When we think about being ill, we might picture ourselves shivering with a fever under the covers. When we are sick with a health event we are down for the count, unable to do pretty much anything. We languish in bed and skip work. We are surly and frustrated because all we want to do is feel better…and as quickly as possible.
But a mental health disorder such as depression can also impair our ability to function at normal daily tasks. When battling depression, we may also find ourselves laying around all day unable to muster up any energy to tackle everyday responsibilities. We might call in sick, multiple times, as the idea of sitting in an office while feeling so badly is unthinkable under the thick fog of fatigue. We might struggle with sleep, either sleeping too much or too little.
Depression is a serious condition that can persist despite all efforts to remedy the problem. Multiple antidepressant trials may have resulted in absolutely zero clinical improvement in the condition. As the depression hangs on week after week, the effects begin to pile up. You get behind at work or your home is in utter disarray. You might snap at your loved ones or isolate yourself from everyone. What more is there to do when depression doesn’t go away?
Why Antidepressants May Not Work
When a patient visits a doctor for a physical or mental health issue, invariably the doctor will write a prescription for the condition in hopes that the medication will provide relief or cure the ailment. When a doctor considers prescribing a medication he or she will do a risk versus benefit assessment. Will the benefits to the patient outweigh the risks? When it comes to treating depression, antidepressants have been the cornerstone treatment protocol for decades. However, these drugs come with some very unpleasant side effects, so when a patient is not really experiencing any significant relief of depression symptoms, they will not be willing to tolerate the adverse effects and often abandon the prescription.
Common side effects experienced include:
- Weight gain
- Loss of sex drive
- Dry mouth
Recent clinical studies have revealed that nearly half of patients who trial antidepressants do not achieve positive clinical results. These are the individuals who wonder what to do when depression doesn’t go away…why can help them?
What to Do When Depression Doesn’t Go Away
When someone is suffering the effects of treatment-resistant depression they can become very frustrated and despairing, only adding to the misery of their condition. After working closely with a psychiatrist or doctor for months, adjusting dosing and changing medications, while also attempting to tolerate the side effects, patients feel they have very few options left.
These treatment-resistant patients do have some alternative routes to take for treating the depression, however. It may require thinking outside the box and being open to new technologies, but most who suffer from depression are more than willing to be open to new types of therapies. Among these are brain stimulation techniques, such as TMS therapy, and trying some holistic therapies.
What is TMS Therapy?
TMS therapy is the latest, and safest, iteration of neuromodulation techniques that work to modify neurotransmitters in the limbic region of the brain. TMS therapy is noninvasive, meaning it does not involve any type of surgery or surgical process. Because it is non-invasive, TMS does not depend on general anesthesia or a hospital stay. There is no post-therapy recovery period needed. TMS is safe and effective.
TMS utilizes technology that is very similar to an MRI, in that it uses magnetic fields as well. The round of therapy will take 4-6 weeks to complete, involving 5 sessions per week. TMS has been extensively studied globally and is approved in Europe to treat a wide range of medical conditions and mental health disorders. Here in the U.S., TMS was cleared to treat patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder in 2008.
How TMS Therapy Can Help When Antidepressants Don’t
TMS works by penetrating brain tissue and correcting imbalances in neuron activity, which can lead to improvement in depression symptoms. A typical TMS therapy session involves a patient seated comfortably in an office setting, while a coil is positioned on his or her scalp. The coil is situated over the left dorsal prefrontal cortex, where the limbic system is located.
The powerful magnetic pulses will penetrate the scalp, upon which electrical currents are induced and which reach about 2.5 cm into the targeted tissue. The currents then stimulate the lazy neurons to help recalibrate brain chemistry, normalizing it. Each session lasts about 40 minutes, and side effects are minimal. Generally, TMS is very well tolerated by patients. Results begin to show up at about week 3, starting with improved sleep quality. When TMS is prescribed along with psychotherapy, patients may experience excellent clinical results.
Can Holistic Measures Help Depression?
Holistic therapies and experiential activities are also used successfully in tandem with psychotherapy. Many of the holistic measures will bring about a sense of calm and wellbeing, which can help patients struggling with treatment-resistant depression. There are a wide variety of holistic options to choose from, depending on preference and how they affect the individual. Some of these include:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Guided meditation
- Massage therapy
- Equine therapy
- Art therapy
- Regular cardio exercise
- Reducing sugars and processed foods from the diet
Making some healthy lifestyle changes combined with the holistic therapies can offer some amount of symptom relief for individuals with treatment-resistant depression. It is also possible to combine TMS therapy, holistic therapy, and psychotherapy for potential treatment success.
Anew Era TMS Austin Leading TMS Therapy Provider in Texas and California
Anew Era TMS Austin provides highly effective TMS therapy for individuals with treatment-resistant depression. Those who have suffered through several trials of antidepressants, or the unpleasant side effects of these drugs, wonder what to do when depression doesn’t go away. Anew Era TMS Austin offers new hope to these patients with TMS therapy. For more information about this exciting alternative therapy, please contact the team at (888) 503-1549.