Depression is more common than you think
By Dr. Dhiren Patel, Solace Counseling, Collin County LIVING WELL Magazine
Depression is a serious illness that affects people in many different ways. Unfortunately, those suffering from Depression may not even recognize they have it, as the symptoms and feelings associated with the disease manifest in a multitude of different ways. “I’m working too hard,” “I don’t sleep enough,” “I have no energy,” and finally, “I have no desire to do anything.” These are all common expressions that I hear from people visiting my office, most of whom are unclear as to why they are even seeing me.
Before the 1960s, most people regarded Depression as a “moral weakness.” It many cases, it was either left untreated or those suffering from it turned to substances such as alcohol to help alleviate their symptoms. As medical science advanced, the first medication for Depression came out. This medication helped some symptoms, but doctors still had a hard time believing that medication could help improve Depression. At that time, counseling/psychotherapy was considered the primary treatment and most patients did not seek this for various reasons. People continued to suffer with little hope of improvement.
In those days, Depression patients who suffered extensively were offered ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy), more commonly known as “shock treatments.” Although ECT is effective, the negative connotation, risk of anesthetic exposure, memory loss and other complications make it a last resort treatment. Note: ECT is still available today to the most severely depressed patients who have not responded to traditional therapies.
During the 1980s, a major breakthrough occurred in Depression medication. The introduction of Prozac (also known as an SSRI) gave doctors a tool to treat Depression on a wider scale. People responded to the medication initially and doctors felt confident that Prozac and other SSRIs (Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa and Lexapro) would help to “cure” Depression. Patients reported improvement quickly and had no side effects. Like most things, as more people began to take the medications, doctors noticed that not all patients got better. Side effects also began to be reported, including tiredness, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and feeling flat emotionally. Also, as the years went by, doctors began realizing that these medicines achieved remission (the absence of Depression symptoms) in only about 29% of patients. This means that the other 71% of patients were NOT better and usually gave up on their medications––most of the time without telling their doctor they were doing so.
As both patients and doctors continue to struggle with Depression, new treatment options have recently been approved by the FDA that may bring significant relief. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is the first non-invasive approved treatment. At our office in Plano, we have treated over 60 patients with this revolutionary treatment over the last two years. We have found big improvements in patients who in the past reported little success on medication. Eighty four percent of our TMS-treated patients have achieved remission. This is great, especially when compared to the remission rate of medications mentioned above. Some have also been able to discontinue or reduce their medications. Many of our patients have experienced their anxiety levels decrease tremendously, leaving them happier and healthier.
To find out more about this promising treatment for Depression, please call 214-494-9867 for a NO COST consultation.