Depression is known as one of the most common – and treatable forms of mental illness. There are 264 million people who suffer from depression worldwide, with over 16.2 million adult cases being recorded in the United States. The United States also has the third highest number of cases in the world according to the World Health Organization, behind China and India. For many patients, anti-depressant medications known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and counseling have helped greatly. But other patients have found their depression to be chronic, long lasting, and resistant to traditional forms of treatment.
One in five adults in the United States will end up struggling with depression or a form of depressive disorder at some point in their lifetime. Despite it being commonly understood amongst professionals, many people still struggle with it daily. The illness can come in waves or be constant and like other mood disorders the episodes can last for months or years. When their depression is severe, people find that performing daily routines becomes very difficult if not impossible. Anxiety can be a feature of someone’s depression, or it can occur as a separate disorder alongside depression.
Chronic depression can make even the most basic of life functions a challenge. People may lose their appetite, distance themselves from friends and family, become apathetic, experience emotional numbness, neglect hygiene along with other behavioral changes. In the most extreme cases, severe depression can lead to suicide or attempted suicide. Depression is treatable, but depression relief comes in a variety of forms. Each type of treatment varies in results depending on the patient, and what may work for one person might not be successful for another. As stated previously, a combination of medication (SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, etc.) and therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has helped plenty of patients.
Common SSRIs medications include Zoloft (Sertraline), Paxil (Paroxetine), Prozac (Fluoxetine), Celexa (Citalopram), and Lexapro (escitalopram). All are used to help restore the chemical imbalances in the brain by increasing serotonin levels to help alleviate mental illnesses like depression. But certain patients can prove to be resistant to this and over time, receive less relief from their depression than they might have gotten initially.
For patients who experience this sort of problem, it is easy to feel discouraged or lose hope. But there are revolutionary treatments that are non-invasive that allow a patient to get lasting relief from depression without severe side effects. Other alternatives to medication in the past have included extreme treatments like Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). But, with new technology being developed and refined, such frightening options are no longer the only path to take.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or (TMS) provides people with a safer, less scary and medication-free way to reclaim the lives they once had. This process involves a machine that uses a changing magnetic field to stimulate certain areas of the brain associated with depression. Electromagnetic induction (like that of an MRI machine) encourages more blood flow to help recalibrate and activate parts of the brain to a better level.
This form of treatment was cleared by the FDA in 2008 and has seen great success in helping patients. Dr. Albert uses a fully equipped machine for such treatment, known as CloudTMS. He is the only practitioner in Wilmington, NC to offer this kind of treatment using this specific machine. The treatments take as little time as 10-20 minutes per session over a six-week period. 70% of patients report that they feel positive benefits from his TMS therapy. Dr. Aaron Albert dedicates his practice to helping adults get back to the life they once knew. The machine at his practice is fully FDA cleared to help those with resistant depression. Best of all, TMS is covered by most forms of insurance.
If you are someone who has suffered from chronic depression, and have felt that medication has not helped, consider depression relief using a gentler method such as TMS.