Some people might be concerned about their personality changing because of using these brain stimulation technologies.
“There has been no evidence that they do change your personality [or] make you into a different person,” Holtzheimer said. “Patients that get well … almost always report that they’re back to themselves. They were not themselves while they were depressed. They’re back to themselves when they’re not depressed.”
ECT is still more of a concern to some, but when used appropriately there is “no evidence that it has any personality effects, dulling effects,” he said.
Also, many patients with severe depression are more concerned about relieving depression instead of having other possible side effects, he said.
“The idea of these brain stimulation therapies … is extremely exciting for psychiatry, this idea of non-pharmacologic approaches,” Holtzheimer said.
However, he does have a word of caution.
“The nature of the field and companies and marketing is such that they’re being promoted and they’re kind of becoming “mainstream” perhaps before we have the data to truly know how well they work and how safe they are,” Holtzheimer said.
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