Can Continued Magnetic Seizure Therapy Prevent Relapse of Depression?

Depression is a psychological disorder that makes you feel sad as overwhelming emotions engulf you all the time. Depression impairs your ability to think, concentrate and perform your daily activities.

Depression is treatable with a combination of antidepressant medication and certain type of therapies including psychotherapy. Although antidepressants seem to work well for many people, studies have shown that 10–15 percent of the patients do not respond well to them. Evidences reveal that 30-40 percent of the patients show up only partial improvement in their symptoms for depression after taking antidepressants.

The type of depression that does not respond well to antidepressants or therapies is called treatment-resistance depression (TRD) or treatment refractory depression. TRD is not rare as approximately three million people are battling with TRD in the United States.

A recent study, conducted by the Department of Psychiatry at the University Of San Diego School of Medicine, focused on investigating a new therapy called magnetic seizure therapy (MST). Published on October 19, 2021, in the online issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, this research looked at whether MST effectively prevents the relapse of TRD on continuous application.

MST is compared with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which is currently serving as a standard method of treatment, but it has shown mixed results and got entangled in controversies in past. ECT dates back to 1930s when anesthesia was not used and large dose of electricity was passed through the brain, which used to the leave the brain partially damaged. It resulted in memory loss and fractured bones. But, eventually, as time progressed, the procedure for ECT also improved.

Currently, ECT procedure includes giving general anesthesia to patients and then small electric currents are passed through the brain. It is believed to change the brain chemistry and create a detailed seizure in the brain.

ECT is known to reverse symptoms of depression or mania. It has shown positive results in reversing the symptoms for treatment-resistance depression but still, it faces stigma from the society because in some patients, memory loss and confusion have come up as side-effects after the treatment.

In contrast, MST came up in the early 1990s as a treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder, psychosis and depression. MST is electrical brain stimulation that uses high intensity magnetic field impulses to induce seizure in the brain.  The magnetic impulses are focused on a particular region of the brain and it minimizes any affect on the surrounding tissues. Unlike ECT, it has minimal side-effects. However, continuum MST has not shown any immediate affect on reversing symptoms for depression, psychosis or OCD in recent times. Therefore, very less is known about MST.

In the latest study, conducted by the University of San Diego School of Medicine, a maiden attempt was made to investigate if continued MST can prevent recurrence of bipolar depression, treatment-resistant  depressive disorder (Unipolar) including symptoms of mania.

The research included participants who have previously responded well to MST and their doses of magnetic stimulation was reduced over time. It included 30 participants who have shown improvement in their mental health condition by MST from February 2012 to June 2019.

The results revealed that 66 percent showed significant improvements in their depressive symptoms, while there cognitive function remained unaffected. However, 34 percent of the patients still experienced relapse of depression and were hospitalized. They showed no significant improvement for bipolar and unipolar depression.

The study noted that relapse rate for MST was significantly lower and it has shown to improve suicide ideation in patients with major depression. While neurocognitive test remained unchanged during the entire process, MST seamlessly improved verbal ability.

Although the study size was small, it indicated positive results over continuum use of MST reversing the symptoms of treatment resistance depression without any side-effects and it can definitely prove to be an alternative for ECT.

Seek help

Depression or for that matter any behavioral health condition, can be cured with timely intervention. The only condition is to seek treatment at the earliest. Early treatment not only ensures a long-term recovery but also makes the treatment process seamless.

So, is your emotional well-being troubling you or a loved one? If depression has taken over your happiness and has created a barrier in your relationships, we are here to help.

Medical Concierge provides a wide spectrum of well-tailored treatment programs to treat mental health condition and co-occurring disorders. We can help you access well-facilitated residential depression treatment centers in California that provide customized treatment programs looking at individual requirements. Our evidence-based therapies and outpatient treatment programs at depression treatment centers in California help individual to recover from their mental health condition and live a happy and healthy life. To know more call us now at our 2/7 toll free number 877-636-0042 and get immediate assistance.

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