Honestly, I have never suffered from clinical depression, which is defined as “a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life”. I have suffered from the “blues” at times… I know I suffered deep grief…But the depression I felt as I was grieving didn’t take me to the dark debilitating places I have heard others express.
I recently read an article in the Harvard Health Publishing which states depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States among people ages 15 to 44! Did you know that? I certainly didn’t. The same article by Adam P. Stern Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): Hope for Stubborn Depression states, “While there are many effective treatments for depression, first-line approaches such as antidepressants and psychotherapy do not work for everyone. In fact, approximately two-thirds of people with depression don’t get adequate relief from the first antidepressant they try. After two months of treatment, at least some symptoms will remain for these individuals, and each subsequent medication tried is actually less likely to help than the one prior.”
Stern continues to write in his article, “Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation. TMS devices operate completely outside of the body and affect central nervous system activity by applying powerful magnetic fields to specific areas of the brain that we know are involved in depression. TMS doesn’t require anesthesia and it is generally exceptionally well tolerated as compared to the side effects often seen with medications and ECT. The most common side effect is headache during or after treatment. A rare but serious side effect is seizures, and TMS may not be appropriate for people at high risk such as those with epilepsy, a history of head injury, or other serious neurologic issues.” I, personally, know people that have undergone this treatment and it has lifted the dark cloud that once followed them day in and day out.
My lesson: Educate myself on this topic that affects so many and share my findings.