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Mental health treatment is an active area of research and discovery. Every year, hundreds of new studies are published on depression treatment and mental health. Researchers continue to search for the best treatment – or combination of treatments – for depression and anxiety.

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Our direct experience treating patients at our clinic also gives us relevant insights into depression treatment. We treat hundreds of patients with depression and anxiety and are able to observe which depression treatment methods tend to produce the best patient outcomes.

So let’s take a look at new, exciting options in depression treatment in 2024.

Trend #1: Patients Moving Away From Antidepressants to Treat Depression

Antidepressant medication has been the go-to solution for depression (and anxiety) for many years. And within the antidepressant category, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) remain the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. These include drugs like Prozac and Paxil.

Currently, about one in eight U.S. adults take antidepressants, although for women that number is even higher, at one in five. (Source)Person enjoying the outside after treating their depression

While antidepressants work well for many people, they don’t work well enough – or at all – for about half of patients who try them. For this group of patients, antidepressants can be a frustrating series of failures. This group, in particular, is quick to look for alternative solutions to treating depression. (Source)

Antidepressants also deliver some serious side effects, including weight gain, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction, and sleep issues. Because of these concerns, even patients who are able to manage their depression using antidepressants often look for alternatives. Both patients and clinicians are reevaluating the risk/reward profile for antidepressant use. Read one patient’s experience with, and reevaluation of, antidepressant use. (Source)

With many patients discontinuing antidepressant use due to onerous side effects, it’s not surprising that pharmaceutical companies are working on developing antidepressants with fewer side effects. (Source) These newer antidepressants are expected to come to market in 2024, so it remains to be seen whether they replace the older, well-established drugs.

Trend #2: Increasing Popularity of TMS for Depression Treatment

As patients look for alternatives to antidepressants for depression treatment, TMS is increasingly at the top of the list of other options. Unlike antidepressants which are taken internally, TMS targets the brain through external stimulation. TMS uses electromagnetic impulses generated from a TMS machine and targets these magnetic impulses at areas of the brain that control mood, emotion, and the brain’s reward system.

These impulses induce a response mechanism in the brain, causing it to create healthy, new pathways and restore healthy brain function. Over time, as these neural pathways become stronger and more developed, depression dissipates and the brain experiences normal, healthy function again.

TMS is a completely medication-free depression treatment that combines modern technology with the body’s own power to heal and regenerate. TMS has been FDA-approved in the U.S. for depression treatment since 2008 and is approved to treat depression, major depressive disorder, anxious depression, and OCD.

While many factors are driving the trend toward TMS, here are some main reasons patients are increasingly asking for TMS treatment:

TMS is Covered by Insurance

TMS is clinically proven to reduce depression, with most patients experiencing at least a 50 percent drop in depressive symptoms. Because it is a proven depression treatment, TMS is covered by most major insurance companies. Having a major portion of the cost covered by insurance makes TMS an attractive depression treatment option. See the list of insurance accepted at Ampelis Health on our homepage.

TMS is Long-Lasting

One of the main reasons patients stop taking antidepressants is simply due to burnout. Pill fatigue is real, and patients often tire of the routine and skip taking their prescribed medication. TMS is a great alternative for patients experiencing pill fatigue.

Once TMS treatment is completed, there is no ongoing required maintenance routine. Although we strongly encourage our patients to develop and practice good habits long after TMS treatment is finished!

TMS Has No Systemic Side Effects

TMS has been studied for decades, with multiple new studies published every year. Patient side effects are always considered as part of each study, and study after study demonstrates the same findings: Unlike antidepressants, TMS has no systemic side effects. Patients can experience mild side effects during or shortly after treatment, with the most common side effect being a mild headache. As the patient becomes accustomed to treatment, this side effect lessens.

Patients who stop taking antidepressants due to onerous side effects are often ecstatic to discover that TMS is free of side effects, making it an attractive option for depression treatment. We see this trend continuing as more and more patients become aware of TMS.

TMS Has High Response and Remission Rates

Every body is different and every brain is different. No two people respond exactly the same to the same treatment. For every mental health treatment, there is a variation in response. It’s a matter of finding the right treatment that works best for you.

TMS has a high success rate at helping patients achieve a response (at least a 50 percent drop in depression symptoms) and remission (no longer clinically classified as having depression). You can read more about the success rate of TMS vs. antidepressants in our post comparing the two treatment methods.

Because of the many benefits of TMS, we see more and more patients choosing TMS for depression treatment in the coming year.

Trend #3: Choosing an Integrative Medicine Approach to Treat Depression

There is an increasing awareness that attempting to treat depression or anxiety in isolation is a fool’s errand. Doctors and patients alike have realized that a whole-body treatment program yields the best results. While direct treatments like therapy, antidepressants, or TMS are important, they are not a complete care plan.

A trend that will continue in 2024 is that patients and doctors will address multiple facets of a patient’s health profile – such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, and other key activities – as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. A whole-body care approach to depression and anxiety will continue its rise in popularity because of the excellent track record of success at alleviating depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health disorders.

When it comes to treating depression and anxiety, a complete care approach is often the best approach.

Best Depression Treatment in 2024

Patients have many options when it comes to depression treatment. While antidepressants continue to remain popular, patients are increasingly choosing to opt out of long-term antidepressant use.

Trends that we see continuing to grow in 2024 are patients choosing alternative depression treatments, like TMS, that have fewer side effects and that don’t require long-term use of pharmaceuticals. We also see patients adopting an integrative approach to treatment that incorporates a holistic wellness approach and includes diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and other core areas of health as an important component of depression treatment.

Best Depression Doctors in Utah

Ampelis Health was founded on the vision of helping patients overcome depression and other mental health issues in order to live a happier, more fulfilling life. If you are in Utah and are struggling with depression, anxiety, OCD, excessive worry, or mood disorders, come see your local depression experts at Ampelis Health. We are a local, Utah-based mental health clinic working to help people live fuller, more meaningful lives.

Call Ampelis Health today at 435-776-5909 to schedule a new patient appointment. At your appointment, you will receive a full evaluation and diagnosis, which will determine whether TMS is an appropriate treatment for you.

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