Other Options When Traditional Therapies Fail

For a small number of individuals with significant depression who do not respond to the more traditional forms of therapy and medication, various procedures are sometimes performed. Examples include: transcranial magnetic stimulation (presently being studied); vagus nerve stimulation (used since the late 1990s for epileptic patients and has since been approved for treatment-resistant depression); and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also known as electroshock treatment.

While this latter procedure (ECT) may sound extreme, patients may be reassured by the fact that this treatment method has been improved over the years. It is now considered to be safe and effective for many individuals. Patients receive anesthesia prior to treatment and each session lasts about 10 minutes. Individuals with MS must be cautious about this treatment course because ECT may have negative effects on the blood-brain barrier. MS patients must carefully weigh the risks and benefits of this treatment technique with their physician.

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