Disorders and Treatment
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Researchers in Brazil have compared and assessed the difference between electrical current therapy and treatment with sertraline hydrochloride (Zoloft and Lustral) for people suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD).
They found that electric stimulation is very effective in helping with the initial phase of treatment for MDD when combined with the antidepressants.
Depression influences mood and forces people into a feeling of severe sadness that can persist for long periods of time. Depression may interfere with the ability to function normally and to work effectively. It is treatable with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. Electrical stimulation, or tDCS, has not been a regular part of treatment therapies.
For this study, 120 patients with moderate to severe unipolar major depressive disorder joined the double-blind trial. One group used the drug and the other group used electrical current therapy. There were control groups for both.
After six weeks, daily electrical current therapy scored just as well as the sertraline group for overall change in depressive symptoms. When the therapies were combined, the scores were significantly greater, leading the researchers to believe that this combination, when used early in a depressive episode, could be quite effective in helping patients.
The authors of the study wrote that combination therapy could be a “cost effective alternative for regions with low resources where the prevalence of major depressive disorder is high, such as most developing nations. In MDD, the combination of tDCS and sertraline increases the efficacy of each treatment. The efficacy and safety of tDCS and sertraline did not differ.”
Electrical stimulation has been shown to help stimulate the spinal cord after significant injury, help with reflux when applied to the esophagus, assist with more effective swallowing in victims of strokes, improve math skills for people with some cognitive dysfunction, and relieve pain for a variety of ailments.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, JAMA
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