Researchers are constantly working on innovative approaches to deal with treatment resistant depression. This offers hope to those who have been unable to deal with their illness successfully using traditional methods. However, some of these novel approaches are only available to people suffering from depression through research studies.
Here’s a quick look at some of the advances currently being made in this area.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
TMS, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, is a technique that sends bursts of energy that are produced by electromagnets to specific parts of the brain. This is a treatment that’s thought to affect the communication of the nerve cells that play an active role in depression. Because this is something that must be done in a doctor’s office, some people might ask: “Does TMS require anesthesia?” It doesn’t, and is said to be painless and has very few side effects and risks.
This is an app that was created by Pfizer that helps people with some of the key elements of the treatment of depression. It helps by allowing people to set goals, track their mood, and share their results with their doctors. That being said, you don’t need to be in treatment with a doctor for depression for you to use it. Currently, Moodivator is only available for iPhone users.
Magnetic seizure therapy
Magnetic Seizure Therapy is a procedure that’s experimental at the moment. It utilizes magnetic fields in order to induce a seizure (a controlled one) inside the brain. The effects are purported to be similar to those that are inherent with ECT. While doctors and researchers still don’t understand why, the seizures that are induced can rapidly reduce the symptoms of depression. This treatment does require a hospital stay because you need to be anesthetized for the procedure.
Vagus nerve stimulation
Vagus nerve stimulation is actually a surgical procedure that involves a device sort of like a pacemaker that delivers electrical impulses right to the vagus nerve. This nerve connects your brain in the areas that are thought to be involved in the regulation of moods. For reasons not understood by doctors, these impulses transmitted through the vagus nerve and into the brain seem to relieve symptoms of depression. These impulses might affect the method used by the circuits of the nerve cells to transmit signals to the parts of the brain that have to do with mood. That being said, it typically takes a few months before the effects are noticed.
While all of these innovative treatments are causing quite a bit of excitement, most of them are still in the experimental stages of development. Doctors aren’t quite sure yet as to whether they’ll be effective for a long period of time, or even what the effects can be. All of that aside, if you’re suffering from depression and have had no relief from the traditional forms of treatment options, you might want to ask your doctor about signing up for one of the clinical trials. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.