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.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy is indicated for use as an adjunctive long-term treatment of chronic or recurrent depression for patients over the age of 18 who are experiencing a major depressive episode and have not had an adequate response to four or more adequate antidepressant treatments.
Where other treatments have not worked or have stopped working, VNS Therapy has been shown to provide:
It is not related to electroconvulsive therapy or brain surgery
It is a ninety minute out-patient procedure
A prescription from your psychiatrist is required
Effectiveness that improves over time and lasts long term
Significant and lasting improvement in vitality, emotional well-being, daily function, and social interaction
Side effects that are mild to moderate and typically decrease over time
Vagus nerve stimulation(VNS) therapy is a safe procedure which has undergone extensive clinical research over the 17 years. VNS Therapy has been studied since 1988, with the first clinical studies for chronic and recurrent depression beginning in 1998
The vagus nerve is one of the primary communication pathways from the major organs of the body to the brain. VNS (vagus nerve stimulation) Therapy is delivered by a pulse generator (like a pacemaker) and thin, flexible wires that send mild pulses to the vagus nerve in the left side of the neck
The vagus nerve delivers these pulses to the areas of the brain involved in the regulation of mood
VNS Therapy targets specific areas of the brain that affect the production or activity of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine
I was implanted with the vagus nerve stimulator in 2001 in the pioneering investigation trial of vagus nerve stimulation as a treatment for chronic depression. It completely changed my life, when every other therapy had failed.
Charles Donovan was a presenter at the FDA Medical Devices Panel Meeting in Washington, D.C. He is the author of the book: Out of the Black Hole: The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression