Mental health Electrodes were placed on the temples, then convulsive electricity rushed into the brain – Ilkka Koski, who has risen from the spiral of suicide attempts

Ilkka Koski’s suicide attempts ended when he got into electrotherapy. The number of referrals for electrotherapy has clearly increased in Hus.

Serious Electrotherapy used to treat depression is becoming more common in Finland. The number of treatments has multiplied in ten years.

Growth is particularly evident in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The units in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (Hus) receive approximately 15,000 treatments per year.

“Now the mind is brighter. I put a big part of it in the electrotherapy spike. ”

Vantaa resident Ilkka Koski, 41, resorted to electrotherapy last year. Behind it were four suicide attempts, periods of treatment in a psychiatric ward, and years of severe depression for which the drugs had not responded. Koski feels that electrotherapy was a significant help to him.

“In the past, I thought almost daily that it would be better to die. The feeling was extremely anxious and hopeless, and there was no prospect of the future. Now the mind is brighter. I put a big part of it in the electrotherapy spike. ”

I had also tried the antidepressant, but Koski did not feel that it was helpful.

In electrotherapy that is, in ect therapy, an electrical voltage is applied to the patient’s brain using electrodes attached to the temples. Tension causes epileptic seizures in the brain, which has a beneficial effect on brain metabolism.

Electrotherapy is given under light anesthesia. The procedure is short and the patient regains consciousness within minutes.

“It didn’t come at once that everything would be wonderful, but little by little.”

During the spring and summer of last year, the rapids were treated ten times as a series of treatments at Peijas Hospital. The highest frequency of treatment was three per week.

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The effects on the mood began to show about a week after the first treatment, Koski describes.

“It was noticed that the thoughts no longer went very gloomy, it wasn’t all that bad. It didn’t come at once that everything would be wonderful, but little by little. ”

Psychiatry specialist, docent Tuukka Raij has been treating severely depressed patients in Hus for ten years. During this time, the number of referrals for electrotherapy has more than doubled, according to Raij.

Electroconvulsive therapy is particularly effective for major depression with psychotic symptoms or catatonia, i.e., a significant slowing or acceleration of business. The treatment relieves the symptoms and improves the quality of life.

“According to some studies, as many as 90 percent of the most severely ill patients benefit from electrotherapy,” Raij says.

Electrotherapy can also be used to treat moderate depression if other treatments, such as medication and psychotherapy, are not effective. About half of patients who have received electrotherapy for moderate depression feel that they have received help from electrotherapy.

“The milder the depression, the more often the patients feel the disadvantages outweigh the benefits,” Raij sums up.

Electrotherapy the most difficult disadvantages are related to memory. Short-term memory breaks occur in almost all patients. This means that events experienced before and immediately after treatment are not stored in long-term memory.

“It can be difficult for patients to remember events throughout the electroconvulsive episode, which can mean a few weeks. If memories do not sink into long-term memory, they will never return. This is clearly the most embarrassing and unpleasant disadvantage, ”says Raij.

“Some patients may have left electrotherapy directly for work.”

A few percent of patients also report impaired parental memory. Typically, this means that, for example, a past event may be erased from memories.

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“Fortunately, this is rare. There is no large-scale and long-term impairment of data processing functions in connection with electrotherapy, which is typical of memory disorders, for example, ”says Raij.

A milder inconvenience is often postoperative fatigue. There may also be nausea and muscle aches and the patient may be momentarily confused. According to Raij, drowsiness is often relieved within a quarter.

“Some patients may have left electrotherapy directly for work.”

Also The rapids have been interrupted after the electrotherapy. After waking up from anesthesia, she felt like she was on her bike.

“I was overwhelmed and distant, as if I wasn’t quite present in everyday life. I didn’t remember everything very well from the last hours or days. There were strange sensations in his body: as if he had been to the gym a little too much. ”

However, the side effects were less than he had previously feared.

“The memory crashes quickly passed, and there are no permanent drawbacks. Fortunately, I thought that if the memory goes away, will the head get even more confused. ”

Other Through its culture, for example, prejudicial, repulsive and even violent images have been associated with electrotherapy through popular culture.

RAij’n According to him, the increase in the current popularity of electrotherapy is explained not only by good treatment outcomes but also by an increase in awareness and a change in the general attitude: shame associated with psychiatric disorders and depression is declining. Many patients are well aware of the positive effects of treatment when entering treatment.

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On the other hand, many are unaware that in the longer term, electrotherapy often has significant benefits for patient cognition as well.

“Depression is known to be dangerous to the brain because it significantly impairs information processing functions such as memory, concentration, and reasoning,” Raij says.

“If patients’ cognitive function is measured two weeks after the end of an electron therapy series, they are, on average, better off than before the treatment period. Rather, the brain benefits from electrotherapy. ”

“There was no such hope before.”

Kosken from the last the year of the electrotherapy will be a year. Depression is relieved but not gone. A new relationship also plays its part in a more positive state of being.

“It gives hope for the future,” says Koski.

He plans to return to work as soon as the forces allow. Now it is not yet possible due to a temporary disability pension and physical ailments: at the turn of the year, Koski collapsed, broke his tibia badly and got into a wheelchair. The ossification of the foot has not progressed as desired and healing is in progress.

Gradually, however, it looks brighter.

“I’ve had a lot of adversity. Depression is still going hand in hand, but the direction is better. I know and believe that I will certainly be able to return to work as well. There was no such hope before.”

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