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New study finds brain stimulation can help those with severe depression

Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 18:07:17-04

(WXYZ) — Depression is a lot more than just the blues. It’s actually a mood disorder that often leads to emotional anguish.

Many who have it experience persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and all too often a loss of interest, even with things they once enjoyed doing.

Now depression is not something you can just snap out of. It’s typically treated with drugs and counseling. But this doesn’t always work on tough cases.

That’s when brain stimulation techniques may be used. These are non-surgical techniques that use magnetic fields or electrical currents.

Now there are different types and this particular study looked at magnetic seizure therapy, transcranial direct current stimulation, and TMS - transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Researchers analyzed data from 113 clinical trials with over 6,700 patients with major depression or bipolar depression. And what they found was, that all of these brain stimulation techniques were more effective than sham therapy.

Now for those who don’t know what sham therapy is, let me explain. Sham therapy means that the doctors go through the motions but actually don’t do the treatment. It’s like a placebo and helps researchers know if medical treatment is effective or not.

And it turns out that brain stimulation techniques are effective, in particular TMS. So if you or a loved are struggling with depression, this could be an option for you. But, be sure to speak with your doctor first.

Now depression isn’t something you can heal on your own, but there are some self-care steps that might help, so here are my prescriptions:

  1. Don’t drink alcohol and avoid recreational drugs. These can actually make your symptoms much worse.
  2. Control stress in your life. It can lead to major depression in susceptible people.
  3. Make sure you have a treatment plan in place. And don’t abruptly stop it just because you’re feeling better.
  4. Don’t suffer in silence. There are organizations that offer counseling, education and support groups.

And as always, don’t forget to eat healthily, get regular exercise and lots of sleep. It’s very important to take care of yourself.

Are you struggling with sleep? Not getting enough of it? Then tune in this Saturday at 1 pm for an all-new Dr. Nandi Show! Sleep Psychologist Deirdre Conroy, Ph.D., joins Dr. Partha Nandi, MD to share how she cured one man’s chronic insomnia after it nearly destroyed his life. You’ll also learn how the body, mind and spirit can impact the sleep cycle; how women can go from worn out to well-rested; and an Infant Sleep Consultant shares some great advice for tired new parents.