Depression is often classified as a mood disorder, but it can also be viewed as a brain disorder. Regardless of how depression is categorized, it can affect a person’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. If a person understands how depression affects the brain and body, this individual can identify depression symptoms and seek out the best ways to manage them.
How Does Depression Affect the Brain?
Research indicates that neurotransmitters, which are our naturally occurring brain chemicals, may impact a person’s depression symptoms. Changes in the function and effect of neurotransmitters may impact mood stability, and in doing so, lead to depression.
Depression symptoms may be linked to different parts of the brain, including the frontal lobe, amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, temporal lobe, cerebellum, and prefrontal cortex. It may cause decreased brain activity, along with associated symptoms, including difficulty thinking, concentrating, and/or making decisions.
People coping with depression may experience a loss of interest in activities that they previously enjoyed, as well as anxiety, agitation, restlessness, irritability, and related symptoms. Depression may also cause a person to experience frequent or recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
As depression affects the brain, it may lead to a variety of physical symptoms. Common physical symptoms of depression include fatigue, back pain, headaches, and reduced appetite. The physical symptoms of depression can sometimes prevent a person from enjoying social activities or relationships with others.
In addition to causing various physical symptoms, depression can increase a person’s risk of experiencing certain illnesses, such as heart disease, according to WebMD. For people coping with depression, being able to identify its physical symptoms is key to finding ways to manage them.
How Does Depression Treatment Affect the Brain and Body?
Two of the most common treatments for depression are medications and psychotherapy. Both treatments can affect the brain and body.
Medications used to treat depression include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants. The effectiveness of these medications varies based on the patient and the severity of his or her depression symptoms. Depression medications can sometimes cause a person’s depression symptoms to worsen, and cause an increase in suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
The physical side effects of depression medications may be problematic too. In some instances, people experience nausea, insomnia, blurred vision, constipation, and other physical problems after they use depression medications.
With cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and other forms of psychotherapy, an individual tries to identify negative patterns and beliefs, and then replaces them with positive alternatives. Over time, psychotherapy helps a person find ways to cope with his or her depression symptoms.
How Can TMS Therapy Be Used to Treat Depression?
Medications and psychotherapy sometimes help people manage depression symptoms, but neither treatment offers any guarantees. In certain instances, depression patients require alternative therapies to cope with their symptoms.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is one such option, and it involves the use of magnetic pulses that stimulate regions of the brain responsible for mood to help reduce depression symptoms. Each TMS therapy program is tailored to a patient. Before TMS therapy is performed, cortical mapping is used to determine the precise location for the treatment to target. A patient may receive several rounds of mapping during a TMS treatment program, as this helps ensure that he or she can maximize the effectiveness of TMS therapy.
A TMS treatment session is performed in a doctor’s office, and it typically takes 20 minutes to complete. During the session, a patient sits in a seat, and a TMS device is placed on his or her head. Next, magnetic pulses are delivered to the brain while the patient reads or watches television. TMS is noninvasive, and patients can resume their normal activities immediately after treatment.
TMS therapy may be used in combination with medication or psychotherapy to help a person cope with depression symptoms, or it can be performed if medication or psychotherapy fail to deliver the desired results. TMS therapy does not require anesthesia, electrical shocks, or medication of any kind.
A TMS therapy program usually involves six weeks of treatment, with five 20-minute therapy sessions per week. Studies show most patients who undergo TMS therapy experience a significant reduction in their depression symptoms, and some patients experience no depression symptoms at all after TMS therapy.
Depression impacts both the brain and body, and finding the best way to cope with depression symptoms sometimes requires individuals to look beyond traditional treatment options like medication and psychotherapy. Now, TMS therapy provides an alternative depression treatment option to help people manage a wide range of depression symptoms.
At Achieve TMS, we are happy to teach people about TMS therapy, as well as help them determine if they qualify for this depression treatment. To schedule a free TMS consultation with Achieve TMS, please contact us online, or call or text us at 877-871-6379.