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Depression (cont.)

Other Treatment

Other treatments for depression include brain stimulation and treatment with herbs or dietary supplements.

Brain stimulation

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be used to treat severe depression or depression that does not get better with medicine and counseling or therapy. In ECT, electricity is briefly sent to the brain through electrodes placed on your head. Studies have shown that ECT is an effective short-term treatment for depression.3, 7

Other types of brain stimulation have not been well studied and may be expensive. They usually are considered only if other treatment does not work. They include:

  • Deep brain stimulation. A device that uses electricity to stimulate the brain is put in your head. It is used for Parkinson's disease but has not been well studied for depression.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation. A generator the size of a pocket watch is placed in your chest. Wires go up from the generator to the vagus nerve in your neck. The generator sends tiny electric shocks through the vagus nerve to the brain.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation. An electromagnet is placed on your head and sends magnetic pulses that stimulate your brain.

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies are sometimes used for depression. Always tell your doctor if you are using any of them.

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