Alternative Treatments for Depression, like TMS, Offer New Hope
At no time in modern history have Americans been more proactive about their health. Just a generation ago, people suffering from whatever malady, be it physical or psychological, just accepted without hesitation their health providers’ treatment plan, no questions asked.
These days, patients are more assertive. They ask more questions, they inquire about side effects, they ask about homeopathic options, and they seek second or third opinions. The adjective, “alternative,” when discussing treatment for a specific ailment, is widely accepted now as an important approach to consider when making decisions regarding one’s health.
Alternative Treatment Needed for Treating Depression
When the malady at hand happens to be major depressive disorder (MDD), there are many reasons to seek alternative therapies. Too often, in about half of all diagnosed MDD cases, traditional treatment protocols do not result in relief of symptoms. Instead, many patients suffer very uncomfortable side effects to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the anti-depressants prescribed for treating depression.
SSRIs are the most widely prescribed drugs in America, with doctors writing such prescriptions for about 30 million patients in the U.S. annually. Just like a broken record, providers are stuck in the groove of habitually prescribing anti-depressants, even with an abundance of data demonstrating poor long-term outcomes for patients who were treated with them.
Often patients are prescribed a medley of medications, such as Zoloft, Lexapro, Topamax, Klonopin, Abilify, and Xanax, only to wind up feeling worse, not better. Troublesome side effects from these drugs include weight gain, irritability, diarrhea, dizziness, insomnia, drowsiness, sexual difficulties, and more. So, not only is a large swath of patients not benefiting from taking the SSRIs for treating their depression, but they are subsequently suffering a multitude of side effects from the medication as well.
TMS: A Viable Alternative Treatment Option for Depression
There are several alternative therapies one can try for treating depression. Meditation, hypnosis, acupuncture, biofeedback, yoga, and dietary supplements have all been utilized to help treat depression for decades.
But when it comes to treating the probable source of the depression, no alternative measures are as effective as deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS). Why? Because dTMS directly targets the region in the brain, the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with mood regulation, therefore having a direct effect on the neuronal activity of the brain. The non-invasive procedure stimulates nerve cells in the brain with short magnetic pulses.
During a dTMS session—sessions last for about 20 minutes five days a week for 4-6 weeks—a comfortable helmet will be placed on the client’s head. Focused pulses generated by the electro-magnetic coil within the helmet penetrate the skull and cause electrical stimulus to the nerve cells that are underactive in a patient with depression.
The patient requires no anesthetic and is fully awake during the sessions. dTMS is very well tolerated, with few or no side effects.
Recent studies have demonstrated that dTMS is an effective tool that offers long-term results in treating MDD. In 2013 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) presented a longitudinal study of the promising results of TMS after one year. Study investigator Linda L. Carpenter, MD stated, “This is the first study to examine 12-month outcomes of TMS in a large dataset in a real-life setting. We have data on 257 patients that got all the way through the long-term follow-up, and we found that 68% improved and 45% had complete remission at one-year follow-up.” Carpenter continued, “This is an exciting time for psychiatrists and patients who have a new treatment option to pursue.”
Achieve TMS can Help
The dTMS treatment providers at Achieve TMS understand your frustration with failed attempts to cure your depression. We are happy and willing to discuss our dTMS treatment method with you in detail. Call us today at (866) 224-4054 to speak with one of our friendly staff members who can answer your questions about this exciting alternative therapy for treating depression.