What is Depression?
Depression sometimes called major depressive disorder or clinical depression is a mood disorder marked by persistent negative thoughts, lack of energy, and loss of interest in socialization or favorite activities. Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, affecting about 17.3 million adults in the United States, or about 7.1% of the population.
How is Depression Treated?
The standard protocol after initial diagnosis with major depressive disorder is a trial of antidepressants coupled with psychotherapy (traditional talk therapy). Patients may also be advised to make positive lifestyle changes to further support their recovery. keeping a healthy diet, regular exercise, discontinuing drugs and alcohol.
For patients who do not experience enough or any improvement or find the side effects intolerable following antidepressants and lifestyle changes, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, or TMS therapy, is an alternative course of treatment. In this therapy, the mood-controlling regions of the brain are stimulated by targeted, repetitive bursts of electricity to stimulate neurons and promote better mood and wellbeing. There are two kinds of TMS. Repetitive TMS, which is the traditional longer course of treatment. And theta-burst therapy, which consists of shorter, less expensive sessions that are ideal for maintenance therapy.
What is Maintenance Therapy?
Maintenance therapy refers to the need for patients to continue their treatments after their symptoms have improved. Consider a person with hypertension taking blood pressure medication. The medication works and the person’s blood pressure lowers, but if they stop taking the medication, the pressure will go back up.
Why is Maintenance Therapy Important?
Clearly, not all conditions require maintenance therapy. A person who gets strep throat can take a course of antibiotics and will usually recover without the need to stay on antibiotics long term. Whether or not maintenance therapy is important depends on the type of condition.
Maintenance therapy is extremely important for mental illnesses like depression because these illnesses are very subject to relapse. While some patients do only need to seek treatment once, most people’s mental health ebbs and flows throughout their life. So it is critically important to maintain some level of mental healthcare, as well as healthy lifestyle choices, if you suffer from one or more of these illnesses.
Theta Burst Maintenance Therapy for Depression
TMS is a prime example of maintenance therapy in action. The initial TMS treatment process takes from 6 to 8 weeks, with 30-minute sessions five days per week. However, there are much less time-consuming TMS options for maintenance therapy.
Theta burst therapy, a newer form of TMS that involves much shorter sessions, is an ideal option for maintenance therapy because it can be completed in short sessions rather than over long periods of time. This makes it an efficient and affordable option for keeping depression symptoms from returning after an initial course of regular TMS.
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