What is Depression
What is Depression?
Depression is a serious medical illness affecting more than 14 million American adults every year (1). Often a debilitating disorder, depression results in a persistent state of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure which interferes with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, and physical health.
The Impact of Depression
Depression can be a lethal disease. Each year in the US, over 30,000 people die by suicide, 60% of whom suffer from depression (2). Overall, women are almost twice as likely as men to suffer from depression; however, some experts feel that depression in men is under-reported (3).
Depression has no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. About two-thirds of those who experience an episode of depression will have at least one other episode in their lives.
In 2000, the economic burden of depression was estimated at $83.1 billion in the US (4) and researchers estimate that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide (5).
The Cause of Depression
While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that depression is caused by decreased activity in the neural networks of the brain that regulate emotion and motivation. Increasing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain has been found to reactivate these neural networks, or create new networks. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells.
Treatments for Depression
Depression is most often treated with antidepressant medications. It is believed that antidepressant medications work by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters.
TMS offers additional treatment options for people struggling with depression despite traditional medication therapy. More than 4 million patients do not receive adequate benefit from antidepressants and/or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them. For these patients, they need a new way back.
- Kessler, RC, et al. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun: 62 (6):617-27.
- Heron, Melonie, et al. Deaths: Final Data for 2006. National Vital Statistics Reports, 57 (14). April 17, 2009.
- Kessler, RC, et al. The epidemiology of major depressive disorder; results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). JAMA. 2003; 289(23): 3095-3105.
- Greenberg, PE, et al. The economic burden of depressive disorders in the United States: How did it change between 1990 and 2000? Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2003; 64 (12): 1465-1475.
- Murray CJ, Lopez AD. Evidence-based health policy – lessons from the Global Burden of Disease Study. Science. 1996; 274 (5288): 740-743.