Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Electric Shock Treatment


Have any of your children received electroshock treatment for depression when medication has failed? My daughter is suffering a lot and I want to discuss the possibility of electroshock treatment with her doctor. Any knowledge would be appreciated especially as to the safety of this treatment.


Why would you ever do that? My aunt had that done to her and it only made her worse, now she’s locked up in a mental hospital for life. That’s barbaric. Don’t do that to your daughter if you really care about her.


I’ve read that Debbie Reynolds daughter has received electricshock treatments and it has helped her tremendously. My daughter has been depressed since she was 15 years old. She’s 33 now and her depression and suffering is awful. It’s not fair she has to suffer so much depression. Here are two links from the Mayo clinic a highly respected medical clinic. The first links explains the definition of electro convulsive treatment and the second link is why it’s sometimes done. It can often be the last resort treatment for severe depression. Having experienced myself with clinical depression about 26 years ago I remember wanting to die - it’s the worse thing I’ve experienced in my life. No joy, no hope, no future - It was horrendous and I don’t wish it on anyone. I remember praying to God that I will take cancer if God would get rid of the depression. I felt totally alone, terrified and cut of from people and life. That is no way to live.




I have clinical depression (MDD) as well, I know how it feels, but I would never put a loved one through that. And it’s not for you to make the decision either. You need to ask her what does she want to do.


I will explore every avenue to help my daughter. Debbie Reynolds daughter was helped with this treatment. My daughter has suffered for many, many years and please I’m not asking for your judgement. I’m here for loving support. You don’t have to agree with me but you can be kind about it.


Please do not reply to this thread if you are feeling the least bit judgmental. I can accept criticism but not meanness. I think most of us have enough on our plate to contend with,


I’m just warning you based on my experience with the family member that I have that went through it. Just know that you may be potentially ruin her life more than it already is. But it really isn’t up to you decide what to do with her brain, she’s an adult. Just because she has schizophrenia and depression doesn’t make her stupid. So ask her if she’s willing to try that and if she wants to go through that. You don’t want to be the person who makes someone do something that’s life altering that they’re against. I would eternally hate anyone who would force me to go under that. Medications help me temporarily, but make me worse in general. Psychiatrists can’t prescribe anything to me because of that, but ECT would not be an option I would ever even consider for anybody, not even when I finish studying medicine.


It’s not being mean, it’s being honest. Whether you can accept it or not is up to you.


I’ve read that today’s ECT treatments are nothing like what they used to be, and they’re a live saver for some people.

I’m sure it’s like everything else - good for some and bad for others.

I can’t say I haven’t thought about it as an option, but it can involve memory loss (temporary I think?), and my son already has memory issues, so I think it’s too risky for him. However, if he ever decided he wanted to try it, I’d support him.

My son doesn’t want to take his meds now, and I’m giving them to him without his knowledge, so I’m not above making decisions for him when I know he’s not capable of making an informed choice, but I would never make that kind of decision for him, no matter what. When I read your original post, it sounds like you are just trying to get information and weigh the options, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

I think the new magnetic treatment options are interesting too. Have you looked at those? They do them in my son’s doctor’s office and they say some people have had good luck with it. I think you have to have them every day for awhile.


That is the key thing to remember about ECT is that the results from it are as individual as prescribed medicines are for each and every person. Hearing it worked for one person is no guarantee for the next person. Fortunately my son’s depression eased up with zoloft and clozapine, I think when the massive number of sz related voices faded away it relieved a lot of the depression at the same time. I totally respect the tenacious drive to leave ‘no stone un-turned’ when it comes to helping our beloved children when they are suffering… In addition to exploring ECT -there are other alternative therapies and avenues that can be explored as well for depression specifically, acupuncture (from a skilled and certified provider) has reportedly had a positive effect for many who have tried it for relief of major depression. Another avenue that I have found helpful for my own depression is changing my diet and eliminating all refined sugar (high fructose corn syrup), white flour, artificial additives, dyes, msg, all of the really unhealthy stuff that manufacturers slip into processed food. I noticed a huge shift in my mood about 2 or 3 weeks after I started eating clean organic whole foods every day…and drinking lots of filtered water, no pop, no fruit juices (just fresh fruit instead) …all I can say is it has helped me, that and the acupuncture. My younger sister had several ECT sessions back in the old days when it was much more barbaric than it is reported to be today and she lost a huge portion of her memory and while it eased her violent psychotic episodes somewhat, she is still prone to depression, maybe not every single day now- but it is still there, I just think it eliminated the suicide component, which is a good thing but it is difficult that most of her memories from before the ECT are all gone, both good and bad and in some cases to cope with that she made up her own memories to fill in the gaps, untrue memories but they some how make her feel better to think they are real. One more thing I have often discussed with other people that have depression (but have not yet used myself) is Borage oil as a supplement …it is said to successfully lift and stabilize mood and in some cultures is used to help people relieve the deep grief associated with losing a loved one. Like all things I always advise to do your own research and weigh the pros and cons of natural herbs, since they are sadly not yet backed by the FDA . Here is a link outlining Borage oil for anyone interested in reading about it. My best to everyone.


I have also heard the new treatments are better than the old. There are a few different kinds like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation that are available.

We need to support each other. @Molly, I hope you feel supported and valued by all of us here on the forum.


Thanks Catherine for your feedback. My daughter was diagnosed at 19 years old but now we can see that her symptoms started around middle school. After my daughter’s diagnosis I took a few months off to help her. I spent nearly $25,000 (my retirement money) on naturopathic treatment which included changing her diet completely which also included a vitamin and herbal treatment. She also received acupuncture for nearly a year and I even took her to a psychic. I did everything I could think of to help her. Read volumes of books and online information and my daughter today is still suffering. She is feeling desperate now for relief and it explains to me that she’s become very suicidal again. From all my advocacy for my daughter I am well aware that drug treatment, diet change, acupuncture, vitamins, etc are all shots in the dark so for me investigating electro shock treatment is another desperate attempt for me to try to help her. She is an adult now (33 years) so she ultimately makes her own decisions and I would never ever think of prodding a certain treatment on my daughter. Thanks so much for your kind feedback.


Thank you S. I do remember reading about magnetic cranial treatment years ago. I never found anyone in my area that can do it. I’ll look into it again, Thank you.


Thank you Hereandhere, I will look into Transcranial Magnetic Simulation.


The results are just so individual. My best friend- it ruined her life… but maybe saved it. No longer suicidal, just very traumatised, emotional, bi polar worse. Her mother- saved her. 100%. She still is mentally ill, of course, but very functional.

I admire you looking at all options. I think that’s where a good relationship with a good doctor is helpful- someone you trust. You are getting some good perspectives and ideas!


That’s the magnetic treatments I was mentioning.


@Molly --thank you for sharing --I wish you and your daughter relief and success in whatever treatment path you choose together, Your love and dedication is very evident. :slight_smile:


My son’s pdoc will prescribe ECT, but hasn’t done so for my son. In the US, Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is approved for treatment of depression but not schizophrenia. Insurance will cover it for depression. In other countries it is used to treat schizophrenia too.

ECT is NOT the treatment it was many years ago that people fear.


THis is correct - it has changed a great deal in the past 20 or 30 years. Here is some info we have on it:


And some good third party sources of info. Please review this before you make any decisions (and @Doctor - please update your information and preconceptions)