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How to treat depression without medication: Alternative to antidepressants

7th January 2019

Man sat in chair holding head

Are you living with depression? Have you tried antidepressants and talking therapies but haven’t seen an improvement in your symptoms? Below, we explain how to treat depression without medication.

We’ve teamed up with The London Psychiatry Centre to offer an alternative to antidepressants. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a very effective non-invasive depression treatment which is now available in the heart of The City at LycaHealth in Canary Wharf. Our clinic is just a short walk from Westferry Circus and Canary Wharf stations on the DLR.

It is estimated that depression affects around one in five people in their lifetime, impacting all areas of life, particularly relationships, occupational performance, and domestic life. Common signs of depression include:

  • Feeling low, irritable or moody
  • Having low energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Feeling withdrawn and worthless
  • Being unable to enjoy pleasant activities
  • Lacking concentration
  • Experiencing weight fluctuations

There is no simple answer to the question: What causes depression? A wide variety of factors can contribute but it is commonly seen in those who have undergone long term stress triggered by an event (or series of events) such as difficulty finding a job, loneliness, loss of a meaningful relationship, emotional or physical abuse. Chemicals in the brain can be imbalanced and can be a factor in depression. Also, some people are predisposed to depression if it runs in their family. Additionally, chronic illness and substance abuse have been shown to have an impact on mental health.

rTMS: An alternative to antidepressants
Antidepressants, one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for depression, work by regulating the ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain and are frequently combined with talking therapy such as psychotherapy. However, there are a high percentage of patients who do not respond to antidepressants. In fact, the chances of full recovery with multiple drug changes and cognitive behaviour therapy are around a third, compared with two thirds with rTMS at The London Psychiatry Centre.

A safe and effective treatment for depression, rTMS works by sending magnetic pulses to the area of the brain that regulates mood, improving brain chemistry and providing long-lasting relief from depression. Approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), rTMS has helped many patients who’ve found previous interventions unsuccessful. Another benefit is that it comes without many of the side effects typically associated with antidepressants such as disturbed sleep, weight gain and sexual dysfunction.

rTMS involves between 20 and 30 sessions of treatment which last approximately 35 minutes each. During each session a magnetic coil is placed against the scalp whilst the patient relaxes in a comfortable reclining chair. A gentle tingling sensation or slight discomfort may be felt at the treatment site. Unlike antidepressants, these side effects are short lived and there is no risk of chemical dependency.

rTMS success rates
rTMS at LycaHealth Canary Wharf is provided by experienced Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Irina Panihhidina from The London Psychiatry Centre, the UK’s most experienced clinic in rTMS treatment. Their rTMS success rates are some of the very best in the country.

The chances of full recovery from depression with multiple drug changes and cognitive behavioural therapy are around one third compared to two thirds when treated with rTMS at The London Psychiatry Centre in just four weeks (69% of men and 60% of women).

If you have tried antidepressants and psychotherapy but have found they have not helped, or if you cannot take antidepressants because of the side effects, rTMS could be for you.

Call our admin team on 0207 132 1440 if you’ve got any questions or would like to book an initial consultation at LycaHealth Canary Wharf.

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