Depression hits more than 14 million American adults every year!
Depression is frequently debilitating. Because it globally hijacks the brain it hits its victims emotionally, cognitively, and in their ability to function in their families, educational pursuits, jobs, social life, and all other areas of life.
Depression results in a persistent state of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure which interferes with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, and physical health. Learn more about depression’s symptoms.
In 2000, the economic burden of depression was estimated at $83.1 billion in the US and researchers estimate that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide.
Depression can be a lethal disease.
In fact, each year in the US, over 30,000 people die by suicide, 60% of whom suffer from depression.
Overall, women are almost twice as likely as men to suffer from depression; however, some experts feel that depression in men is under-reported. Clinical depression has no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. About two-thirds of those who experience an episode of depression will have at least one other episode in their lives; episodes of depression are often repetitive.
What Causes Depression?
While the exact cause of depression is not known, a leading scientific theory is that depression is caused by decreased activity in the neural networks of the brain that regulate emotion and motivation. That’s not the only theory, and it may be that this illness has many causes.
Exactly How Can We Address This Decreased Neural Network Activity?
One of the best ways is by using brain stimulation technologies. New terms like brain plasticity, neuromodulation, interventional psychiatry, and neural mapping reflect the paradigm change occurring in the field of psychiatry.
We’ve been very fortunate to study with, talk with, and pick the brains of some of the premier brain stimulation researchers, and to get an insider’s look at what they’re doing to explore exactly what’s going on within the brain, and exactly how to best treat brain diseases.
Nobody understands everything about the brain, but we’re continuing to unlock the its secrets. Researchers at places like the Brain Stimulation Lab of MUSC are making enormous strides. They expect feedback from clinicians in places like Augusta, George, to be helpful to them, and are, like us, open minded skeptics.
For those of us who want to stamp our depression worldwide there is always something new to learn.
We’re learning more and more about brain mapping, and brain modulation, and how to successfully intervene in treating the serious psychiatric brain diseases such as depression. Sometimes learning means helping someone by volunteering to be a guinea pig, and being on the receiving end of TMS.
Quite effective brain stimulation treatments for several of the psychiatric brain diseases are available, and our understanding of exactly how these treatments work is growing. For example, we know a great deal about how to treat depression by stimulation of the DLPFC with magnetic stimulation therapy (TMS), but researchers and psychiatrists know there’s always more to learn about the brain.
Brain stimulation may reactivate neural networks, or possibly create new networks. Increasing levels of neurotransmitters – chemical messengers which send signals between brain cells in the brain – may also play a role.
We welcome your questions. This entire website is dedicated to providing information about depression, brain diseases, and effective treatments for these illnesses. Our goal is to stamp out depression worldwide beginning in our own backyard.
Is Depression Serious?
We think the answer is clear.
It impacts millions of people. It damages millions of families. The emotional cost of depression is beyond calculation. People die because of depression. By any standard, depression is as serious as cancer, or strokes, or heart attacks.
Is Depression A Brain Disease?
Yes, there’s no question about it.
This serious illness which ruins lives is a brain disease. The evidence is overwhelming. Sometimes a neuroimage is worth a thousand words!
As much as cardiac patients, or anyone else with a serious illness, people suffering from depression deserve the highest quality care possible. Depression isn’t a illness anyone can turn on or off at will. Nobody can just snap out of depression any more than people can snap out of a heart attack, or a stroke, or cancer.
Are Depressed People Able to Fully Recover?
Yes. When depression is successfully treated to full remission there are no residual effects.
All victims of depression need to recover – achieve remission – from this serious brain disease. While medicines sometimes work, TMS offers an alternative, advanced treatment option for people trying to find their way back to a normal, depression-free life.
What About Just Using Drugs To Treat Depression?
Depression is frequently treated with antidepressant medications which perhaps work by increasing the levels of brain neurochemicals, but millions of depressed patients don’t receive adequate benefit from antidepressants. Millions can’t tolerate the side effects of antidepressant drugs. Perhaps the most important side effect of antidepressants is they don’t work all that well, and far too seldom produce remission.
What Should Be The Goal of Depression Therapy?
At TMS Augusta we are committed to stamping out depression worldwide beginning in our backyard. One of our goals is sharing information about depression, including the fact that the only acceptable goal is remission. We want everyone to know about the residual effects left behind when depression is fully treated.
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Kessler, RC, et al. The epidemiology of major depressive disorder; results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). JAMA. 2003; 289(23): 3095-3105.