April 27, 2014 | 11:00 am
There is no single factor that causes depression. In fact, many experts believe most cases of depression are a result of several sources. The most common are:
•Trauma and stress
•Physical medical conditions
•Other psychological disorders
Depression can affect anyone, but certain factors like age and gender may play a role.
•Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression. This may be because of hormonal changes like menstruation, menopause and pregnancy.
•Men are more likely than women to have undiagnosed depression. It's common for males to mask depression with things like drug and alcohol abuse. Anger and hostility are also more common among depressed men. Suicide is a serious risk for men with depression -- they are four-times more likely than women to kill themselves.
•Elderly people are a little known at-risk group for depression.
VNS THERAPY: Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is one of the newest potential treatment options for depression. It was originally designed and approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy. However, researchers are exploring the possibility that VNS may also effectively regulate mood. Similar to a pacemaker, a vagus nerve stimulator is implanted under a patient's skin near his/her collarbone. A wire connects the device to the vagus nerve in the neck. It then sends electric impulses through the wire. These signals help regulate mood. Some patients experience an alteration of voice quality and loudness during the time the pulse is being delivered to the vagus nerve. Other common side effects include hoarseness, throat pain, cough and shortness of breath.