Oi. So sorry for the delay of today’s post – I’ve got a hectic schedule and I’m trying to find time for everything (THIS IS SO DIFFICULT, EH?) In yesterday’s post, I talked about the most common therapies used in the treatment of mental health – you can read that here. In today’s post, I’ll be discussing the different types of biological therapies used in the treatment of mental health.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a procedure that involves the use of small currents to the brain, intitating a small seziure – this is done under general anaesthesia. It is thought that this helps with the chemical balances within the brain. ECT is used to help with symptoms of: severe depression, treatment-resistant depression, severe mania, catatonia, and/or agitation and aggression expressed in those with dementia.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Similar to ECT, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses magnetic field to stimulate the nerve cells in the brain. Like ECT, this is thought to help with symptoms of depression. Although the mechanism of how it works isn’t fully understood or known, it is thought that the stimulation of the nerve cells helps with mood control – affecting how the part of the brain is working.
Light therapy is used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) through the exposure of artifical light. This type of therpay works by having the person sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. This box gives off a light similar to that of the outdoors. It is thought that this affects the chemicals in the brain linked to our mood.
As the name suggests, getting less sleep than wanted, it may in fact improve one’s mood the following day. This was found back in the 70’s, and once anti-depressants became one of the main courses of treatment for depression (due to their high effectiveness), this type of therapy wasn’t used as often. So why exactly are doctors now considering sleep deprivation as a treatment option for depression? Well, the “use of newer antidepressant drugs together with sleep deprivation treatment is proving effective for helping to prevent return of depressive symptoms after sleep deprivation and for improving depressed patients’ response to their medication.”
Alex Newton is a nursing student and mental health advocate. She grew up in a small town and plans on moving to London, England one day and open up her own health practice. She has a cat named Maya who she adopted whilst going through some difficulties. She’s a daughter, sister, and warrior who enjoys a nice cuppa tea.