How to Deal With Depression
Two New Treatments

New innovative treatments provide hope for those with chronic resistant depression -- but are we overlooking something important?

There are new treatments being developed for depression. Two that are producing positive results are electrical deep brain stimulation and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

Electrical deep brain stimulation involves stimulating the brain by applying a few volts through electrodes implanted deep inside the brain. The initial results have been very positive. Those treated report improvement in depression with very few side effects.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation uses short bursts of magnetic energy to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. As with electrical deep brain stimulation, the results so far have been positive and side effects have been minimal. This treatment is also noninvasive, which in my opinion is a real plus.

But it seems to me that we are missing something. I believe that depression has meaning -- that is, it is saying something to the person experiencing the depression. It is an alarm going off saying, "There is something that you need to deal with. You need to make some changes."

If you get rid of the depression symptoms without addressing the issues that are causing the alarm to sound, you are hurting yourself. And the effectiveness will be short-term at best. It is somewhat like trying to deal with a house fire by taking the batteries out of the smoke alarm. That annoying sound stops but the house burns down.

In my opinion, that is why treatments that are passive on the part of the person being treated do not produce lasting results -- the treatments have to be repeated over and over.

To truly improve the depressed person must learn to understand the message in his or her depression symptoms. Furthermore, changes must be made that address the underlying issues that are producing the symptoms.