Brain Stimulation Reduces Suicidal Thinking in People with Hard-to-Treat Depression

Posted on May 14, 2018

Suicidal thinking can occur in several mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder. It has been estimated that about 90 per cent of people who die by suicide have a mental illness. While medications and psychotherapy are effective treatments for many people with mental illnesses, there's an urgent need for new treatments that quickly and specifically reverse suicidal thinking.

According to a new CAMH study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 40 per cent of people in this study reported that they no longer experienced suicidal thoughts after receiving bilateral repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).

During the study, researchers used a non-invasive form of brain stimulation, eTMS, which directs magnetic pulses at a targeted area of the brain. At the start of these studies, 156 people reported that they experienced suicidal thoughts. By the end of the study, 40 per cent of people who received bilateral rTMS reported that they no longer experienced suicidal thoughts. Bilateral rTMS was also useful in preventing the development of suicidal thoughts in people who were not experiencing suicidal thinking at the start of the study.

These promising findings give hope that, with further evidence, rTMS may offer a new way to prevent suicide in people with hard-to-treat depression, and possibly other mental illnesses.

Category(s):Depression, Suicide Prevention

Source material from Science Daily

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