Once referred to as melancholy, clinical depression has come to be recognized recently. Medical science has found ways to treat this debilitating and oftentimes dangerous disorder. While much about depression remains a mystery for scientists and researchers, these treatment options represent the cutting edge in terms of ways to address a condition affecting more than 300 million people around the world.
The first step for most people battling clinical depression is to take prescribed medication. The family of medicine collectively known as antidepressants includes escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft.) While these and other antidepressants have been shown to be effective at treating depression, they often come with a number of side effects, some of which are especially problematic for sexually active adults, those who struggle with their weight, and those who are prone to nausea.
Short for transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS is a non-invasive procedure used to treat depression in cases where the patient refuses to take medication, the medication isn’t working, or the medication worked for a while but is no longer showing the same effectiveness. Traditionally used as a diagnostic tool in the aftermath of a stroke or other disorder potentially affecting the brain and central nervous system, TMS uses a changing magnetic field to alter the flow of electric current in specific areas of the brain. Studies indicate this procedure to be a promising option to treat major depressive disorder which has proved resistant to other treatment options.
Electroconvulsive therapy ( ECT) has been a proven technique for treating a number of mental disorders for over 80 years. Originally referred to as “electroshock therapy”, ECT developed a negative reputation during the latter half of the 20th century. This is likely due to the dramatic nature of the procedure and the critical portrayal of it in various forms of media including books, movies, and television. Despite the enduring perception of ECT as a form of torture performed on helpless patients, the medical community continues to stand behind the procedure as a viable option for treatment-resistant major depression. This is due to the fact that positive results are seen in roughly 50% of those who undergo ECT.
Vagus nerve stimulation is an option for treatment-resistant depression wherein the patient has a very thin battery-powered device implanted in the chest connected to the vagus nerve in the neck via wire placed under the skin. This device sends electrical signals to the nerve, which are then passed to the brain. While medical science is unable to explain why or how, this process has been shown to relieve the symptoms of major depressive disorder.
Diet and Exercise
A healthy Diet and regular exercise have actually shown to help improve mood, boost energy levels, and therefore provide assistance in lifting someone out of a depressed state. Those who are serious about fighting their depression must acknowledge the importance of diet and exercise as part of the process. The sooner you get your nutrition and fitness levels back on track, the sooner your mind will be better able to effectively manage stress and allow you to enjoy the good things in life again.
Clinical depression is a condition which has always threatened to strike us. It’s only been recently that medical science has found proven ways to strike back. While none are considered to be a silver bullet in the fight against major depressive disorder, each holds promise for those willing to give them a try.