Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is designed for treatment-refractory/treatment-resistant patients, for those who cannot tolerate antidepressants, and for special situations such as a depressed patient planning a pregnancy. It is a safe and effective procedure for reducing depression symptoms quickly, often in 1-2 weeks. Additionally, rTMS has been demonstrated to reduce suicidal ideation rapidly, in some studies as soon as one week.
Differing from ECT, rTMS is considered a "lunchtime" procedure; patients can come to the office for an rTMS session and then immediately resume their day without downtime or impaired function.
rTMS works by using pulsed electromagnetic waves to activate a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. This front part of the brain is underactive in significant depression; activating the prefrontal cortex often leads to improvement or resolution of depression symptoms. While a treatment session is going, the patient is comfortably watching tv or listening to music; during the 37-minute sessions.
Many insurance companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, recognize rTMS as a powerful treatment option for treatment-refractory/treatment-resistant depression.
Several months ago, I asked myself, "Is this as good as it gets?" I had battled major depression for almost three decades. I was seeing doctors every other week and had tried a litany of medications. Still, I had frequent dark thoughts, regular crying spells, a profound lack of energy, and many other debilitating symptoms of long-term depression. With resignation, I accepted that this was my life. It was not going to get better; I hoped that it would not get worse. With the help of doctors and medication, I would survive. Life was bland; it lacked joy and happiness and sometimes even feeling. I was merely moving from day today. This was before I discovered Dr. Morris, her staff, and TMS.
...., I made an appointment with Rachael Tromley in Dr. Morris' clinic to discuss my candidacy for TMS after researching the treatment through Neuronetics. Before leaving the office that day, I chose to start TMS .... Dr. Morris and her staff made the TMS decision easy. The treatment itself went smoothly because of the professionalism of all those involved. Before TMS, I was on sleep medication and two antidepressants. I still suffered daily from depression, and my symptoms continued to increase. My options seemed to be more doctor visits and more prescriptions, which would come with new side effects. Since TMS, I have dropped one antidepressant and cut the other dosage by 75%. I also sleep without the aid of any medication. Most nights, I fall asleep quickly and sleep through the night.
Decreased dependence on medication was one of my goals with TMS, but the benefits of TMS go far beyond the decrease in pills I take every day. Life before TMS was not as good as it gets. Life after TMS is good, excellent. I do not live in fear of the future. I welcome it and all the new joys it will bring. I wake up and do not worry about the inevitable tears the day will bring. Instead, I look for the smiles on the faces of my family and friends that I had not noticed in many years. For the first time in a long time, I am doing more than just surviving from day today. I am living my life with my depression under control. I have Dr. Morris, her staff, and TMS to thank you for giving me back a life worth living.