Mental health is an integral part of our life. On a macro scale, it determines how a society is going to function, but it was always has been frowned upon to talk about mental illnesses and diagnose them. Historically, people suffering from mental illnesses were not diagnosed at the right time with appropriate medication and treatments.
Depression is a coldly complex disease that is triggered by causes unknown. In other words, it is a looming black cloud that often pours down upon the suffering person for a continuous period of time. Since there was a stigma attached to depression and other mental illnesses, there was no cure for the same have you heard about depression treatment without drugs?
But as time progressed, medicine and our thoughts towards depression have changed for the better, now for those who are tired of these “downpours”, can choose the antidepressants to be their ray of sunlight.
But, these drugs come with their own set of repercussions. To understand antidepressants, we need to understand the disease itself. Depression is a complexly intricate disease which can be crudely narrowed down to the following triggers:
There are no hard laid foundations to ascertain the cause of depression. This is because it boils down to neurotransmitters, chemicals released by our brain which allow communication among different parts of the brain. These chemicals also help us regulate and show our emotions. One particular chemical, called cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, results in a shrinking like an effect in the development of the hippocampus, a brain structure embedded deep inside the temporal lobe. Scientists have come up with a theory that the size of the hippocampus could be the lead in the play of clinical depression. In such cases, there is a need for other methods of treatment than just therapy.
To combat depression, the patients are given antidepressants or colloquially known as drugs. They help the receptors, which are norepinephrine deficit, and help them alleviate depression.
But since there is no concrete theory to understand depression; it is an unknown terrain with landmines, one wrong diagnosis can affect the brain and can cause great distress to the patient. Research has shown that drugs do not always work in favour of the patient, and in some cases, can worsen the situation. They often come with their own set of comebacks, such as
Transcranial magnetic stimulation was first introduced to us in 1985 by Anthony Barker and his team. The principle behind this non-invasive procedure is that when electricity is passed through a coil, there is a magnetic field created which in turn affects the neurons, and neurons are essentially electric signals. Changes in the intensity and speed, causes the neurons to release neurotransmitters by depolarizing them. Studies show that rTMS(repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) can be used for therapeutic treatments, supported by testimonials of patients stating that there was a noticeable improvement in their mood. Since it is non-invasive, the chances of cognitive impairment are eliminated and so is the loss of memory. To date, there have not been any severe side effects following the treatment. Research says that in comparison to other procedures and routines, it is safer in terms of intensity.
After the approval from the FDA, TMS centers have been carrying out the treatment on patients that have not responded to 1 antidepressant administered on them. After the trials, the following points were inferred:
To further support these inferences, Tel Aviv University reported that TMS, grouped with other treatments received a 75% response rate, which is phenomenal considering the diverse symptoms of the disease.
These findings have paved a new path to approach clinical depression and other mental illnesses. Their tms center being set up globally to provide access to the population that needs it. And the therapy needs their response rate to make establish itself in most of the psychiatry hospitals.
The therapy has gained momentum in India as well and is yet to bloom.