Millions of people around the globe are plagued with feelings of depression, some of whom experience such severe symptoms that they find themselves fighting a constant uphill battle. In fact, approximately 350 million people around the globe suffer with poor mental health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The good news is that depression is one of many mental illnesses that can be treated today. Not the same could be said for people with mental disorders in the early years of humankind, however, when there was no clear contrast amid the range of mental dysfunctions.
Restoring Chemical Abnormalities in the Brain
Some 130 years after Sigmund Freud invented psychoanalysis in the 1800’s, brain stimulation therapy was used to treat patients with mental disorders for the very first time. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that solid research into brain functioning was conducted, resulting in the development of antidepressants.
A typical prescription for depression in the 21st century will include a drug that falls into one or more of the following categories:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
- 5-HT1A Receptor Antagonist
- 5-HT2 Receptor Antagonist
- 5-HT3 Receptor Antagonist
- Tetracyclic Antidepressant
- Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)
- Dopamine Reuptake Blocker
- Noradrenergic Antagonist
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Prescribed to replenish serotonin imbalance, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are prescribed more often than other types of antidepressants. Aside from the mood-altering effects, antidepressants may also treat pain and in some cases can cause side effects, ranging from dry mouth and drowsiness to constipation and nausea.
While depression meds may prove effective for some, they can drive treatment-resistant patients to the doctor’s office for a change in medications. In this case, one might opt for an alternative or secondary type of treatment such as transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Common Treatments for Depression and the Risks
Waking up in the morning and swallowing an antidepressant pill with a glass of water may not seem like much of an exhausting task, but what happens when you discover you have an intolerance to certain medications? Doctor’s visits would ensue and you would have to try a completely new type of medication to stimulate the less active and depression-prone part of the brain, AKA the prefrontal cortex.
The prefrontal cortex is positioned at the frontal lobes (front). It takes on multifarious roles, from decision-making to your overall personality. Unless the prefrontal cortex functions properly, depressive thoughts may override positive thoughts. Giving it some tender loving care all starts with getting an accurate diagnosis. Following this, a doctor can prescribe something that works efficiently.
Examples of some common depression treatments and the risks of relying on them are as follows:
- Strattera (atomoxetine) – Vomiting, stomach upset, weakness and fatigue are commonly associated with atomoxetine.
- Halcion (triazolam) – Dangers of this medication includes overdose, low blood pressure, confusion and dizziness.
- Prozac (fluoxetine) – One of the most commonly prescribed brands of fluoxetine is Prozac, which could cause compulsive actions/thoughts.
- Amphetamines – Changes in behavior are highly likely, due to the “high” associated with this speed-like medication.
If you find yourself at the doctor’s office requesting an increased dosage or change in the above-mentioned medications, brain stimulation may be a worthwhile treatment option.
Brain Stimulation as a Reversible Treatment Option
The aim of TMS is to change neural network activity inside the brain. The treatment site is focused on the left prefrontal cortex; an area of the brain with a tendency to become “lazy” when a patient is depressed. Magnetic pulses are delivered via a non-invasive tool to “awaken” the underactive parts.
These electric currents do not cause pain for the patient, who will be awake during the entire treatment. Changes in mood may be noticeable within as little as a few hours and since the treatment is non-invasive, TMS is a reversible option.
Patient Criteria for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Magnets for depression are another possible treatment. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), around 30-50% of people who use antidepressants will require secondary treatment after experiencing minimal or zero reaction to prescribed medication. Although this doesn’t mean that TMS Magnets for depression will suit everybody, it is a good indicator for bewildered individuals who are curious about meeting the TMS patient criteria.
Suitable patients will be able to answer “yes” to the following questions:
- Have you been prescribed one or more of the above-mentioned antidepressants, only to experience little or no results?
- Do you feel as though you are constantly increasing your medication dosage?
- Are you feeling depressed, despite taking prescribed meds for mental health?
How TMS Works to Improve Mental Clarity
In the year 2008, TMS was given the thumbs-up by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a secondary treatment option for depressed individuals who did not respond to first-stage treatment, e.g. Prozac or opioid antidepressants.
TMS uses gentle magnetic waves and electric currents, which repeatedly connect with weak parts of the brain. After multiple sessions, the prefrontal cortex will strengthen. Subsequently, the system will begin to function efficiently and the symptoms of depression will gradually ease/disappear completely. Magnets for depression is useful treatment.
If you don’t find relief in your first- stage depression treatments, don’t lose hope. You can still take control of your health. There are secondary options that are available for you, magnets for depression can help but you have to ask your doctor to see if this kind of treatment is right for you.
Have you used TMS? How was your experience? Share your stories in the comments below.