Every year, more than 17 million individuals in the United States deal with depression. Depression, characterized by disruptions in a person's emotions, behavior, and thoughts, deprives a person of their ability to experience pleasure in life. Patients often experience a state of near-total numbness or persistent grief. The psychiatrist will typically recommend the proper treatment…
TMS is an Antidepressant Alternative for Treatment Resistent Depression
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has alleviated depressive symptoms in certain patients. TMS was initially tested as an antidepressant alternative for depression decades ago. Since 2008, mental health professionals have used TMS worldwide to treat depression that has not responded to standard treatment.
TMS for treatment-resistant depression
Unlike a common health ailment where patients can go to the doctor and obtain meds to treat the condition, depression sometimes resists therapeutic attempts. The psychiatric profession still struggles to provide adequate explanations for depression, which adds to the disorder's mystique and complexity.
Individuals with treatment-resistant depression may miss various life chances, including social interactions and personal growth. The mental health condition prevents them from living up to their total capacity. If that happens, their employment or schooling might suffer. The longer people go without treatment, the more challenging it is for them to recover from their illness and live normally again.
In the past, antidepressants were the go-to therapy for depression. However, the earliest antidepressant medications barely succeed in curing one-third of patients. Patients with treatment-resistant depression will benefit significantly from TMS, even if they also need a change in medications and counseling.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is effective as an antidepressant alternative for treating depression, anxiety, a lack of motivation, and boosting memory. In addition, compared to drug therapy, TMS has fewer adverse effects.
The importance of TMS
The global burden of major depressive disorder (MDD) and the inter-individual heterogeneity of pharmaceutical therapies combined with their adverse side effects necessitate the development of novel therapeutic techniques. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is one such method, having been approved by the FDA in 2008 as a treatment for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) after extensive study. In addition, recent North American and European recommendations have suggested rTMS as first-line therapy for MDD, now authorized in several countries.
How TMS works
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a vital hub of the frontoparietal network, is the primary rTMS target area in MDD. This region is hypoactive in patients with clinical depression, despite its role in regulating a wide range of processes, including decision-making, working memory, and attention. Hypoconnectivity of the frontoparietal network contributes to hyperconnectivity of the default mode network, which may increase negative emotional bias, disordered self-referential thinking, and rumination.
High-frequency (HF)-rTMS has been hypothesized to alleviate depression by down-regulating connections between the default mode network, the left DLPFC and insula, and between the salience network and the hippocampus. However, studies have shown that using TMS alone (monotherapy) has equivalent effectiveness to antidepressant medication. Still, scientists all across the globe are working to improve the response and remission rates for depressed patients.
Although traditional antidepressant prescription therapy has helped many people with depression, a sizeable percentage still do not respond to treatment. This implies that even after trialing multiple antidepressants over several months, the person continues to suffer severe symptoms of depression. The TMS treatment process provides a noninvasive, safe, and effective approach for treatment-resistant depression.
Contact our office to learn more about TMS therapy or schedule an evaluation appointment to find out if it is right for you.
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