Depression is a complex and mysterious mental health disorder that continues to vex the psychiatric community. One patient might show dramatic improvement on a specific antidepressant, while another taking the same drug may experience no improvement at all. One form of psychotherapy may lead to amazing therapeutic breakthroughs with one patient, but that same psychotherapy could be totally ineffective for another patient.
Depression treatment does not fit into a tidy one-size-fits-all kit. Each patient will have unique biology, genetic makeup, personality traits, and life events that will shape the unique features of their depressive disorder accordingly. For this reason it is helpful to consider the different therapies to treat depression and how they might contribute to symptom relief for you personally.
Different Therapies to Treat Depression
There is a wide variety of treatment options for treating depression, including traditional treatment methods and alternative methods. The different therapies to treat depression include:
Medication: Antidepressant drug therapy remains the centerpiece of conventional depression treatment, and is usually prescribed alongside psychotherapy. With about 30 different antidepressants on the market, there is about 50% chance that one will alleviate the depression symptoms. These drugs, however, are accompanied by several unpleasant side effects, making them intolerable for some patients. Patients who either do not respond to the antidepressants or who discontinue taking them due to the adverse effects, are considered to be treatment-resistant. These patients may explore alternative therapies to help treat their depression, such as TMS therapy.
Psychotherapy: Depression can be triggered by a negative life event or an unresolved past trauma. Psychotherapy helps individuals explore their feelings and process these sources of emotional pain, while also identifying negative thought/behavior patterns. For treating depression, some of the most effective psychotherapies include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Problem-solving therapy or Solutions-focused therapy
Brain Stimulation Therapy: Modulating brain cells using electrical currents is an alternative depression treatment that can be helpful for individuals who are treatment-resistant to antidepressants. Types of brain stimulation therapy include:
- TMS therapy, which uses magnetic fields to target the mood center of the brain. TMS is noninvasive and requires no sedation or downtime and is safe and effective for treating depression.
- Electroconvulsive therapy, which requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay. This more intensive brain stimulation therapy induces seizures in an attempt to relieve depression symptoms.
- Vagus nerve stimulation, which involves surgical implantation of a pacemaker-type device that stimulates the vagus nerve throughout the day in an attempt to reduce depression symptoms.
Holistic: Holistic therapies are increasingly added to the treatment plan for depression patients. This is because these therapies promote relaxation, reduce stress, and lead to improved overall mood. Some holistic treatment options include:
- Yoga. Yoga is an eastern-influenced practice that involves the mind, body, and spirit by slow, purposeful poses while paying attention to the rhythm of breathing.
- Acupuncture. This ancient Chinese form of medicine uses tiny needles to help open up energy flows between points on the body.
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness training helps the individual remain focused on the present moment instead of ruminating about the past or anticipating future events.
- Massage therapy. A relaxation massage helps release chemicals and toxins in the tissues while promoting relaxation by reducing muscle tension.
- Equine therapy. Individuals are assigned a horse to care for. They groom, feed, and exercise the animal, which can lead to feelings of purpose and value.
- Gardening therapy. The peace and tranquility of gardening helps promote relaxation while also achieving a sense of accomplishment from productively growing plants or vegetables.
- Exercise. A wide body of scientific evidence has confirmed the psychological value of getting regular exercise. Increased endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin all boost mood as a result of exercise, and exercise can help improve sleep quality and concentration, too.
More About TMS Therapy For Treating Depression
In 2008 the FDA cleared transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treatment of patients who were treatment-resistant to antidepressants. Abundant clinical trials have shown, and continue to show, that TMS therapy can help reduce the symptoms of depression. A recent study of 257 adults, authors Dunner et al., concluded that not only did TMS therapy lead to high response rates, but that even after one year the remission rate from depression symptoms was 62%.
TMS uses powerful magnetic fields that are harnessed and delivered through a coil placed over the individual’s scalp. As the energy penetrates the brain tissue at a depth of about 2 cm, the induction of electric currents acts as a stimulus to the dormant brain cells in the left prefrontal cortex. This sluggish activity in the limbic system is a common condition among individuals with depression, based on brain imaging studies.
Over the course of treatments, which usually run 4-6 weeks with five TMS treatment sessions weekly, the brain cell activity normalizes and resets, which eventually results in positive treatment results. These results include better sleep quality, more energy, being more alert, improved concentration, and overall improved mood.
TMS therapy does not carry the risks that other brain stimulation therapies have because there is no need for general anesthesia. That is also the reason why TMS patients do not need to receive treatments in a hospital and there is no down time or recovery period needed. TMS is a well tolerated treatment for depression and should be considered for individuals who are treatment-resistant to antidepressant drug therapy.
Anew Era TMS Provides Expert TMS Therapy for Treatment of Depression
Anew Era TMS is an Orange County-based provider of TMS therapy. Using TMS therapy, the dedicated doctors and TMS technicians have helped hundreds of treatment-resistant depression patients reclaim their joy in life. When antidepressants have failed to relieve the symptoms of depression, TMS offers a safe, noninvasive treatment option that has demonstrated excellent results. For more information about the different therapies to treat depression and TMS in particular, please contact Anew Era TMS today at (888) 503-1549.