Imagine the relief you will feel when the heavy weight of depression is lifted from you. How would it feel to jump out of bed in the morning with an excitement for life that you haven’t felt in years? What if your loved ones could finally see that smile on your face that has been absent for so long? These realities are all possible with a highly effective, non-pharmaceutical approach.
What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Depression?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an FDA cleared treatment for depression which is available by prescription only. TMS is a safe, effective, and scientifically proven treatment option that uses targeted magnetic fields to treat Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). NeuroStar, the TMS brand that we use, is backed by the largest clinical data set of 23 publications and 11 studies involving 900 patients. 1 in 2 patients experienced a significant improvement in their depression while 1 in 3 had a remission and were symptom-free after receiving TMS treatments.
How Does It Work?
There are many areas of the brain that affect mood. These mood regions communicate with each other via neural pathways. Chemical messengers called “neurotransmitters” carry messages between the neurons and create communication between mood regions of the brain. People who suffer from chronic depression have fewer neurotransmitters which causes neural pathways to die off. This inhibits or stops the communication between various regions of the brain and causes symptoms of depression.
Stimulating neurotransmitter activity is a widely accepted treatment for depression. Antidepressant medications aim to do just that, successfully alleviating symptoms in roughly half of the people who try them. However, pharmaceutical antidepressants come with a laundry list of side effects such as nausea, irritability, dizziness, erectile dysfunction, dry mouth, and insomnia just to name a few.
For Those That Antidepressants Can’t Help
For the other half of people that pharmaceuticals don’t help, and for the people who cannot live with the uncomfortable side effects of them, there is another option: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. During this quick and non-invasive treatment, the patient will be reclined in a spa-like chair, awake and comfortable. A small magnetic coil will be positioned lightly on the head.
The coil delivers focused magnetic stimulation to the target areas of the brain. Electricity runs through the magnetic coil, causing electromagnetic pulses to enter the brain, this will feel like a light tapping sensation on your head, but there will not be any discomfort or pain. This pulsation stimulates the generation of new neurotransmitters and neural pathways. The more healthy neurotransmitters there are in the brain, the easier it is for the mood centers to communicate and regulate, thereby reducing or eliminating depressive symptoms.
What Is Depression?
As defined by Mayo Clinic, “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.”
Feeling sad from time to time is part of the human experience. However, doctors diagnose clinical depression when the patient experiences 5 or more of the following symptoms for at least two weeks:
- Tiredness or lack of energy nearly every day
- A depressed mood for most of the day
- Agitation, restlessness, or irritability
- Losing interest in day to day activities
- Trouble focusing, remembering things, and making decisions
- A loss of interest in life’s pleasures
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Feelings of worthlessness nearly every day
- Feelings of excessive and inappropriate guilt nearly every day
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
How Common Is Depression?
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the world’s leading cause of disability with more than 264 million people worldwide experiencing depression. In America alone, 7.1% of the adult population (17.3 million people) had at least one major depressive episode in 2017. Statistically, women are twice as likely to experience severe depression, although cultural norms may cause men to avoid seeking treatment or even telling anyone about their depression.
Even more common than people who seek help for their depression are people who have a mental health condition and don’t seek treatment. Every year, over 30,000 people in America die by suicide. Many of those people were struggling with depression.
What Causes Depression?
Depression can be caused by a huge array of factors, some of which are situational and other of which may be linked to genetic or other health issues. Doctors have identified a few factors that could lead to depression:
- Too few neurotransmitters in the brain
- Weakened or damaged neuro-pathways
- Taking certain medications
- Substance abuse
- Serious injury or illness
- Brain chemistry imbalance
- Relationship abuse
- Hormone imbalance
- Genetic predisposition
- Dietary issues
Frequently Asked Questions About TMS
Is TMS the Same As ECT or VNS?
TMS is not the same thing as ECT. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a treatment that involves controlled electrical currents passing through the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. The electrical currents induce a minor seizure in the patient which is thought to help with severe cases of medication-resistant depression. While this treatment can be effective, it also comes with side effects such as memory loss, confusion, muscle pain, and headaches.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) involves surgically implanting a device under the skin of your chest with a wire connecting the device to your vagus nerve. This device sends signals to the brain via the vagus nerve which can help stimulate the mood centers of the brain and help with depression. The obvious drawback of this treatment is that it involves surgery, which comes with its own complications. TMS is clearly the least invasive and safest option among these three treatments.
Is TMS More Effective Than Prescription Medication?
While antidepressants do help many people, more than four million patients do not experience adequate benefit and/or cannot tolerate the side effects. In a clinical study that monitored moderate to severely depressed patients, one group was given a placebo and the other group was given an antidepressant. In the placebo group, 20-40 people out of 100 noticed an improvement of their symptoms within six to eight weeks. In the group that received antidepressants, 40-60 people out of 100 noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
In clinical studies done using TMS on hard to treat patients, 58% of people who received treatments experienced significant improvement in their condition and 37.1% were symptom-free after 6 weeks. During the six months after treatment, only 11% of patients had a relapse. Patients who did see improvement were still doing well after a full year. This exciting evidence shows that NeuroStar TMS offers the best chance at long term remission.
Is It Safe?
Receiving Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is completely safe. None of the systemic side effects caused by antidepressants are experienced by patients receiving TMS treatments. There is no memory loss, confusion, or negative effect on the brain’s behavior. Patients are awake and comfortable throughout the treatment and can go about their day right after their session.
How Many Treatments Do I Need?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is most effective when receiving 20-30 treatments. The frequency of the treatments is five days per week for four to six weeks. Each treatment is only 37 minutes. You’ll be out the door and back to your life in no time. And because there are no side effects such as confusion or dizziness, you can drive yourself home.
Why Should I Trust Your Clinic With My Mental Health?
A Holistic, Multi-Modal Approach
Here at Cady Wellness Institute, we use a multi-modal approach to help people achieve personal wellness and mental health. Our intake evaluation is incredibly in-depth. We get detailed information about you so we can take into account all facets of your health, life, and history. By doing this, we are able to determine where we should start treatment.
We first rule out any potential physical imbalances that could be causing your mental unease. Oftentimes, we find that patients coming in for mental health issues actually have a hormone imbalance which is causing them physical and mental ailments. By making sure your physical health is in optimal condition, we can then hone in on treating your depression.
Staff That Care
Our staff has been carefully selected to have incredible empathy and compassion for our patients. We emphasize a holistic approach, which means we understand how the body and mind affect each other. We aim to try natural approaches before prescribing medications, which we do so carefully and precisely. Here at Cady Wellness, our goal is to help patients achieve remission – resulting in a patient who is clinically well, not just “a little better.”
Dr. Louis Cady, MD is joined by other phenomenal staff including a naturopathic doctor, a dietician, a clinical psychologist, an adult psychiatric health nurse practitioner, medical assistants, and even a therapy dog! Drawing from many fields of expertise allows us to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses all aspects of the patient’s health.
Finally, Long Term Relief For Depression
If you are like millions of other Americans who can’t get relief from their depression by using pharmaceuticals, we highly recommend talking to the Doctors here at Cady Wellness about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy. If you feel like you are in a deep dark hole that nothing has been able to lift you out of, you may be a perfect candidate for TMS. Can you imagine being symptom-free one day?
Instead of using a cookie-cutter approach to our patients, we treat each person as an individual with unique and specific needs. We will spend the time and go the distance with you. Our ultimate goal is integrating your mind and body for peak performance. If you are ready for real solutions that treat the root cause, call us today at Cady Wellness Institute in Newburgh, IN and we will make a plan together to help you feel your best with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy!