Depression affects millions of people all over the world and remains the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people aged 15 to 44.
Many seek to better their mental health with antidepressants, mood stabilizers and other psychiatric medications, but Sweden-based start up, Flow, is revolutionizing treatment options with the introduction of a wearable headset aimed to combat negative symptoms.
The device, which works by delivering gentle electrical signals to the front part of the user's brain, is the first and only medically approved, medication free, at-home treatment for depression in Europe.
The electric signals work to stimulate neurons in the brain to re-balance activity. Treatment takes 18 sessions over six weeks, with each session taking just 30 minutes.
But is this method backed by science? Studies say yes.
Trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that brain stimulation has a similar impact to widely used medications, but with fewer and less-serious side effects.
Users are also encouraged to use Flow's smartphone app with the device, which integrates virtual therapy and encourages healthy habits like mindfulness.
"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.
Mansson, a clinical psychologist and Erik Rehn, a neuroscientist, launched flow after meeting at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm where they both worked.
Flow's goal is to have the device available on prescription in the UK by working with England's National Health Service. The company will also be working with the FDA to seek regulatory clearance in the states.
The headset is currently available for purchase in the UK and Sweden.