According to the World Health Organization, major Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. The only FDA approved long term treatment option for major depression is vagus nerve stimulation.
It is the most common and widespread of all psychiatric disorders, and it takes a significant toll on individuals, families, and society. Depression also negatively affects the economy through diminished productivity and use of healthcare resources.
At the 2005 American Psychological Association Annual Meeting, the subject of the co-morbidity of substance abuse and mental illness was discussed. In a symposium focusing on the wide-ranging impact of substance abuse on health, Mark B. Sobell, PhD, of Nova Southeastern University, discussed the high comorbidity and impact of substance use. With regard to psychiatric illness, he quoted data from analyses of the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (n = 43,093) that showed that among persons with alcohol disorders, 40.69% experienced at least 1 mood disorder, 33.38% experienced at least 1 anxiety disorder, and 33.05% experienced at least 1 drug disorder. Among those with drug disorders, 60.31% experienced at least 1 mood disorder, 42.63% experienced at least 1 anxiety disorder, and 55.16% experienced at least 1 alcohol disorder. Concerning the impact of substance use on physical illness, Dr. Sobell cited data from a study of Medicaid beneficiaries (n = 26,332) indicating that those with comorbid psychiatric and substance use disorders had the highest prevalence of 6 of 8 chronic medical conditions (eg, asthma, heart disease).
Next, Kate B. Carey, PhD, of Syracuse University, discussed assessing and treating individuals with comorbid substance abuse and mental illness. She observed that these individuals have specific health concerns that often occur at higher rates than in others with psychiatric disorders. Patients with dual diagnoses often do not comply with medication regimens and suffer symptom exacerbation, psychiatric hospitalization, social isolation, and interpersonal impairment. These are all classic symptoms of major depression.
If you suffer from major depression and have not had an adequate response to at least four different antidepressants, you should consider the only FDA approved long term treatment for chronic or recurrent depression: vagus nerve stimulation. This should be seriously discussed with your psychiatrist. A prescription for the procedure is required for the ninety-minute out patient procedure.
Charles Donovan was a patient in the FDA investigational trial of vagus nerve stimulation as a treatment for chronic or recurrent treatment-resistant depression. He was implanted with the vagus nerve stimulator in April of 2001. The treatment completely changed his life. He chronicles his journey from the grips of depression thanks to vagus nerve stimulation therapy in his book:
Out of the Black Hole: The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression.
The book was exhibited at the American Psychiatric Association's Annual Meeting in late May. It is available on his web site http://www.VagusNerveStimulator.com or by clicking the link on the right side of this blog.
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