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Shock Treatments Cleared Her
from Renee

Hi there. I was looking for some information on blood donation and ended up here after reading about the drug 'Tegison' and Psoriasis.  Thankfully I've never used Tegison but I wanted to learn more about it.  And I'm glad I did because now I know about your site.  I've had Psoriasis since I was about 7 years old.  I'm 45 now.  I've been through the maze of treatments over the years and stumbled on one that had never been mentioned before.  It's quite a stretch and I don't know how many people and/or doctors would be willing to do it, but thought I'd share this with you anyway.

I suffer from severe depression.  Nothing has worked for me in the way of medications.  I finally gave in and decided to go through 'shock treatments.'  Yes, they still do shock treatments.  My dermatologist thought I was pulling his leg when I told him about this.  Anyway, I had three shock treatments and then decided I didn't want any more due to the short term memory loss I experienced.  (Memory loss varies from patient to patient and, after a while, my memory returned.)  But what did happen is that my Psoriasis COMPLETELY went away.  Not a spot left on me.  My dermatologist was flabbergasted, to put it mildly.  I did a bit of research and found out that years ago shock treatment was in fact used to treat Psoriasis.  

It's been over a year for me and I've finally had some spots reappear, and have had some under my nails again, but all in all, my skin is in MUCH better shape than it was before the shock treatments.  If my skin ever got really bad again, I'd happily go through a few shock treatments to get the Psoriasis back under control.  (The big problem would probably be finding a doctor who knows about this and uses it as a course of treatment for Psoriasis — or talking a doctor into it.)

I know this is quite the leap from ointments to shock treatments, but for people who are so severely afflicted with Psoriasis, it is certainly something to look into.  

I just wanted to share it with you in case it helps someone else.  It was the best 'side effect' I've ever had from any form of medical treatment in my life.  Sincerely, -Renee

*****

Ed’s Response:  It took me awhile, but I was finally able to find something meaty about “shock treatments.”  First, the term that paid off was “electroconvulsive therapy.”  I was happy to read here that, unlike its portrayal in movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, patients are anesthetized and sleep through the ordeal.

Can you tell me where you read about shock treatment being used to treat P?

I don’t know if your happy experience of skin clearing post-shock is attributable directly to the shock treatment, or indirectly.  Isn’t depression a form of stress?  If stress can be a P-trigger, doesn’t it follow that improving the depression might also improve the P?

A relationship between P and depression has been much discussed at FlakeHQ through the years (search on “depression”).  While road-weary derms are sometimes inclined to blink slowly, grin wanly and say, “Try to smile,” I rarely hear about derms directing clinical attention toward a flaker’s depression.  Maybe it’s just a cross-specialty chasm into which the poor victims fall.  Maybe it’s one of those “connections” or “interrelationships” that defies analysis and so gets shuffled under the rug called “alternative medicine.”

No matter what the relationship really is, the causality is fascinating.   Electroconvulsive therapy must have neurological, cardiovascular, biochemical, and psychological effects.  I wonder if it would be considered more or less dangerous than using powerful systemics like cyclosporine and methotrexate to combat P?  (Nothing I’ve read suggests shock treatments can kill your liver!) 

Certainly there’s a stigma attached to shock treatments (thanks to movies like Cuckoo’s Nest).  The evidently common side effect of memory loss grows more frightening as you think about it. (“Just in case, please have someone bring you for your treatment who knows where you live!”) 

I would be very interested to hear from any other readers who have experienced electroconvulsive therapy — what effects it has had on P.  Meanwhile, I’m going to cautiously ask my derm about it.  I’m kind of afraid he’ll think it’s a good idea.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Renee.  Stay in touch.  -Ed

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