Schizophrenia and ECT? Does it work?

My son is in a psychiatric clinic at the moment. He’s only been there two days. He has been in and out of psychosis and very depressed for a couple of years. He was quite a heavy pot smoker. He has been on various medications that he says doesn’t work. He looked and sounded a lot better but he said he didn’t FEEL any better, so he stopped taking his meds. Now he want’s ECT. I just told him I’m on this site researching ECT and schizophrenia and he blue a fuse about being labeled schizophrenic. He insists he’s not although he’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia a few times! Does ECT help psychosis? I know it helps depression and I know it can be used with schizophrenia. Has anyone had it or heard of someone having ECT. In India, it is apparently quite common: In Australia, not so much!

I had ECT it didn’t work and left me lots of spots in my memory, I couldn’t even remember some basic math.I do not recommend it.It also did not help with voices if that’s one of his symptoms.

When I was in a mental hospital in Dallas, Texas I saw ECT do a depressed person a lot of good. I wanted to try it, not because I was depressed, but because I thought it might help me control my symptoms. They said no. I think there was one girl on this site who got ECT for her symptoms, but I haven’t heard from her in a long time.

If I remember correctly, she called herself “Sungirl”.

Thanks for the feedback. My son has asked many psychiatrists for ECT and been refused. I don’t know how this psyc feels about it, at the moment. He wants to talk to me about it. I’ll keep an eye out for sungirl

ECT is primarily used for treatment resistant depression - no so often for psychosis or schizophrenia. Though - I’ve read it is used when a person might have tried all the medications and not got any relief from them - in what is called “treatment resistant schizophrenia or psychosis”.

Here is some reading:

Adjunctive electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a safe and effective treatment option for drug-resistant schizophrenia, new research suggests. (2014)

Dr. John Kane
A small, randomized study of patients with clozapine-resistant schizophrenia showed that half of the group receiving ECT plus clozapine for 8 weeks had at least a 40% decrease in symptom scores vs none of the participants who received clozapine alone.

In addition, 47% of the latter group who received ECT in a crossover phase showed treatment response.

The researchers note that, to their knowledge, these are the highest response rates reported with any type of clozapine augmentation.

Thanks Szadmin Makes for some interesting reading.

Hello! From what I have read ECT helps in people with moderate or severe depression especially in cases where drugs have failed or when there is catalonia! It may be helpful in the case of catatonic schizophrenia! It is not usually done in cases of schizophrenia accept when there are features of catatonic! Some doctors even believe it may worsen some symptoms! ECT also has side effects like memory loss which usually gets better after a few months, fractures of the forearm in rare cases! But It can be really helpful in terms of the depressive symptoms he has, consult with his psychiatric doctor for better information

I watched a video on it and Italian scientists way back saw schizophrenics improve dramatically but it was only temporary and the symptoms returned. I believe it was a Ted talk.

@SzAdmin!hello, u guys did a great job putting together this website! It provides an avenue for people with this terrible illness to share different experiences and support one another! Thanks

If the doctors are not going for that-that should say something. It`s not for everyone.
@SunGirl might be able to help out with this one. **

I’m sorry your son is going through this. Accepting this illness is hard. I started receiving ECT treatments for my sz because I had tried almost every antipsychotic out there without any relief. My pdoc recommended it and it changed my life. For the first time since becoming ill I didn’t have symptoms. Initially I had to be in the hospital to receive the treatments because the first round was three times a week for four weeks. After that I received them on an outpatient basis. I received treatments for three years. This past December was the last time I had one. I can now take meds and they work! I am on three antipsychotics but I have no symptoms. The treatments help you to respond to the meds. If it wasn’t for ECT I don’t know where I would be. You do have some memory loss but not enough to affect your functioning. It’s not a cure all though. You need to be committed to treatment. It just helps you see life without the symptoms so you want to take part in life. I worked hard to get where I am. I had to work in therapy and work with my doctors. Good luck and feel free to ask me any questions. :sunny:

While I was doing research on ECT and Schizophrenia today I read an interesting article that said that it is often more effective using both ECT and medication to bring someone more quickly out of an acute psychosis. Since my son is currently in an acute psychosis I have been thinking about talking to them about ECT again.

@SzAdmin’s and @SunGirl’s comments are germane here, but I will add that modern, low-amplitude ECT can be helpful for severely treatment-resistant negative symptom sz. That said, I would not take the word of some “country doctor” on this (if you catch my drift). ECT is still a sort of “last house on the block” tx for even n/s sz. I would want any tx-resistant n/s sz I was working with to be evaluated by the best people I could get them to, preferably in a major city at a very reputable clinic or hospital.

I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 11 years back and I was admitted to mental asylum in India and I was given 6 ECT…I still have bad memories about that…