For people with treatment-resistant depression, adding vagus nerve stimulation to medication can drastically improve their quality of life, concludes a new study.

People with severe depression may benefit from the neurostimulation technique ‘vagus nerve stimulation.’

The National Institute of Mental Health suggest that over 16 million people in the United States have had at least one episode of major depression in the past year.
Of these, more than 10 million adults report that the condition severely impaired their quality of life.

There are a variety of treatments available for depression, including therapy, medication, and making changes to one’s lifestyle. However, for some, these therapies are not enough to relieve the symptoms and improve quality of life.

Some with treatment-resistant depression turn to neurostimulation. One type of neurostimulation is vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

In VNS, a device is fitted in the patient’s chest or neck, under the skin. These devices send pulses of electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve, which starts in the brain, goes through the neck, and ends in the chest and abdomen.

However, does VNS really improve the quality of life of those who opt for it? A new study, just published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, aims to answer this question.

The researchers were led by Dr. Charles R. Conway, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Source: By A. Sandoiu/fact checked by J. Collier for