The Genesis Health Blog
Treatment Options for Depression That May Surprise You
The most highly recommended treatment options for depression are usually antidepressant medication (like SSRIs) and psychotherapy. Most people who first receive a depression diagnosis try this combination first to battle their symptoms.
However, sometimes these routine treatment options don’t work. Some people might find that it works in the beginning but starts to become less effective with time. Others can’t stomach the side effects that may come along with antidepressants and are looking for different options.
For others, medication and therapy simply don’t work at all. What options are available to those patients?
There is a lot of research that proves therapy and medication are effective. But if these treatments aren’t for you, you still have options. Here are some alternative treatment options for depression that you may not have even known about.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS therapy, is an FDA-approved treatment option that uses brain stimulation therapy to alleviate depression. Research shows that it’s safe, and for many people, it comes with fewer side effects than antidepressants.
TMS therapy uses electromagnetic technology (similar to the technology used in MRI scans) to stimulate certain regions of the brain that are affected by depression. And it’s been shown to work, even when other treatment options for depression haven’t. Many people with treatment-resistant depression find relief from their symptoms with TMS therapy.
TMS may be for you if you’ve tried medication and therapy and haven’t found them to be effective. Keep in mind that this treatment can only be administered in person, so check to see if there is a TMS clinic near you. If you live in or near San Antonio, Genesis Behavioral Health can help you; we are a leading TMS provider in the area.
We all know that physical exercise is an important part of living a healthy life. But beyond physical benefits 一 like a healthy heart, more energy, and a lower risk of obesity 一 exercise has been shown to have enormous mental health benefits as well.
Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you have depression. Although exercise isn’t a treatment method on its own, it’s been shown to be as effective as antidepressant medication for some people. However, if your depression symptoms are severe, exercise can help boost the benefit you are getting from medication, therapy, or other treatment.
Best of all, exercise is free. You don’t need to go through your insurance company to find a treatment provider. You simply need to get moving!
Known as a “cousin” of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, or EMDR, brainspotting is a new treatment option for depression that uses eye movements to uncover and process buried traumas. Brainspotting therapists work to find specific eye positions that help their clients to access traumatic memories. It’s still not clear how exactly this works; hypotheses are still being tested.
Brainspotting is intended to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), not depression. However, studies are currently being conducted to test whether or not brainspotting might be helpful for depression as well. On top of that, addressing underlying traumas often helps people to start healing holistically, including from their depression.
Keep in mind that although EMDR has been recognized as a safe and effective treatment for PTSD, brainspotting does not have the same widespread recognition. More research is needed to be able to say how effective brainspotting is for PTSD or depression.
Esketamine has been making headlines as a unique and innovative treatment for depression. It’s usually used for treatment-resistant depression 一 in other words, for people who’ve found traditional antidepressant medication and therapy to be ineffective. Esketamine has been approved by the FDA as an effective option for people with treatment-resistant depression.
Esketamine is a potent type of ketamine, an anesthetic that’s been used in depression treatment for years. It’s now available as a nasal spray, but it still needs to be administered in a clinic, under a doctor’s supervision.
Many people have found relief from their depression symptoms through esketamine treatment. It is a generally safe treatment, but it can cause some unpleasant side effects and may not be appropriate for everyone.
In recent years, mindfulness has entered into the mainstream mental health arena in a big way. Mindfulness is a concept that’s based on ancient spiritual practices from Asia, but it can be, and is, practiced in a secular way (unattached to any religion). In essence, practicing mindfulness simply means staying present in the here and now.
Although this sounds simple, it’s been shown to be very effective. Research shows that having a regular mindfulness meditation practice or learning mindfulness-based stress management techniques helps lower depression and anxiety.
The good thing about these mindfulness-based treatment options for depression is that you can start a home-based mindfulness practice on your own, or you can attend a more formalized mindfulness practice with other people (like a meditation group or a mindfulness-based stress reduction class).
Not all depression is unipolar depression; some people with depression have bipolar disorder. If your depression is part of bipolar disorder, then the treatments designed for unipolar depression (like major depressive disorder) won’t work. In fact, antidepressant medications can actually make you worse if you have bipolar disorder because they can increase your risk of having a manic episode.
If you have bipolar depression, then your doctor may recommend that you take mood stabilizer drugs. Lithium is a potent mood stabilizer that’s been used for decades to successfully treat bipolar disorder.
The drawbacks of lithium may be that it tends to come with side effects, including nausea and other digestive problems. You’ll also need to do frequent blood tests to make sure the level of lithium in your blood isn’t too high.
Get TMS Therapy in San Antonio, Texas
If you’re in the San Antonio area and are interested in receiving TMS therapy for your treatment-resistant depression, our team can help. Genesis Behavioral is the industry leader of TMS in San Antonio, and our specialists can get you connected with the services you need.
Most people have to try several treatment options for depression before they find the right treatment for them. Using our “whole person” approach, we can help you try treatment options safely and discover the one that works best for you.
Get in touch with us today to speak with an intake specialist and find out if you’re a good candidate to receive TMS therapy for depression.