ZocdocAnswersWhat is the efficacy rate of ECT for chronic depression that does not respond to meds?

Question

What is the efficacy rate of ECT for chronic depression that does not respond to meds?

I am 48 years old and have suffered from depression since childhood. I have been on every class and combination of drugs, ie, TCA's, Atypical antidepressants, SSRI's, SNRI's, MAOI's. My depression is getting worse as I get older and it doesnt seem like any medication or combinations are working for me. I think it is time to consider ECT.

Answer

I would recommend you discuss this with your psychiatrist. The question you ask is an excellent one, however also very complex. The answer really depends on what your diagnosis, history and personal preference. Again, speak to your psychiatrist for more information. Firstly, depression, as you must be aware, is a very severe disease. There are significant issues that can result from this, some of which are drastically affect the quality of your life. In addition, this disease can be fatal. If you at any point feel or have thoughts of hurting yourself, killing yourself or committing suicide, I would strongly encourage you to go to your local emergency room. As for question, the efficacy of rate of ECT varies with the patient, disease and way it is done. It is important to note that there are significant side effects, so one must really way the risks against the possible benefits. ECT can help people with depression -- around 50% will have some benefit to their depression. However, ECT rarely has lasting effects beyond 6 months. That is to say, most people have recurrence of their depression even if they have some benefit. It really depends on your disease and preference if you want to take the risks for the potential benefit. Please talk to your psychiatrist soon. Good luck.

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