By Dr. Brian McDonoughSponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Depression and bipolar disorder are two very serious mental health issues in this country.

There are medications that can be quite helpful if treatment is initiated appropriately. In addition, counseling can be helpful as well.

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But according to report in the journal of the American Medical Association, Psychiatry Edition, another option that can be safe and effective is something called “Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation,” or TDCS.

This is particularly helpful in patients who have bipolar disorder.

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This study loocked at 52 patients and compared those who received TDCS with those who received what is called “sham therapy,” a placebo.

There are many people who are reluctant to consider any form of electric shock therapy because of images from the past, and a very questionable history of usage decades ago.

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But in today’s medical environment, and in controlled settings, this type of option is something that should be thought about as potentially helpful.