According to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the year 2020, depression will be the number two cause of "lost years of healthy life" worldwide. However, the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated.
The manufacturer of the vagus nerve stimulator has begun face-to face meetings with psychiatrists nationwide to educate them about vagus nerve stimulation therapy, how it works and for whom this treatment is indicated. It is very important that both you and your psychiatrist fully understand vagus nerve stimulation therapy so that you can make an informed decision together about this ninety-minute out-patient implant procedure.
Three-hundred thirty representatives and case managers are participating in this nationwide education process. In addition to the face-to-face meetings with psychiatrists, the awareness and education process will include:
Satellite Broadcast Event in 50 cities for 1,750 psychiatrists
Fifty nationwide symposiums for 3,200 psychiatrists
One-hundred Regional Symposiums for 2,000 psychiatrists
Continuing Medical Education Monograph (CME Credit)-7,000 psychiatrists
Psychiatric Society Meetings
Don't get frustrated if your psychiatrist has not yet been informed or trained about vagus nerve stimulation. The results of the studies have been accepted for publication in prestigious peer reviewed journals such as Biological Psychiatry and Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. I know it has been a long, agonizing waiting game for you and your families. The most critical item has been completed; FDA approval of vagus nerve stimulation therapy as an adjunctive treatment for chronic depression.
I attended a Conference about VNS Therapy last week. The speakers included the nation's leading psychiatrists in treating the most severe depression. I will report on their very positive findings in my next article.
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. 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 is availalable on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, 1-888-VAGUS-88 and on his web site.