Occasional feelings of anxiety and depression are expected and considered normal for the average person. However, when these feelings pervade one’s thoughts and it becomes impossible to function normally, further evaluation and consideration is necessary.
Anxiety and depression are both common in our society, though it is reported that only a third of sufferers receive treatment for their condition. There are numerous disorders under the large umbrella of anxiety and depression, and it believed that the cause of symptoms are multi factorial and include biological, genetic, environmental and psychological factors.
While most seek treatment with cognitive therapy and oral medications, some people are refractory to these treatments and require help with other modalities. Since the 1940s and 1950s, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) has been used for the treatment of depression and mania. ECT works by administering general anesthesia to the patient and using an electric current that causes a brief seizure. While ECT can help with severe depression and suicidal thoughts, potential side effects include adverse reaction to the anesthesia, memory loss and confusion.
Since 2008, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been used approved by the FDA for treatment of depression. During a TMS procedure, a magnetic field generator is placed against the scalp of a patient. Electric currents stimulate nerve cells involved in mood control and depression. Unlike ECT, patients are awake and alert during procedures and can be completed in an office setting.
With TMS, the risk of general anesthesia is alleviated. In addition, the main reported side effect is headache, as compared to the side effects of anesthesia and possible amnesia.
Here, at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine, we have practitioners certified in the administration of TMS. If you are experiencing ongoing symptoms of depression and have failed other therapeutic options, TMS may be a choice for you. It may be an important step in your path to healing.