Depression is the most common mental illness in the United States.
There is no one size fits all treatment or cure for it. However, scientific research studies have been making incredible strides in the last decade or so, and now there are more treatment options. These options include:
- ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy)
- Deep TMS
Today, we’re going to be talking about just Deep TMS and how it can help treat depression.
What is Deep TMS?
Deep TMS is an FDA approved treatment for depression, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. It’s also been shown to be effective in treating bipolar disorder.
(Okay great, but what does that mean?)
Some researchers believe that certain mental illnesses come from overactive or underactive areas neurons in our brain structures. If we can manipulate the activity of the neurons in these parts of the brain, we can treat issues like depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, even when they’ve resisted treatment in the past.
This can be done with TMS. There are two types of TMS: Deep TMS and standard TMS. Both of these treatment types use magnetic pulses to stimulate certain areas of the brain. The difference is that Deep TMS uses a different type of coil (which the user wears) to stimulate brain activity deeper than traditional TMS.
How it actually works:
The treatment starts by putting on a helmet that contains an electromagnetic coil–this coil is what will be used to stimulate your brain, via magnets.
During treatment, the coil sends a magnetic pulse to your brain. The pulse goes to the part of your brain that’s responsible for emotional regulation. The treatment itself lasts about 20 minutes, but the best results are seen when patients return for repetitive sessions. The repetition can vary from person to person, but daily treatments for four weeks brings about drastic improvements for most patients.
Okay, but how does it help depression?
Unlike ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy), TMS is a great alternative depression treatment because it requires no hospitalization. You can even drive yourself to an from the treatment! But that doesn’t explain how it helps depression.
Understanding how TMS helps depression requires understanding a bit of anatomy about the human brain. Within the brain, there is something called the limbic system. When there is abnormality in the electrical functionality of this system, it can cause major depressive disorder. This makes the limbic system the physical source of depression within our brains.
During a Deep TMS treatment, the electromagnetic pulse helps to rebalance those abnormalities that cause depression, and stimulate better electrical brain activity.
Basically, TMS works to stimulate your brain magnetically, the way antidepressants would stimulate your brain chemically. In this way Deep TMS offers lasting relief for those with depression symptoms who may not have been able to get results through standard medication.
If you are interested in learning more about Deep TMS or trying it, our clinicians can help support you in that process. Get in touch today and we can discuss whether Deep TMS is right for you.