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Beyond the Surface: Exploring the Neurochemical Roots of Depression

“You don’t know why you’re exhausted? You’re fighting a war inside your head every single day. If that’s not exhausting, I don’t what is.” -Unknown


Neurochemical Roots of Depression: 
monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) effecting important neurotransmitters

Let’s get to it! You know, not everyone dealing with depression is going through it because of external stuff. Some folks have  clinical depression, where it’s more about a chemical imbalance than outside forces messing things up. So, all the non-medical methods might not cut it for them, you know? It’s like a different ball game.

The people dealing with clinical depression often have this enzyme called monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) that breaks down important neurotransmitters? Well, it messes with their serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels, making them super low. There was this study in 2013 at Stanford where they used optogenetic mouse models (yeah, those exist) to show that when they altered the  dopamine-releasing neurons in the midbrain, it caused depression-like behaviors due to chronic stress. Basically, it’s adding more evidence to the connection between low dopamine and depression in people. Crazy, right?

Fighting the Imbalance:
Bottle of Ketamine

Well, the new buzz it turns out, ketamine, the FDA-approved anesthetic that messes with the glutamate NMDA receptor, can actually combat depression within hours. Crazy, right? It’s like a rapid response compared to the usual antidepressants. While it seems like a game-changer, but the catch is that it there’s still studies running to figure out if this treatment has long-term effectiveness. So, for now, it’s kind of seen as a quick fix rather than a long-term solution for folks with major depressive disorder who aren’t getting results from the usual antidepressants. 

Brain images showing brain activity before and after TMS Therapy

Now, for those who’ve tried everything under the sun and still aren’t catching a break with traditional or newer methods, there’s this game-changer called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy. It’s like the superhero of treatments, especially for those who’ve become resistant to other methods or are just looking for a solid, long-term solution.

And get this, there’s actual evidence! TMS therapy has been shown to help a percentage of patients hit full remission from depression. It’s not just me saying this – studies back it up. So, while ketamine might be the quick fix, TMS is like the marathon runner, providing a real shot at a long-lasting solution for those who’ve been through the ringer with depression treatments.

Let’s Wrap this up!

So, in the grand puzzle of depression, it’s clear that not everyone battling this mental health challenge is on the same playing field. Clinical depression, with its roots in a chemical imbalance rather than external factors, demands a different approach. But as we navigate this maze of mental health, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the quick fixes might not be the answer for everyone like it is for some. Ketamine’s rapid response is intriguing, but ongoing studies will unveil its long-term effectiveness. TMS Therapy, the superhero in this narrative, offering a beacon of hope for those resilient souls, presents a marathon solution for those in pursuit of lasting relief. But the journey is ongoing and every breakthrough, from neurotransmitters to innovative therapies, brings us closer to a comprehensive understanding and effective treatment for this complex adversary.

Our clinic offers TMS Therapy if your short term fixes aren’t cutting it for you, along with many other treatment options for other conditions. With our caring and knowledgeable staff, we can get you where you need to be mentally! Let’s start tackling this puzzle together, call or text us today. We are here for YOU!