Brain Stimulation

Mental disorders can be reasonably common. Often hidden in plain sight, you might not even realize that your friend, family member or associate is suffering. The magnitude may vary from minor anxiety to acute depression. Over 350 million people worldwide are believed to be suffering according to the World Health Organization. Those who do are confronted with severe limitations to their ability to live a wholesome life.

The solutions range from therapy to medication. One exciting answer is brain stimulation, which involves activating or inhibiting the brain directly with electricity. The electric current can be induced either directly into the brain which requires surgery. Less invasive procedures such as Electroconvulsive Therapy which require electrodes to be connected to your scalp or Vagus Nerve Stimulation which sends an electrical pulse through your vagus nerve are also used. The vagus nerve carries signals from your brain to your major organs including your heart, lungs, and intestines. More recently, a new procedure called the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation was introduced. Unlike the other options, this was capable of targeting specific areas of your brain which reduced the possible side effects.

None of these options are suggested as the first line of defense for a person suffering. While depression can be severely limiting none of these solutions come without side effects which can include headaches, movement disorders, trouble sleeping or difficulty in swallowing. However, the side effects may be minor irritants for whose grappling with a far more significant problem.

Loved ones often do not know how to deal with someone suffering from depression. The inability of family or friends to cope in itself is often the cause of aggravation as usually the symptoms are either misunderstood or left undiagnosed and therefore untreated. With almost five percent of the population suffering from this dreadful disease, surely you know someone who is. If you do, do help them to try and heal. Remember, food, exercise and meditation all help as well.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.