The Only FDA Approved Long-Term Treatment Option for Chronic Depression Inspires Study Subject to Publish "The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression"

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A former sufferer of chronic depression and subject patient in the vagus nerve stimulation therapy investigational trial now announces the release of his book "Out of the Black Hole: The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression

Charles E. Donovan III, a former sufferer of chronic depression and patient in the study on vagus nerve stimulation, announces the release of his book about the disease, "Out of the Black Hole: The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression" (©2006, $29.95 cloth,

The book chronicles Donovan's journey and prepares patients who suffer from treatment-resistant depression (TRD) to make informed decisions by providing an easy-to-understand explanation of the implant procedure. It details his battle with the disease, his inclusion in (and positive results from) the medical breakthrough clinical trial and his remarkable journey out of the black hole of TRD.

When Donovan initially sought help, he saw doctors from New York City (where he worked and lived for 10 years) to St. Louis, where he grew up and returned when he couldn’t continue living on his own. He tried psychotherapy, countless combinations of antidepressant drugs, even ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) but all had limited or no results. He and his family were at the end of their options when they accidentally learned about an investigational study for a new treatment for TRD. Donovan became a part of the clinical study, and his experiences before and during the study are compellingly detailed in "Out of the Black Hole."

The clinical trial Donovan became a part of was to determine if vagus nerve stimulation would help those suffering from treatment-resistant depression. He was one of 200 patients from 20 different hospitals throughout the United States who participated in this trial. The average patient in the study had suffered lifetime depression of 25 years. Unlike most standard clinical trials, for a patient to be considered as a study subject for this trial, they had to have failed to adequately respond to all legally available antidepressants. The patients (including Donovan) who were enrolled for this trial had the severest cases of TRD and were deemed the most difficult to treat.

On April 4, 2001, Donovan had a vagus nerve stimulator implanted. Over the course of several months, with preset stimulation to his left vagus nerve, Donovan went from seeing no hope of anything good happening to him any time in the future to being only occasionally pessimistic about his future, believing that for the most part things would get better. Gradually he began to have an optimistic view of his future, and now he says his life is normal, full of joy and genuine happiness.

The treatment is not a cure for TRD, but now that the procedure has been approved by the FDA , it offers new hope to the desperate millions of patients for whom nothing else works. It is the first FDA-approved long term treatment option for TRD; it provides an option that's safe, effective, tolerable and without the side effects typically seen with medications and ECT. Donovan, one of the estimated 4 million people in the United States today suffering with TRD, hopes his story, and the information he includes in his “Patient’s Guide,” will help those suffering to find their way out of the black hole.

Donovan is the founder of, as well as the editor of the bulletin. He was a presenter at the FDA Medical Devices Panel meeting in Washington, D.C., which recommended approval of this treatment. His book will be part of a sixty-minute documentary on the Discovery Channel in late April.

For more information about vagus nerve stimulation, chronic depression and Donovan's book, visit, or call 1-888-VAGUS88 (888-824-8788).

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