You might feel a little bit uneasy by the phase of “electroconvulsive therapy”. The mind goes to the days when medical science was not more scientific than it is today and patients were exposed to electric shocks to keep them submissive. Based on your pop culture image of electroconvulsive therapy, it does make sense that you don’t want to consider taking electroconvulsive therapy as a treatment.
In popular imaginations, this ECT has really gotten up a bad knock. And this is the reason that caused us to overlook one of the most effective treatments for a symptom that affects a lot of fibromyalgia sufferers: depression.
So, let’s have a look on electroconvulsive therapy. What is this therapy? Is it safe or not? And is it effective for treating fibromyalgia depression?
What is electroconvulsive therapy?
A procedure that sends electricity into the brain and induces a seizure is electroconvulsive therapy. This might sound brutal or frightening but a good reason maybe there that’s why doctors use it. That is the reason it works.
The practice dates back to the early days of psychotherapy when it was noticed by the doctors that patients who had epilepsy and depression, often felt better after having a seizure. So the doctors started to search for a way in which seizures can be artificially induced with electricity. But they didn’t have resources or proper training to use it efficiently. And they also didn’t get it how it actually worked out.
We don’t even know today how electroconvulsive therapy treats fibromyalgia depression. It is thought by the doctors that it has something to do with the way it alters the blood flow in the brain and releases neurotransmitter chemicals.
Is it safe or not?
Electroconvulsive therapy was often administered by people who were lacking medical training, in the old days. More or less by trial and error, the patient was strapped down and socked with a voltage that results in broken bones or other severe injuries.
But no a days, this procedure is done very differently. At first, the patient is anesthetized to prevent them from whipping around too much as well as it also means that you will not have any memory of actually being shocked. The electricity dose is carefully administered to make sure that it is safe.
After the procedure, the patient wakes up with fewer side effects. Usually, temporary short-term memory loss is the most significant effects that are occurred. Although, these memory loss effects can last for some weeks or even months and some physical side effects can also occur like sore jaws or muscles.
Is electroconvulsive therapy effective or not?
A lot of studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy that says that it is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for drug-resistant depression. This therapy is more effective as compared to pills in treating fibromyalgia depression in the short term.
Electroconvulsive therapy is also recommended by doctors in the situations where someone’s life is threatened directly by the depression, such as if they are at a risk of suicide or just refuse to eat and drink even. So in these cases, electroconvulsive therapy has the ability to offer immediate symptoms relief.
Electroconvulsive therapy is also used as a maintenance treatment by many people. They use it to keep their depression in check. But there is some disbelief about whether or not ECT is effective as a long-term treatment. But suicide is a much serious risk for people with fibromyalgia. In fact, it is considered to be such a risk that fibromyalgia sufferers have shorter life period on average, in spite of the fact that fibromyalgia is not a fatal condition. So, that treatment is a literal lifesaver if it helps in treating serious depression quickly. Most of the suicide cases are committed spontaneously and a lot of studies have shown that the person will usually not try to attempt suicide again if you stop them from carrying it out.
Moreover, some evidence is there that shows that ECT can help with some pain related to fibromyalgia. But conclusively, this has not been proved. Some people swear by it who have had the treatment and some scientific studies have concluded that it is really not an effective way of treating fibromyalgia pain. So now, it is hard to say whether it is effective or not. We need to have more information on this subject. However, it can be a good idea to consider electroconvulsive therapy, if you are a fibromyalgia sufferer and also suffer from depression. You need to find ways that will work out for you.