Treating Treatment Resistant Depression
Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy (TMS) offers an alternative to traditional treatments of depression. If you or someone you know has been showing the signs of depression for a long time or has been receiving treatment for depression without improving, TMS is a relatively new therapy that has had FDA approval since 2008.
Sometimes, people do not respond to traditional treatments for depression, like therapy and medications like SSRIs. Before TMS therapy was created, there was not a lot that could be done for people with powerful and ongoing depressions that would not respond to medication. However, TMS can greatly improve outcomes for people like this. About half of TMS patients feel much better after receiving treatment, even if they have been showing the signs of depression for very long periods of time with no response to other treatments.
Essentially how TMS works is with magnetic stimulation of the brain. A magnetic coil is placed on the head of the patient and a light magnetic charge is focused on the regions of the brain responsible for mood. This helps to stimulate the release of important neurotransmitters involved in alleviating depression, like serotonin. As many as a third of patients exhibiting treatment resistant depression experienced near total relief from their depressions after using this therapy. Most patients felt noticeable relief from the signs of depression after treatment, but still exhibited more mild signs of depression. However, when nothing else is working, this is a far better outcome than continuing other treatments will provide. As with any form of medical treatment, there are no guarantees for an individual case, but if you or someone you care about has been continuing to exhibit the signs of depression despite treatment, TMS may be an option that can provide them with the relief that other treatments have failed to.