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ECT or TMS for Treating Depression

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ECT or TMS for Treating Depression

Depression is an expensive illness, both in medical costs and lack of productivity. The first line of treatment usually begins with the use of antidepressants called SSRIs. When the SSRIs no longer become effective, patients are switched to other kinds of antidepressants and then to other kinds of medication. In addition to requiring a lot of trial and error, the drugs can cause side effects. When these treatments are no longer providing desired results, patients may seek benefits from Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy, or ECT, is a medical procedure that induces short seizures by sending electric currents through the brain. Researchers think ECT works by changing the brain's chemistry, relieving symptoms of depression, as well as acute mania with psychotic features, dementia, or catatonia. It was first used in Italy in the 1930s. Although ECT is effective, it must be done under general anesthesia and requires continued maintenance to prevent relapse. ECT is generally safe but risks can include: memory loss, complications from anesthesia such as heart problems, headaches, jaw pain and nausea. Patients generally are prescribed a medication after treatments complete to prevent relapse.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

A groundbreaking new treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, is presenting an alternative to ECT and offering new hope to those coping with depression. Unlike ECT, TMS is a minimally invasive procedure that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the region of the brain involved in mood and emotions. TMS does not require sedation or cause seizures. With TMS you can return to work immediately afterwards. It is considered a safe and effective therapy. Possible side effects are only minor and may include: soreness at the site of the electrodes, headaches, lightheadedness, and tingling or twitching of facial muscles. TMS has long lasting symptom relief, is covered by most insurance, is FDA cleared and has no side effect due to drugs or anesthesia.

If you think you might be suffering from depression, be sure to take our Depression Test.

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