Antidepressants have typically been the first-line treatment for depression. While antidepressants have helped millions of people with depression find relief, they don’t work for everyone. A medication-free treatment, called TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) has been gaining attraction from doctors and patients for its ability to improve depression symptoms when antidepressants don't. With TMS, New York City patients have another depression treatment option.
Below, we’ll dive into what causes some of the most common symptoms of depression and how TMS in NYC can help patients find relief from depression.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of depression, and is self-reported in over 90% of people with depression. Unfortunately, insomnia is also a common symptom of depression. Lack of sleep can make depression symptoms worse, contributing to a cycle of depression and fatigue. Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep is an important symptom to treat because it is one of the few known risk factors for suicide.
Concentration / Memory loss
Depression is linked to cognitive problems, like short-term memory loss and trouble with concentration. Someone with depression may notice that they tend to be forgetful, have trouble concentrating, that they find it difficult to multitask, or that they have difficulty making decisions.
Chronic Pain and Migraines
Many times, in addition to painful emotional states, depression can cause unexplained physical pain. According to an analysis of questionnaires collected from more than 500 patients diagnosed with depression, more than two-thirds of people with depression experience pain. Psychological distress can cause a wide range of physical symptoms, like digestive issues, migraines, and back pain.
Anger and Mood Swings
Anger is a lesser-known, yet quite common, symptom of depression -- as many as one-third of people with depression report having anger attacks. One study observed that patients having a depressive episode are 53.4% more likely to experience anger and irritability, compared to people who are not depressed.
Weight Loss / Gain
Weight loss and weight gain are more commonly known symptoms of depression. Whether a person with depression loses weight or gains weight depends on other symptoms of depression.
Weight gain occurs when people with depression:
Are less physically active because they’ve lost interest in activities
Make poor food choices, or have no interest in cooking, and eat high-fat foods
Take an antidepressant that has weight gain as a known side effect
Weight loss occurs when people with depression lose:
Interest in eating nutritious foods
The sensation of their taste buds
How Can TMS Help With Depression?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is proven to help people with treatment-resistant depression find relief from their symptoms. TMS is an FDA-approved depression treatment that stimulates underactive neurons (brain cells) to release neurotransmitters and improve communication between neurons in the brain.
Depression Can Change the Brain
In patients with depression, we know that neurotransmitters (chemicals produced by neurons that allow them to communicate with each other) can become dysfunctional or depleted. When this occurs, communication between neurons and therefore neural networks that connect different regions of the brain are affected.
Research shows that people with depression have a reduced volume of grey matter (the tissue in the brain that contains most of the brain’s neurons) compared to people who do not have depression. These results lead scientists to believe that depression negatively affects the brain’s ability to generate new neurons (a process called neurogenesis).
TMS Electrically Stimulates Neurons to Treat Depression Symptoms
Neurons can be stimulated both chemically and electrically. Antidepressants chemically stimulate neurons to release neurotransmitters. TMS electrically stimulates underactive neurons by using continuous magnetic pulses. When neurons are stimulated and start to release more neurotransmitters, they can generate new neurons, strengthen connections between other neurons, and improve communication between other neurons and therefore other brain regions. This leads to improved mood and improvement of depression symptoms.
TMS machines use a magnet that is similar to those used in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines. It is a medication-free, noninvasive treatment that is performed while patients sit comfortably in a chair. Since TMS does not require anesthesia of any kind, patients can return to work immediately following a TMS therapy session.
There are two types of TMS available to patients with depression: repetitive TMS (rTMS) and deep TMS (dTMS). Traditional rTMS uses a magnetic coil that is shaped like a figure 8 and penetrates more shallow regions of the brain. dTMS uses a magnetic coil that is shaped like the letter H and penetrates deeper regions of the brain. The type of TMS therapy your doctor chooses will depend on your specific diagnosis as well as your medical history. rTMS and dTMS therapy in NYC are helping hundreds of patients find relief from depression.
How Long Do the Effects of TMS Last?
An important study looked at the durability (how long the effects last) of one course of TMS treatment (six weeks of treatment plus a taper period). The results of this study showed that 62.5 percent of people who achieved remission after one course of TMS continued to show signs of response to treatment and/or remission one year after treatment.
How long TMS results last is different for each patient and may depend on their medical history. Some patients may need maintenance sessions to help reinforce the positive effects of TMS (maintenance treatments are covered by insurance), while some patients may need a second round of TMS if they experience a relapse.
TMS Is Proven to Help Patients With Treatment-Resistant Depression Find Relief
If you’ve tried two or more antidepressants, while simultaneously seeing a talk therapist, and have not noticed an improvement in your symptoms, TMS may provide relief. TMS is an FDA-approved depression treatment in NYC for patients diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression and is covered by insurance. To learn more about TMS in NYC and whether TMS may be right for you, talk to your doctor.
MADISON AVENUE TMS & PSYCHIATRY
New York, USA
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