For most people, severe depression is the feeling of living in a black hole and constantly waiting for doom to come. Depression is commonly mistaken for sadness, but it is more than just feeling down due to disappointments and minor setbacks in life. In fact, most people who go through periods of depression may not feel sad at all. They may feel empty, lifeless, and indifferent to most of the things that happen around them.
What are its symptoms?
Depression is usually diagnosed by checking for several signs and symptoms that linger for a long period of time. These symptoms include deviations from normal sleeping habits, inability to concentrate and to accomplish relatively easy tasks, as well as feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Loss of appetite and thoughts of attempting suicide are also common symptoms of severe depression.
How is it treated?
Results from treatments used for clinical depression vary from one person to another. In order to cure this psychological condition, patients are advised to find the perfect treatment that can solve the root causes of their psychological problem.
Two of the most popular ways to treat depression is to seek help from professional therapists and to take antidepressants.
A professional therapist can serve as a depressed patient's best friend, with whom he can share all his negative thoughts and worries in life. Meanwhile, antidepressants can ease the symptoms of clinical depression and increase the levels of serotonin or happy hormones in the brain. However, most people who undergo therapies and take antidepressants feel worse about their condition and experience unpleasant side effects.
On a lighter note, non-pharmaceutical treatments for severe depression are already available. These effective treatments include transcranial magnetic stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy, and vagus nerve stimulation.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is performed by placing a large metal coil near the patient's forehead. This coil passes gentle and painless electric currents through the brain in order to stimulate its portions that control a patient's mood. Most people regard TMS as the only least invasive treatment for clinical depression that can produce positive and long-lasting effects.
Meanwhile, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is conducted by sending electrical currents to the brain to trigger seizures. These seizures were found to regulate people's moods and to provide effective cure for severe depression.
Lastly, the vagus nerve stimulation requires a surgery wherein pulse generators are implanted to the chests of patients. These generators are attached to wires that lead to the vagus nerve. When this nerve is stimulated, a long-lasting cure for chronic depression is experienced.
As previously mentioned, the results from all these treatments vary from one person to another. Hence, it is important to consult a medical professional first before trying any treatment for chronic and severe depression.