Home > Depression Issues > Controversial New Brain Treatment for Depression

Controversial New Brain Treatment for Depression

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 6 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Depression Brain Treatment Controversial

A new brain treatment for depression has stirred up a great deal of controversy when it was approved. The treatment is non-invasive and utilises a magnetic device that stimulates a depressed person's brain. The unique device works by transmitting magnetic pulses through the person's skull.

Unresponsive Depression

The treatment is aimed at depressed people who have been unresponsive to conventional depression therapies. These include antidepressants and a number of other therapies. The new therapy is known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and is believed to be relatively low risk in comparison with other invasive procedures such as implanting electrodes in a patient or administering Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).

The treatment is one that can only be provided upon the provision of a prescription by a physician and is intended for people with severe clinical depression. For a patient to receive the therapy, they must have previously tried drug therapy and other forms of depression therapy such as psychotherapy.

Positive Research Findings

The device was approved because of a study that looked at TMS and compared it to a 'placebo' device. Patients who received treatment from TMS showed improvement versus those who received treatment from the other device. The study was also considered accurate and reputable because not only did patients not know who received the real device, but neither did the doctors nor the researchers who rated the level of depression after the treatment.

Controversy in TMS

Still, the treatment is considered controversial, mostly because it is directed right at the brain and these kinds of treatments tend to raise many questions. One criticism from other researchers has been that a patient can tell if they are receiving a real treatment or a 'bogus' one, which would sway the study results to favour the new device.

There is, however, another clinical study trial underway to investigate the effectiveness of TMS. Hopefully, the results will be similarly positive and will show a low-risk profile for the device.

Understanding TMS

TMS works by stimulating the brain's nerve cells but it does so externally rather than inside the body. Given that it does not require surgery, it is considered non-invasive and also non-systemic because it does not enter the bloodstream.

The magnetic pulses are directed at the area of the brain that is thought to influence depression and mood. A patient doesn't require sedation or anaesthesia, which is another reason the treatment is considered to be low-risk, particularly in comparison with other depression treatments that have significant side-effects. In fact, the entire procedure for TMS lasts for approximately forty minutes and it is performed on an outpatient basis, usually in the office of a psychiatrist.

A patient will receive TMS daily for a period of four to six weeks although the downside is that the treatment is extremely expensive. Still, despite the controversy of it being a brain treatment, the new therapy is exciting news for depression patients who have seemingly tried every other treatment but with no success. The low risk of side-effects means that patients can feel more comfortable receiving treatment.

Improving Outcomes for Depression

While there is still much research needed on TMS, for now it can be viewed as a positive treatment in that it provides hope for people who have unsuccessfully tried other standard treatments for depression. Suffering from depression is devastating and the need for new, effective treatments is important to restoring happiness and balance to the lives of millions of Britons who suffer from the condition.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Hello
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    August 2017 I had my abortion it now arch 2018 I’ve hidden the way I felt and everything that happened when I found out me and my…
    27 March 2018
  • Amanda
    Re: How to Rebuild Your Life After a Breakdown
    Last year I had a severe Breakdown . I felt like everything in my life was going great .than our od nowhere I…
    27 March 2018
  • Tash
    Re: How to Rebuild Your Life After a Breakdown
    My father molested me and abused my mom. My mom divorced him when I was young. I felt for a long time that…
    15 March 2018
  • Mrs Cee
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had a surgical abortion on the 14th of Feb, I was 11 weeks pregnant. My partner forced me to have it because he said we needed…
    27 February 2018
  • Madhuri
    Re: Parental Favouritism and Depression
    My mother used to do partiality between me and my younger brother in terms of food.How to solve this problem?
    26 February 2018
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    Zzz - Your Question:I had an abortion 5 years ago, I was in my last year of school, the second person I ya ever slept with, and…
    19 February 2018
  • Zzz
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had an abortion 5 years ago, I was in my last year of school, the second person I ya ever slept with, and the first and last…
    19 February 2018
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    Zzz - Your Question:I had an abortion 5 years ago, I was in my last year of school, the second person I ya ever slept with, and…
    9 February 2018
  • Zzz
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had an abortion 5 years ago, I was in my last year of school, the second person I ya ever slept with, and the first and last…
    9 February 2018
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    Dolo - Your Question:Hi I’m 16 weeks pregnant , I’ve been dating this guy for 6 months now and we both have another kid. I’m so…
    19 January 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the OvercomeDepression website. Please read our Disclaimer.