4 Ways to Treat Depression

Submitted by Timothy Kane, MD, Comprehensive Behavioral Health & TMS Center

Although depression remains one of the most common medical conditions in the United States, it often remains a less discussed condition. Almost 7% of the U.S population has Major Depressive Disorder with likely many others who are going undiagnosed and untreated. Among those with depression, around 37% go untreated even while there are many options for the treatment of depression available.

Medications: One of the most commonly used ways to treat depression is with medications. Approximately 2/3 of patients with depression will respond positively to medications. Among the most efficacious are SSRIs, which prevent important neurotransmitters from being reabsorbed and, therefore, they are able to stay in a person’s brain for longer, helping to treat the depression. There are many other medication classes that treat depression, including some new medications on the market that work differently from our more commonly used medications and can allow patients with perhaps different brain chemistry a different method for treating the depression on a chemical level.

Counseling: Research studies show that the best outcomes for the treatment of depression are when a patient has a combination of medical therapy, like medications, and counseling. Counselors are trained professionals with advanced academic degrees which enable them to work with patient’s either in groups or individually to treat depression. They often use specific types of therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for treating patients.

Lifestyle changes: Another way we can help with depression is through making important lifestyle changes that impact a person’s overall health. Exercise can be a huge benefit for people with depression and can increase some of the same neurotransmitters that are targets for medications. It can also increase energy and improve a person’s overall health. Eating healthy is not just important for physical health, but is also important for mental health. Making healthy changes to one’s diet can impact their mood and help in treating depression. Patients have also found benefit in engaging in mindfulness activities whether they be yoga or becoming active in their religious groups.

TMS: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-drug, non-invasive treatment that is approved for people who may have medication-resistant depression. Approximately 1/3 of patients with depression will not respond to medications and will need a non-medication therapy. TMS uses a magnet to target a person’s mood center to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters that are important in treating depression. TMS is often covered by insurance and has great success rates with 58% of people having significant improvement in their depression and 37% of people achieving remission for their depression. It is done in the office, and patients often relax or watch TV during the treatments.

These treatments will be especially important to understand as a society moving forward with both depression and suicide on the rise in our country. The goal of depression treatment is remission and the first step is seeking help. Whether it is medications, TMS or a combination approach, getting back to you is the end goal in treating depression.

Comprehensive Behavioral Health & TMS Center is now accepting new patients. To schedule a consult, call (540) 688-2646 or request an appointment by visiting our website at www.getbacktoyou.com