memory loss, but changed something not able to be defined but took years to return to be herself again. Think about this – if epilepsy which is an electrical storm in the brain causes brain damage (and it does) why would you think that causing an electrical storm no matter how short or controlled would not cause brain damage in a human? The answer is it CAUSES BRAIN DAMAGE PERIOD.

  18. Well as it turns out I just had ECT so this subject is fresh for me. This is the second time in my life I have had it. My first experience was in 2004 but that was done in England where I can honestly say is very different than here in the states. The side effects are true there is short term memory loss, sometimes it comes back sometimes it doesn’t. It does in essence reset alot of the chemicals and activity in the brain. It also can be done for many more sessions than just 2 weeks, I personally had 3 sessions a week for a little over a month to total 14 procedures. I also have follow-up treatments for 1-4 sessions a month for the next 12 months. There is general anethesia and muscle relaxants given, this is just to avoid the slight possibility of dislocating anything or breaking any bones while the seizure is induced. Don’t worry even without the muscle relaxant this is a very rare occurance. You’ll sign alot of medical paperwork that is going to scare the living daylights out of you simply because they have to make sure you won’t have grounds for a malpractice suite later. It’ll have all the possibilities even the very rare ones on it. But be assured 99.9% of the patients are fine.
    Here is the down side depending on the amount of treatments you do recieve, your type of brain activity and the severity of your illness there are different time lines on the side effects. There are rare occurances where you do loose memories, not just the short term ones that happened to me on both occasions. You may forget how to do things you knew how to do before but those things you just put yourself to re-learn don’t let that scare you.
    Those are the physical things, the difficult ones are the emotional side effects there will be frustration with yourself because you know you could do this and can’t now. There may be times where you feel helpless and incompetent sometimes a burden. PLEASE KNOW THESE FEELINGS WILL GO AWAY!
    It comes down to will the benefits outweigh the side effects, in my opinion they do. I feel much more in control of myself. I’m able to enjoy my life more. My family is less stressed since my cycling isn’t like a amusement park ride. I am for lack of a better word ‘normal’. (I HATE that word to me being me is normal.) Think on it, talk to your doc and if this is something that he suggested it maybe one of the best things that happened to you.
    Regardless of what you decide I wish you the best.

  19. Not having any experience with this first hand, but only as a sister to a sister who had only been treated once in the early 60’s I can’t say a whole lot about it. The only thing I do know that has resulted from it, from back then, was that her memory of spelling and writing have been permantly affected to the degree that it isn’t perfect and her handwriting is hard to read much of the time.

    But she is still able to write some, not to the degree that she had done so being an avid writer of letters, but getting so few of them actually mailed to her friends.

    She I think at the time was in the first stages of Catatonic depression, and it was administered to her then, to bring her out of that standing. I don’t recall much at the time, as our Aunt had died prior to her becoming depressed, and catatonic, she had had an unsual response at her death, not having mourned her passing, as most would do so of a loved one they were close to.

    So it was a hard thing for her to grasp then. In the meanwhile I have read all the above and have found it to be very interesting, seeing some of the mention of the meds. that I am so certain that my sister has probably had in some point of her treatments. I just wanted to share that, as she has not had a treatment since then, and now she has gotten to be about as good as she can do, which still isn’t much, as she isn’t able to hold down a job, being a dialasys patient, with the ‘disease’ of the condition from lithium meds many years in the past for a long time which shut down the partial functioning of her kidney’s. So she doesn’t have the strength to do much, and only does what she is able which is very little .

    She does care about others, and is thoughtful regarding the little things one doesn’t always think about, and loves her family greatly, but not able to do much.When she was much younger she did work part time in a factory that wasn’t very well suited to her abilities but had to learn how to put a phone together if I remember correctly, that was only in the old fashioned sense now, they don’t make them much like that these days with all of the cell phones and their ‘relatives’ having the domination on the market these days. But that is what I am able to share .

  20. Dave,
    I’ve never had ECT, but before lithium came along, I thought it was going to be my only hope! I have bipolar, but I am the type who only experienced the depression, never the mania. If lithium hadn’t worked for me, I’m pretty certain I would have ended up using ECT to jar me out of my depression. I was leery of it at first, but not so much, as time went by.
    I would still do it rather than return to that depressive state!

    Thanks for the opportunity,


  21. During all of my 3 hospitalizations for mania, I was mortally afraid of ECT. Although I was an adult during my 1st hospitalization, my parents had the last say on whether I would have it or not (being labeled incompetent). I dealt with the patients who DID have it, trying to bring back SOME short-term memory (showing them a postcard-booklet of Washington, D.C. and asking them what the monuments were). What I remember is that they were severely disoriented and zombie-like. This reaction is what scared me. I am fairly intelligent, and the thought of electrlic currents going through my brain and creating a “new” “me,” were overwhelmingly frightening.

    During my 2nd hospitalization, in my delusions, I thought maybe they had already given me ECT! While they had NOT, the fear was still there. The results of ECT on those patients were the same as the ones in D.C., and, though I was ALWAYS on the manic side of bipolar – and ECT is usually used on severe medication-resistant depression – it was a standing fear of mine.

    I am glad to hear that some bipolars ARE doing better after ECT; it would have to be a last-resort-type of treatment for me before I would EVER settle for having it done.

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good.

  22. I don’t know about ETC but I don’t think I could put my 11 year old trhou that so I don’t think that would work for me plus I am sure there is some kind of bad side effects at times everything has it’s good and it’s bad effects so can you tell me some of the worst case secnerio

  23. To Pat Duncan:
    I was an RN for 20 years, and have now been on disability for 10 years.
    You should know that there is a law in effect protecting people with disabilities (including any mental illness). The employer is required by law to make “reasonable accomodations” for their employees with disabilities. I left nursing because my illness had become too severe and nursing was too stressful for me. But if you feel you’re still able to work, you should seek legal counsel based on the fact that your employer has to make “reasonable accomodations”. If there is a problem with substance abuse (ie: stealing narcotics from the workplace, a dangerous pitfall and temptation for nurses, Dr.’s and pharmacists), or if your bipolar caused a serious error in judgement which could potentially cause harm to a patient, you don’t have as much of a legal leg to stand on. But if it’s just a matter of poor attemdance due to hospitalizations or severe symptoms, you do have rights. Don’t give up your license without a fight if you feel you are still physically and mentally qualified to provide patient care.

    One other point re: ECT… someone mentioned the use of a muscle relaxant during the procedure. In the old “Snake Pit” days, no anesthesia was used, and the patient had a grand mal seizure from the electric shock (actually, to be effective, a seizure has to occur during ECT). Before they give the muscle paralytic agent IV (usually succinylcholine), they put a tourniquet over one wrist, so that they can tell a seizure has occured when the affected hand does “seize” (or convulse).

  24. My psychiatrist told me that I am ‘treatment resistant’ and that medication does not work for me. I later found out that he was treating me for Major Depression with the wrong meds. In sum, he gave up, fired himself because he did not know how to help me. He recommended I have VNS as an alternative to ECT or other drug therapy.

    I would caution anyone to FIRST throughly investigate if they have been correctly diagnosed and receiving the right medication. I am glad that I did not follow my former (yes former) psychiatrist’s advice. I have a new psychiatrist and was diagnosed (I think correctly) with Bipolar II. I am now taking mood stabilizers and, after six years, I think (pray) that I am finally taking the correct medication.

  25. I reviewed the position you advertised. Sounds like a very challenging job. I know I don’t have the computer skills or background that you are looking for. I spoke to you a few months ago about the sales position, but I was going through too many personal issues at the time to be of value to you or your organization. I just wanted to thank you for your calls and I appreciated your concern. I am glad that your organization is growing and I know you will be extremely successful. You are doing a great thing and I hope you continue. Thank you.

  26. Dave, I am sorry…could not sleep tonight, despite all the benzo’s and anbien CR. That’s typical for me. Not sleeping that is, even with lots and lots of meds. A bipolar symptom, I auppose. At any rate, the computer was still on. I realized I should have sent the above email to your personal email site. So, if after it gets moderation, you can delete it. That is fine with me. Take care.

  27. I live in Kent in England and I have just recovered from the severest depression I have ever experienced. I was at the train station looking down at the tracks when suddenly I thought “I can’t do this to my family”.
    I phoned my sons and they came and took me into the local psychiatric hospital where it was decided that I should have a course of ECT. I had six sessions, two per week, and I can honestly say that it has not only saved my life but it has brought back my memory and the ability to communicate which I had sadly lost. Nobody should be scared to have ECT if everything else has failed and they are looking into an abyss. m You are given a general anaesthetic and are totally unaware of what is taking place.

  28. As a young adult I was given shock treatment unknowingly, unwillingly and I remember being lead down a long hall way in the basement of the public mental facility where I felt like I was about to be put to death because no one took the time to explain to me what was about to take place, what it was for and how it was suppose to help. I don’t recall getting any anesthetics or nothing like that. I recall after the procedure being put in a straight jacket and strapped down to a bed in a dark and cold room where there was a small window that people could peek in to watch me. I really felt violated, even till this very day.

    Then, later I happen to watch the move- One Flew Over The Coo Coo’s Nest and It really effected me. Even later when I watched the Movie Gothika starring Halle Berry it reminded me of that experience.
    I don’t recall if anything that it done for me at that period in my life but terrorize me. and I did walk around feeling like a zombie.
    I would like to think that modernization has changed the way the procedure is administered and the benefits to having the ECT are advantageous, I pray that the experience I encounter are never forced on anybody the way it was for me. I don’t know if it helped or hurt. but, I do know that it is something that I often think about but would like to forget.

  29. I have had ECT. It was done after much trying of all different kinds of med’s. It did not help me at all. Many treatments done over a period of time. My memory never came back. There is a lot I do not remember. Maybe if I had tried it before things became so bad the results would have been different. I have heard that it does work.

  30. I have had ECT. It was done after much trying og med’s. It did not work for me.

  31. I have had ECT in 1973 and 1981. It really helped me. I could tell after the first treatment that I was getting better. I took lithium for 16 years on a lower dose than normal. It damaged my kidneys and I only have 21 % kidney function. I have to be very careful in taking over the counter drugs such as advil, aspirin, excedrin, etc. Many precription drugs have to be given in smaller doses. Getting back to ECT; it really helped and I had minimal memory lose which came back slowly. I would have it again if I need it as it really helped when medicines didn’t. I have been relatively stable for the last 24 years with no hospitalization.

  32. Hi david, firstly, please put me out of my misery! Tell me what J means at the end of some of your comments, im assuming its one of your staff?Anyway, I just want to say, that i would like you to mention that anyone recieving treatment in hospital may ask for an advocate if they are not sure what they are getting and are getting no clear answers. We will take thier concerns, with them, to the officail bodies and ask them to explain and answer all questions that are unclear. Anyone can have one, be it a relative or themselves. Thank you

  33. Hi David,
    I realize that you have probably already filled these positions, but if you should need help in the future, I would definitely be interested. I have Bipolar Disorder, first diagnosed 20 years ago, and am equipped for working from home. I have first hand experience with this disorder and others, but I also have a degree in psychology with experience working in this field, as well as extensive writing and computer experience. I would love an opportunity to be a part of what you are doing. Thank you.

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