What is Vagus Nerve Stimulation?
Learn about Vagus Nerve Stimulation, a medical treatment for severe and treatment-resistant depression.
Gold Standard for Treating Depression ( part 27)
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) was originally used for hard to treat epilepsy. In 2005, the FDA approved a VNS device to treat adult patients with long-term or recurrent major depression that has not had an adequate response to four or more adequate antidepressant treatments.
How is it Performed?
A pacemaker like device is planted under the collar bone that periodically releases a charge of electricity through a wire that goes into the neck to wrap around the vagus verve. It periodically stimulates the brain and affects the hypothalamus. It's important to remember that this technique is used in extremely severe treatment resistant depression.
About 50% of people notice symptom improvement but it may take up to a year. 25% experience full remission. One of the problems is that the treatment can cost $20,000 if not covered by insurance.
Suggested Reading: Out of the Black Hole: The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression by Charles E., III Donovan, John M. Zajecka, and Nancy Williger
Fast, J. (2009, January 1). What is Vagus Nerve Stimulation?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, June 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/depression-treatment/what-is-vagus-nerve-stimulation-gsd