Not an Ordinary Depression Treatment

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There are some really exotic and unusual depression treatments which one can find if one shops around. I'm really curious what is your opinion about these two?

First one is ECT (electro-convulsive therapy) which sounds like something from a horror movie but actually is a very modern depression therapy, highly successful and not scary at all.

In fact its success rate is 75 to 80% while antidepressant medications score only 50 to 60%! As the electro-convulsive therapy lasts about two weeks, its effects can be felt faster as well, within three weeks opposing to standard six to eight weeks for antidepressant drugs to start working.

ECT is used when a patient sufferers from a severe depression, is almost suicidal and does not respond to antidepressant medications or can not tolerate their side-effects.

The patients go under general anesthesia and are given muscle relaxants to avoid an injury when electric shocks cause short seizures to their brain. The session lasts no more than 10 minutes, and it takes about 30 minutes to feel normal again as you wake up after the therapy session with no memory of what happened, headache and confusion. In fact, short transient memory loss is very common in ECT.

What I find very interesting is that scientists do not quite know why ECT works, and there are only theories speculating that electric shock helps to release brain chemicals which typically stabilize your mood and do not work properly when you are depressed.

If you think this was weird, how about psychedelic approach?

Swiss researchers think that LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), ketamine and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) can create a new way of destroying depression.

What they say is that these drugs can give a new perspective into a patient's mind, release suppressed memories which may have caused their depression. When this happens the patient can start working with CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) on their issues.

Of course the doses for such therapy should be limited and closely monitored. But there is some information on ketamine already which shows that taking it is lifting mood in people suffering from bipolar disorder.

However, I strongly recommend you not to try to self-medicate! These drugs are well-known for their unpredictable effects — they can induce paranoia, strong anxiety and depression itself, not to mention that they are addictive.

Another interesting tidbit is that over the years both psychedelic drugs and electroshock therapy are associated with very bad reputation and because of that they are not well researched and their effects and mechanisms are not properly studied. I hope this will change as we need any advantage we can get in our fight with depression.

As usual, please share your thoughts and any unusual depression treatment you heard about. Take care!



Karina Knight

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