One of the leading forms of mental illness today is severe depression.  An estimated 15 million Americans suffer from this disorder, which creates ongoing symptoms of sadness, hopelessness, sleep and appetite disturbance, and even despair.

For many individuals, psychotherapy combined with antidepressant medication can be a literal lifesaver.  However, some people who suffer from severe depression do not respond to conventional treatment approaches.  Recent advances in alternative treatments have led to a new method of managing depression: the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment is conducted using a device called the NeuroStar® TMS Therapy System.

While treatment is administered, patients remain awake while sitting in a comfortable reclining chair. A treatment coil is applied to the head and the NeuroStar® TMS Therapy System generates highly concentrated magnetic field pulses that turn on and off rapidly.

In clinical trials, patients reported relief from the emotional effects of depression and experienced improvement in anxiety, changes in appetite, body aches and lack of energy – all physical symptoms of depression.

The Nature of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatment

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is based upon the principle that direct electrical stimulation of nerve cells in the brain can affect mood and behavior. Many mental disorders may stem from abnormal behavior of particular regions of the brain or the over- or under-stimulation of nerve cells.

The transcranial magnetic stimulation procedure involves the use of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.  While sitting in a specially designed treatment chair, a patient has a large electromagnetic coil placed against the scalp.  A magnetic field can then be produced by passing a current through the coil, as a machine generates the precise amount of current necessary. When the coil is activated, its current travels through the skull into the brain, stimulating the prefrontal cortex, a region associated with mood control.

A series of several treatments is usually conducted to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Benefits and Concerns (more…)

During the course of our lives, we are affected by various occurrences and circumstances which cause us to become angry, fearful, bewildered, joyful and sad. It is normal and expected that we will experience each of these emotions from time to time. It is not unusual for us to go through an entire range of emotions within the same day.

But when any of these emotions linger for an inordinate amount of time or appear to have become inescapable, there is a good chance that a potentially serious mental health issue exists.

Depression is the most common mental illness, affecting millions of people around the world. It is a condition that carries symptoms such as prolonged sadness, an inability to concentrate and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and despair that are at times intense.

Fortunately, approaches to depression treatment have become more refined over the years, helping many get back on their feet and live productive, fulfilling lives. But conventional treatment such as medications and talk therapy do not necessarily work for everyone, especially those suffering with severe depression.

TMS: An Effective Alternative

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a treatment technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This relatively new form of treatment is non-invasive and requires no medication. The patient sits comfortably in a specially-made chair while a device is placed over their head. This device creates a magnetic field which is targeted toward the prefrontal cortex; the mood-regulating area of the brain. TMS treatment stimulates activity in this area and decreases activity in surrounding regions of the brain.

After having undergone a series of TMS therapy treatments, many patients have shown marked improvement and a significant diminishment of their depression symptoms. The long-term effectiveness of TMS is not yet known. However in the short run, it has proven to be successful where other treatment methods have failed.

Call 513-536-HOPE (4673) or 888-536-HOPE (4673)



This blog is written and published by Lindner Center of HOPE.