Depression treatment over the past 50 years is still not meeting the needs of patients.
Rates of depression in the U.S. continue on an upward trajectory, with over 15 million Americans suffering from a major depressive episode annually, according to data provided by the National Institute of Mental Health.
The hope for a cure for depression accompanied the advent of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Prozac, in the 1980s. Unfortunately, these drugs fail to help half the patients taking them for chronic depression, and come with a long list of unpleasant side effects as well. In the hopes that antidepressants can perform better in treating depression, about 30 such drugs have been put on the market, with the number of people taking them doubling between 1999-2012, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Psychotherapy and TMS Team Up
Psychotherapy has long remained a staple in the treatment of depression. Therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy—either selectively or with a blend of these methods to treat depression. A trained and licensed therapist can be successful in helping a patient identify the elements in their life that might be contributing to the depression. By teaching new coping skills and helping patients change the negative patterns of thoughts and behaviors, a qualified therapist can make a meaningful difference in patient’s lives.
In recent years an exciting new alternative depression treatment has emerged as a powerful therapeutic tool for providing relief from the symptoms of depression: transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). While TMS is often used as a stand-alone treatment for medication-resistant patients battling major depressive disorder (MDD), it has been found to be an excellent adjunct treatment to psychotherapy as well. Mental health practitioners are increasingly prescribing both TMS and talk therapy as a two-pronged effort to treat MDD.
What is Deep TMS?
Deep TMS is an alternative therapy for treating depression that utilizes magnetic pulses that pass through a coil into the scalp, targeting both the left frontal cortex and the limbic region of the brain. The magnetic fields produce electrical currents that stimulate underactive brain cells, a common condition found in depressive patients. Through a series of sessions lasting 5-6 weeks, the treatment ultimately helps to reset and rebalance brain chemistry.
Deep TMS is a safe and noninvasive treatment that requires no sedation, so the patient can return to normal activities immediately following each session. The sessions last about 20 minutes, and the patient can pass the time listening to music or watching television. The therapy is very well tolerated, with minimal, if any, adverse effects. After about ten sessions a noticeable improvement in sleep quality is usually the first positive response patients report. By the end of the treatment cycle many patients report improved concentration and overall mood.
How TMS Treatment and Psychotherapy Work Together
While psychotherapy focuses on thoughts and behaviors as they relate to depression, TMS adds a physiological component by directly targeting the mood center of the brain. This may be considered the logical pairing of two effective treatment modalities that work as companion therapies to help mediate the symptoms of depression.
Psychotherapy is an active type of treatment, with the patient engaging in the process of evaluating thoughts and behaviors that may relate to a specific source of stress or traumatic event. TMS is passive in nature, with the patient sitting in a comfortable chair and allowing the technology to rebalance brain chemistry. A therapist may find that by adding TMS to a traditional treatment regimen the patient shows a greater degree of response to therapy in a shorter time frame.
Achieve TMS East First in Western Massachusetts to Provide Deep TMS for Depression
Achieve TMS East offers state-of-the-art expertise in the specialized field of Deep TMS. Its doctors and technicians are highly trained in using the Brainsway technology, offering new hope to many patients who had lost hope of ever finding relief from depression symptoms. Achieve TMS East has three office locations conveniently located in Western Massachusetts: Amherst, Northampton, and Springfield. For more information about TMS contact us today at (877) 297-5816.