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New depression treatment may help the untreatable

Anyone in Queens that is living with depression knows how difficult it can be to function, but for some people, their depression is so severe that they are unable to do anything, much less work. The overwhelming effects of the mental health condition may make it impossible to hold down a job and provide for themselves, making it all the more important to apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits.

Many of those people who have found themselves unable to work because of severe depression fall into the approximately 30 percent of people for whom standard depression treatments don't work. Either they have seen no improvement or the side effects of medication are worse than the depression itself. For these people, there is a new treatment that could help -- transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The procedure uses magnetic pulses that are weaker than the average MRI to encourage nerve activity on the side of the brain that affects mood. Unlike traditional methods of depression treatment, there are no drugs involved, it is a noninvasive procedure and the side effects are relatively minimal. What is even easier is that the procedure can be done in a doctor's office and takes less than one hour.

Currently, many public and private insurers do not cover transcranial magnetic stimulation, but that may be changing. There are an increasing number of states in which Medicare will cover the treatment and some private insurers have also said they will start to pay for the treatment.

For those New Yorkers for whom this treatment is out of reach and are unable to work for depression, however, it is important to get help in applying for disability benefits.

Source: Courier-Post , "Treatment may help some with depression," Christina Mitchell, Aug. 18, 2012

For more information on mental health and qualifying medical conditions, please visit our website.

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