Depressed? Magnetic waves may help

Posted on August 13, 2015

The rTMS treatment was first approved for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2008 in patients whose depression has not responded to at least one anti-depressant medication.

Clinical depression is traditionally treated with psychotherapy and anti-depressant drugs.

"However, each person has a different genetic make-up. Medicine works differently on the mind. There will also be a significant proportion who suffer from side effects," said Dr Winslow.

If there are no alternative therapy methods, patients for whom traditional treatments do not work or the side effects are intolerable may try electroconvulsive therapy, he said.

Electroconvulsive therapy involves sending electric currents through the brain to trigger a brief seizure. It can be a very effective emergency treatment - for someone who is highly suicidal, for instance - but the patient has to be put under anaesthesia and hospitalised. He may also suffer short-term side effects, including confusion and memory loss. "It works and it's fast," said Dr Winslow. "The main problem is that the effect wears off after a month or so."

With rTMS, the effect can last a lot longer, though it does not work on everyone. Dr Winslow said that 12 of the 20 patients who tried the therapy have experienced "at least three to nine months of significant improvements in their lives".

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Category(s):Depression

Source material from http://www.straitstimes.com/


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