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Non-pharmacological biological treatment approaches to difficult-to-treat depression

This is a republished version of an article previously published in MJA Open

It is well recognised that depression frequently does not respond to standard pharmaceutical treatment and psychotherapy techniques.1,2 Non-pharmacological biological treatments have a long history of use in difficult-to-treat psychiatric illnesses such as depression. With increasing recognition of the frequency and impact of difficult-to-treat depression and a variety of technological developments, the past 10 years have seen a dramatic increase in interest in development of novel brain stimulation techniques. Here, I provide an overview of the characteristics and current status of development of non-pharmacological biological treatments for depression (Box).

Electroconvulsive therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most widely used and effective non-pharmacological biological treatment for depression and remains the most…