I have seen incredible things occur in my seven months of being a member of the Achieve TMS team. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treats and manages the symptoms of depression in a way that allows the patient to cope better. The degree of symptom relief varies patient to patient. Some patients achieve complete remission from their depression by the end of treatment, and others experience substantial symptomatic relief to a point where their depression becomes manageable.
TMS works by generating magnetic fields which produces an electrical current that causes the depolarization of neurons in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These action potentials wake up this part of the brain which is primarily responsible for cognition, reasoning, and functional connectivity to the emotional center of the brain called the limbic system. The stimulation of these underactive areas can bring relief to people suffering from depression.
There is no doubt that TMS causes neurological changes to the brain. However, I have found that the mindset of the patient during treatment also plays an important role. The overall wellness of the patient following treatment is more likely when the patient takes on a mindset of awareness, acceptance, willingness, hope, and purpose.
Awareness is the understanding of your personal experience with depression and the ability to self-reflect. This includes knowing your personal limitations and identifying your battles. This quality empowers patients to recognize when they overcome milestones, such as getting out of bed in the morning, or socializing with others. Acceptance involves the validation of your symptoms and compassion for yourself.
Willingness is a crucial component to achieving wellness. It entails an ability to make an effort towards wellness through lifestyle adjustments. Along with having willingness comes the necessity of maintaining hope that you can and will be well. And lastly, the purposeful orientation towards achieving wellness is key. For many, depression is more complex than a neurotransmitter imbalance. Coping with depression and striving towards wellness involves a drive to keep fighting each day.
Patient “A” finished treatment and reported that 50% of their depression was gone from TMS, and they were now motivated to seek out a therapist to work through the remaining 50%. Patient “B” mentioned that because of TMS they were able to emotionally work through past trauma in therapy sessions. Patient “C” expressed that although their
depression and anxiety were still present, they feel more resilient to go to battle because of TMS.
These patients had a reason to get well. TMS facilitates the journey towards wellness but the patient plays an active role in achieving health and healing as well.