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About Depression

Depression is a serious medical illness affecting more than 16 million American adults every year, 6.7% of all adults in the U.S. Often a debilitating disorder, depression results in a persistent state of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure which interferes with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, and physical health. Learn more about depression symptoms.
  • The 2nd leading cause of disability
    In 2010, the economic burden of depression was estimated at $210 billion and depression was the second leading cause of disability, accounting for almost 20% of all years of life lost to disability and premature death.

Depression can be a lethal disease

In fact, each year in the US, over 44,000 people die by suicide, 60% of whom suffer from depression.4, 5 Overall, women are almost twice as likely as men to suffer from depression; however, some experts feel that depression in men is under-reported.6 Depression has no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. About two-thirds of those who experience an episode of depression will have at least one other episode in their lives.

While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that depression is caused by decreased activity in the neural networks of the brain that regulate emotion and motivation. Increasing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain has been found to reactivate these neural networks, or create new networks. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells. Depression is most often treated with antidepressant medications. It is believed that antidepressant medications work by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters. Learn about depression treatment options.

More than 4 million patients do not receive adequate benefit from antidepressants and/or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them. For these patients, they need a new way back.

Symptoms

The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person. However, depression is generally observed as being a persistent state of sadness or a loss of the ability to experience pleasure. Those experiencing depression often lose interest in everyday activities or hobbies that were once enjoyed.

According to the standard diagnosis guide (DSM-V) published by the American Psychiatric Association, depression is diagnosed when an individual is experiencing either a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure plus four or more of the following symptoms during the same two-week period:

  • Significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain (a change of more than five percent of body weight in a month)
  • Significant increase or decrease in appetite
  • Excessive sleepiness or insomnia
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt nearly every day
  • Diminished ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

If you feel you are experiencing any of these depression symptoms, contact your doctor and speak with them about your depression treatment options.

Treating Depression

Depression symptoms are traditionally treated with psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, and these treatments are considered the first-line treatments. Specifically in the case of antidepressants, these medications are thought to increase the levels of under-performing neurotransmitters in the brain. While these changes have a positive effect for many, medications do not work for all and even when medication does work, there can still be some serious side effects to consider.

Antidepressant medications are chemicals that are typically taken by mouth. These chemicals circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body, often resulting in unwanted side effects such as weight gain, sexual problems, upset stomach, sleepiness, and dry mouth. Even after all this, it can take days or weeks for a medication to circulate through the body and reveal whether it is effective for a patient.

More than 4 million patients do not receive adequate benefit from antidepressants and/or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them. For these patients, alternative treatments for depression are available. These therapies have proven to work in some people that do not receive benefit from antidepressants and/or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them. These treatments include: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) and Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS).

Recent research into Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has created a new alternative treatment for depression. It is believed that by focusing electromagnetic pulses at specific regions of the brain, TMS activates and raises the levels of neurotransmitters in areas shown to be under-performing in people suffering from depression. TMS is a very promising treatment for depression and seeks to be a viable therapy for those who have not benefited from prior antidepressant medications.

Depression is a serious medical illness affecting more than 16 million American adults every year, 6.7% of all U.S. adults1. Often a debilitating disorder, depression results in a persistent state of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure which interferes with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, and physical health. Learn more about depression symptoms.

Depression & TMS

For decades, researchers have sought safe and effective treatments for depression. However, there is no single depression treatment which has been proven to work for everyone. Depression is often treated with antidepressant medications; however, alternative treatments for depression are available. These depression therapies have been shown to work in people who do not receive benefit from medications or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them. One alternative therapy for the treatment of depression is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). NeuroStar TMS Therapy was recently FDA-cleared for patients suffering from depression who have not achieved satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medications.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Depression symptoms are traditionally treated with psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, and these treatments are considered the first-line treatments. Specifically in the case of antidepressants, these medications are thought to increase the levels of under-performing neurotransmitters in the brain. While these changes have a positive effect for many, medications do not work for all and even when medication does work, there can still be some serious side effects to consider.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the area of the brain thought to control mood. It is sometimes referred to as rTMS which stands for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. TMS patients receiving TMS Therapy remain awake and alert during the procedure.

NeuroStar TMS Therapy ® is an outpatient procedure. The typical treatment course consists of at least 5 treatments per week over a 4-6 week period for 20-30 treatments. Each depression treatment session lasts approximately 19-37 minutes, depending on what the doctor determines is the correct protocol. NeuroStar TMS Therapy is:

  • Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery. It does not require any anesthesia or sedation, as the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.
  • Non-systemic, meaning that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body.
  • FDA cleared for patients who have not benefited from prior antidepressant treatment.