Flow, a medication-free treatment for depression, has officially launched in the UK. It consists of a clinical-grade brain stimulation headset and accompanying therapy app.
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Many people are affected by depression but there is a stigma surrounding the condition. Understanding just how widespread the illness is might help decrease that stigma. According to latest statistics from WHO, some 300 million people are affected worldwide making this the leading cause of disability.
Flow is a new gadget designed to help people with mild to moderate depression. It has a similar effect as anti-depressants but with fewer side effects. Although the thing is registered as a certified medical device, you don’t need a prescription to purchase it.
The treatment lasts for 6 weeks and the effects should kick in within 3 weeks. During this time you are meant to wear the headset for 18 sessions lasting 30 minutes each. If you wish, you can then continue treatment for 1 or 2 sessions per week.
The headset uses something called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to stimulate neurons in the lower neural activity of their left frontal lobe. This is the part of the brain controlling key cognitive skills and emotional expression. The low direct current is delivered via electrodes in the headset and this helps to rebalance activity.
The gizmo works in conjunction with a smartphone app which is a type of virtual therapist. During session users can keep themselves occupied with videos about depression and advice on how to reduce symptoms.
There’s basis for this type of technology in science, too. Clinical trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Psychiatry show that this type of brain stimulation helps to alleviate symptoms of depression.
“We want to support the improvement of the current standard of care for people living with depression by increasing treatment choice and empowering patients to self-manage their symptoms at home with effective, non-pharmacological, alternatives,” said Daniel Mansson, Co-Founder and CEO of Flow.
Flow is the first treatment of its kind available for home use which has the stamp of approval from European regulators. The medical-device company is now in talks with the UK’s NHS to have its brain stimulation headset available on prescription. It also hopes to secure approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring Flow to the US later this year.
To purchase or learn more, head over to flowneuroscience.com.
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