Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Aids Teens in Depression Relief
The tumultuous years of adolescence makes teens particularly vulnerable to experiencing a major depressive disorder (MDD). Fluctuating hormones, social dramas, genetics, and family strife can fuel the mood disorder, culminating in social isolation and an inability to function in normal activities.
Teen depression should be taken very seriously. Nearly five thousand teens commit suicide each year, making suicide the third leading cause of death in this age group. Ninety percent of teens who commit suicide are suffering from a mood disorder such as an MDD.
In 2014 it was reported that 2.8 million adolescents aged 12-17 suffered from at least one major depressive episode, according to data collected by the National Survey on Drug Use and Heath (NSDUH), wich represented about 11.4% of the U.S. teen population that year. For the purposes of this survey, and based on the definition by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an MDD is defined by the following criteria:
- A period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and self-image.
- Unlike the definition in the DSM-IV, no exclusions were made for a major depressive episode caused by medical illness, bereavement, or substance use disorders.
Although many teens will experience relief of symptoms through the traditional treatment methods of anti-depressant medication and psychotherapy, about half will not. Some teens simply won’t be able to tolerate the many side effects that accompany the medications, such as weight gain, insomnia, irritability, sexual dysfunction, and nausea. For these teens there is an alternative treatment method that offers hope—deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS).
dTMS for Treatment of Teen Depression
Since 2008 a groundbreaking option for treating medication-resistant MDD has emerged as an alternative therapeutic option. dTMS provides a non-invasive, drug-free treatment for MDD that has shown itself to be highly effective in achieving long-term remission, and with even higher success rates in adolescents than adults.
Studies have confirmed that dTMS is a viable option for treatment of depression in adolescents, with seven such studies having been completed. One study from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada demonstrated a remarkable improvement among its study participants, based on their Hamilton depression scores. In all, there was a 62% decrease in the scores in the study pool, translating to an improvement in mood.
What is dTMS?
Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation involves a pulsating magnetic field that is administered via a comfortable helmet placed gently on the head while the teen is seated and fully alert. The magnetic field that penetrates the scalp induces electrical currents that modulate the cortical neurons in the area of the brain associated with mood. These currents can re-set the brain chemistry in a depressed teen patient, while increasing levels of the neurotransmitter, glutamate, in the dorsolateral left prefrontal cortex, resulting in relief of depressive symptoms.
With few to no unpleasant side effects, dTMS offers an exceptional alternative for teens who experienced uncomfortable side effects from medications, and an effective treatment for those who were found to be treatment resistant previously. The sessions generally last about 20 minutes, with the patient able to drive themself home and immediately resume normal activities. The patient will receive a treatment regimen of five sessions per week for 4-6 weeks.
Achieve TMS can Help
Addressing your adolescent’s depression is a first step. Do not ignore the signs that your teen might be clinically depressed and need medical and psychological intervention. If these traditional methods fail to help your teen, contact the compassionate and knowledgeable staff at Achieve TMS for help. Our experts can answer any questions you might have about dTMS treatment therapy and check your insurance benefits for coverage of the sessions. Contact us today at (877) 447-6503.