Everyone feels sad at times, but major depressive disorder (MDD) and other forms of depression are more than just feeling down. Depression causes persistent, long-lasting symptoms that can make even the most simple activities extremely difficult to take on. Depression affects over 300 million people and is the #1 cause of disability worldwide, yet many don’t understand exactly what it is.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes feelings of sadness, emptiness, and disinterest, and can interfere with a person’s ability to live a normal life. Some symptoms of depression include:
Someone with depression may not have all of these symptoms. In fact, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM—5), a person only has to experience five symptoms, including loss of interest or depressed mood, to be diagnosed with depression.
Depression also comes in many different forms, including:
Other disorders like anxiety and bipolar can also cause symptoms of depression, which is why it is so important to seek a professional for help. A licensed psychiatrist can evaluate your symptoms, provide you with an accurate diagnosis, and recommend a treatment plan based on your needs.
There are many different treatment options available for depression, including medication. Unfortunately, many antidepressant medications also come with adverse side effects.
Up to 40% of people with depression do not respond to medication. If your depression isn’t improving very much (or at all) with antidepressant medications, then you may have what’s known as treatment-resistant depression. Luckily, there are alternative methods that have been known to combat difficult-to-treat cases.
One option that’s proven effective for treatment-resistant depression is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a drug-free, FDA-approved treatment for major depression and OCD, and is covered by most insurance plans for those who have been unsuccessful with traditional drug therapy. TMS uses technology similar to an MRI magnet to stimulate underactive areas deep within the brain where depression and other types of mood disorders are rooted. Through repetitive stimulation of these targeted brain regions, TMS repairs the brain’s ability to make new neural connections and effectively retrains the affected nerve cells to fire properly again – much like rebooting a computer to restore its original functionality. Clinical trials showed that 1 in 3 people achieved full remission with one course of TMS, and the latest data from real-world clinical settings shows an average 50% of people with depression are achieving remission with TMS. Additional sessions can have a compound effect to improve results even more and is shown to be an effective maintenance treatment for those who may experience relapse symptoms down the line.
Many psychiatrists also prescribe TMS as an effective off-label treatment for anxiety, bipolar, eating disorders, addiction, and other conditions.
Ketamine is an exciting break-through treatment option for stubborn depression. Originally used as an anesthetic, Ketamine in recent years has been proven to be a highly effective depression treatment for fast-acting relief within hours. In addition to depression, doctors are also prescribing Ketamine as an off-label treatment for conditions like depression, PTSD, bipolar, eating disorders, addiction, and others. Medical experts are calling this drug the most exciting development for mental health treatment in decades.
To treat depression and other conditions, ketamine is administered in a very low dose through an IV. Because such a low dose is given, patients generally don’t experience things like hallucinations or a bad trip.
Ketamine works very quickly to relieve the symptoms of depression. Some patients may feel relief in as little as four hours. But the recommended course of ketamine treatment is six infusions administered within a two-week period. Typically, if a person is going to respond to ketamine therapy, they will see improvement within the first few infusions.
Serenity Mental Health Centers specializes in the treatment of depression and other conditions with TMS and Ketamine, as well as traditional medication management. 85% of Serenity patients have achieved significant results from TMS and Ketamine treatments, with 55% achieving full remission. To learn how alternative treatments for depression can help you take back your life, contact us today for a confidential consultation.