Read article on Yahoo! today about a new form of treatment in the battle against depression. http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/electroshock-therapy-latest-treatment-depression. It is called transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS. This article describes it as similar, yet different, when compared to Electro Shock Treatment (ECT) for the treatment of depression. I still need to research tDCS more to endorse it and review the original literature to understand it more but my initial reaction is one of hope and concern with it for the treatment of depression.

  • What does seem to be positive is that we as a mental health community are considering alternate forms of treatment for depression. There are several populations that cannot receive medication management treatment but are in the need of relief of their symptoms of depression in a more timely fashion than often experienced with psychotherapy alone. This form of treatment may be an option for these populations.
  • ECT has traditionally been a form of non-medicated treatment of depression and medication resistant depression but the side effects are intolerable for many. Again tDCS may therefore be able to be an alternate type of treatment against chronic depression.
  • Since it does not use anesthesia, maybe there is a possibility psychologists can be trained to administer it during routine office visits making it more readily available to various populations.
    Lastly in the day and age of managed health care, if this treatment is as effective as preliminary studies are showing, insurance companies may be willing to pay for its use, thereby making it available to the vast majority of our population
  • Again I’m not endorsing tDCS, but rather welcoming the research and outcome studies that consider various types of treatment for depression. Please read this article and do your own research and find the answers to these questions and more before embarking on any type of treatment, tDCS included.