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This series by Eric Litwiller of the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas looks at mental health in the Wichita area. It is in conjunction with the Wichita Journalism Collaborative.

Commentary: Depressive disorders are common, but also treatable

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Kristina Tripkovic
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Depressive disorders are some of the most common types of mental illnesses affecting the population of Wichita today. Whether someone you love is living with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, or others, it is important to know that the family of depressive disorders are also among the most treatable. Traditionally, between 80% and 90% of those who seek treatment are able to get some relief for their symptoms through a carefully prescribed and managed combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.

That said, for those who continue to struggle, talk therapy and antidepressants are not the only treatments available. New treatments are regularly being tested and released for the public, including an electrotherapy option that stimulates the brain to generate more alpha waves. Alpha waves are one of the five main types of waves naturally produced by the brain, and are linked to reduced depression, greater creativity, and lowered stress. So even a brief 30 to 45-minute session with an alpha-wave stimulator under the observation of a trained mental health practitioner can offer additional relief for depressive symptoms beyond more traditional methods.

The hope is that broader recognition of additional treatment options will raise awareness among those who are not currently seeking treatment that there is help available for their depressive symptoms. After all, the more people who seek and receive the help they need, the stronger our community becomes.