I have had ECT treatments and have memory problems

by Carol
(Panama City, FL)

I have had depression for many years. I have been told that depression can cause memory problems.

memory problems story
Additionally, I have had many ECT (electroshock treatments). I now have memory problems.

My long term memory problem is severe. I have few memories. I am hoping to further develop my short term memory.

I have difficulty with such things as remembering numbers or letters. I have great difficulty reading and recalling what I have read.

Cooking is difficult because it is hard to follow a recipe. I could give many additional examples but these are just a few. Please help me as I struggle to get better.

Doug's Reply. Hopefully your doctors have provided useful suggestions in the past. Your issues seem quite significant.

I normally recommend that someone with short-term memory problems learn memory techniques. But with the challenges you face, you might want to focus on improving the health and functioning of your brain first.

Don't doubt that your brain can change for the better. An article in yesterday's New York Times titled "This Year, Change Your Mind" describes an astonishing fact about the brain that scientists discovered only recently: that your brain can change, adapt, and grow throughout your lifetime.

For this to happen, you need to give your brain the proper stimulation. And for that reason, in addition to solving puzzles and engaging your brain in other ways, consider subscribing to an online brain training service such as Lumosity

Lumosity is a website where you play scientifically designed brain games. I have been using it myself for over two years.

Play the Lumosity brain games twice a day for about 15 minutes each session. Within two or three weeks of consistent practice you should notice whether the games are helping you to improve.

My other suggestion would be to make improvements in your overall health. What you eat, whether or not you exercise, and how well you sleep at night all affect your brain power and memory.

Consult with your doctor about starting a regular exercise routine. Research has shown that intense aerobic exercise (such as bike riding, stairmaster, jumping rope, etc.) can actually grow new brain cells in the memory centers of the brain.

You also probably know that exercise is one of the most powerful antidotes to depression.

One final suggestion: Spend 10 minutes every day in mindfulness meditation. This form of meditation is easy to do because it involves paying attention to your breathing.

Meditation is a powerful way to improve concentration. Your short-term memory problem could be related to difficulty in concentrating. You can learn more about meditation on my Meditation and Memory page.

If you have any further questions, please let me know.

Best regards,
This is information only. It is not medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Mar 11, 2017
Memory loss too!
by: Sherry

I had ECT treatments about 10 years ago, I also had several. My memory loss is so random. The things I'd like to forget I don't. Something major could have happened and I can't even remember that. Sometimes I remember the most stupid things!

I used to have a book in my hand all the time, I loved to read. Now I can't remember what I read, I just can't concentrate.

I had to get down with my job when all of this was happening. I was responsible for giving patients medication and was too scare I'd give the wrong med to the wrong person.

I tried another job but I just couldn't get it! It was a job I loved and was so upset they wouldn't let me do it. Those ECT treatments have ruined my life!! If I had known this could happen I never would have had those treatments.

I am so depressed now because I feel so useless. I can't exercise due to a really bad foot and ankle. I'll try the meditation and the other thing you mentioned to do. I hope it helps...

Sep 15, 2012
Memory issues with ECT
by: Anonymous

I'm experiencing memory issues after my ECT. I will try the strategies above. It is frustrating because I'm a teacher and have to think quickly on my feet. I'm aware that I'm having problems and it is very frustrating and then I ruminate on this fact. I'm wondering if my doctor can prescribe something to aid in my problem. Would ADD medication help?

Jun 13, 2011
by: Anonymous

My Mother has had ECT treatments. Last year. Ever since, her memory has been really bad. She doesn't remember birthdays and things that have happened. She knows it's from that and refuses to have anymore done. I agree it is from that, since it was after that that her memory lapses started.

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