Many alternative treatments for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) have emerged in recent years. Brain stimulation therapies are one such alternative strategies, on the basis of emerging knowledge about specific brain areas involved in psychiatric diseases. Some of these brain stimulation therapies can be carried out at home, without visiting the clinics.
Lets look at some home treatment devices for depression.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
rTMS, a promising neuromodulatory technique, has been demonstrated to be safe and effective for the treatment for Major Depressive Disorder(MDD).
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is considered with persistent depression doesn’t improve with medication and psychotherapy.
Previous studies have demonstrated the antidepressant efficacy of high-frequency rTMS when applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), specifically. Many outpatients being treated for depression fail to complete their recommended course of treatment. Drop-out rates with conventional high frequency rTMS and sham rTMS are comparable, as daily clinic visits are required for both and may be an obstacle to adequate treatment continuity.
The use of miniaturized devices, which are smaller and lighter than standard ones, may thus serve as a good solution for outpatient treatment. Patients with MDD could potentially use these devices at home without regular visits to clinic, lowering rates of disuse and thus improving treatment adherence.
The Efficacy of Miniaturized Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Patients with Depression – findings presented in the study suggest that miniaturized rTMS, utilizing subthreshold stimulation, has significant antidepressant effects in patient with depression which are comparable to standard rTMS treatment.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
tDCS opens new perspectives in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), because of its ability to modulate cortical excitability and induce long-lasting effects.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) appears to hold particular promise because of its cost, ease of use, and favorable tolerability profile.
tDCS relies on the application of a weak direct current of 1–2 mA directly to the scalp through electrodes to induce regional changes in cortical excitability that can last up to a few hours after stimulation.
tDCS is a promising therapeutic strategy that offers the opportunity for non-invasive modulation of cortical excitability and plasticity in psychiatric disorders. With regard to MDD, the majority of meta-analyses have found that tDCS is superior to sham stimulation with an effect size (B coefficient = 0.35) comparable to that of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and antidepressant medication in primary care . This technique appears to be particularly indicated for patients with a mild-to-severe form of MDD who do not meet the criteria for resistant depression.
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): A Promising Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder? – tDCS constitutes a promising therapeutic alternative for patients with MDD, but its place in the therapeutic armamentarium remains to be determined.
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Psychiatry: What Psychiatrists Need to Know – tDCS may have the potential to improve symptoms of depression, although clinical trial outcomes are mixed.