TMS: Breakthrough Depression Treatment Option
Millennium and Dr. Sicuro are proud to work with Greenbrook TMS to ensure those who require this level of care have convenient access. Although Greenbrook facilitates the TMS portion, Millennium and Dr. Sicuro are in full communication with Greenbrook staff at all times to maximize continuity of care between the physician, IOP provider, and TMS provider.
What is TMS Therapy?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy is a safe and effective treatment for individuals diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) who have not experienced satisfactory improvement from antidepressant medication or who feel medication is causing unwanted side effects. TMS Therapy can be used as stand-alone treatment or used in conjunction with medication.
Greenbrook TMS utilizes devices that are FDA-cleared and indicated for the treatment of MDD. These devices deliver magnetic pulses, stimulating specific areas of the brain involved in mood regulation. These areas are known to be under-active in those diagnosed with depression & stimulating these areas can improve the brain’s ability to regulate mood.
Benefits of TMS Therapy
Studies show that 3 out of every 4 patients report a reduction in depression symptoms at the completion of the acute phase of TMS Therapy.
- Non-Systemic – nothing enters the bloodstream
- Non-Sedating – patient remains awake and alert during treatment and can resume usual routine
- Non-Invasive – nothing is inserted or implanted into the body
- Non-Drug – no drug related side effects such as weight gain, drowsiness, sleeplessness, stomach upset or sexual problems
- FDA Cleared & Proven – 2 out of every 3 patients had a reduction in depression scores after a 4-week treatment period
- Covered by Most Insurance Plans – we assist patients with the reimbursement and financing process
Typical Course of Treatment
Although treatment varies by individual, a typical treatment course consists of:
- Average of 20-30 treatment sessions
- Conducted over a 4-6 week period
- 5 treatments per week
- Each treatment session lasts approximately 18-20 minutes
What to expect
During treatment, patients relax in a treatment chair and remain awake and alert. The TMS Therapy device will deliver magnetic pulses to specific areas of your brain known to regulate mood. These pulses will feel like tapping on the scalp. The technician can make adjustments if the tapping is uncomfortable. Mild headache or scalp discomfort is sometimes experienced at the site of stimulation during or after treatment. Over-the-counter analgesic may be taken to alleviate discomfort. If discomfort persists, the strength of the magnetic field pulses can be reduced to make treatment more comfortable.
After a treatment session, patients can immediately return to their normal routine, including driving. In clinical trials, most patients experienced a positive response to TMS Therapy by the 4th week of treatment. Some patients may experience results in less time, while others may take longer. It is important to continually discuss any depression symptoms with your TMS Technician.
Your first treatment session
Because it is important to determine how to most effectively administer your individual treatment, your first session may last up to an hour and a half. You will be provided with earplugs to reduce the audible tapping sound that the device emits. You can bring your own headphones (providing they are not metal) and listen to music during your treatment.
The physician will first perform a test to identify your motor threshold, which is the amount of magnetic field strength resulting in a movement of the patient’s right thumb. This test identifies the magnetic field strength that will be used during your treatment, which is customized to deliver the correct treatment dose.
The physician will then determine the location on your head where the treatment coil will be placed. In 30-second intervals, the device will deliver rapid “pulses” of the magnetic fields. These will feel like tapping on the scalp. The physician can make adjustments if the tapping is uncomfortable.
Help for Major Depressive Disorder
If you’ve been treated with anti-depressants and/or ECT under the care of a healthcare provider and it hasn’t proven to be effective, there is still hope. TMS Therapy is an option that may be worth exploring. Call our office today for an evaluation to determine if this option would be appropriate for you.
Major Depressive Disorder
If you have a medical history of major depressive disorder, then you’re among the 16 million Americans who suffer from the symptoms of this condition on a daily basis. Symptoms of major depressive disorder include:
- Inability to focus
- Negative thinking that doesn’t stop
- Passive death wish
- Suicidal thoughts with plan (in more severe cases)
- Unusual weight changes (in association with other depressive symptoms)
- Low energy
- Increased sleep
Unfortunately, depression can even render someone unable to function from day-to-day. Going to work, school, or even to the store can seem like a daunting task that “just can’t be done”. And with some individuals who seek treatment, traditional treatment options such as SSRIs, SNRIs, individual therapy, or intensive outpatient treatment doesn’t quite seem to provide a lasting improvement. For these individuals, the treatment may work for only a short period of time.
Do I Have Depression?
Only a clinically licensed professional can determine if you have an official diagnosis of depression. However, there are official screeners that have been developed so that either an individual or their clinical provider can gain insight into the potential for a diagnosis of depression.
Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)
The PHQ-9 screener can not only determine if depression is present, but is also a valid tool in determining the severity of depression based on scoring of the answers to questions. There are 9 questions in which an individual is instructed to answer honestly based on their own perception. There are 3 potential answers to each question, all a number with a corresponding answer, as follows:
0 = Not at all
1 = Several days
2 = More than half the days
3 = Nearly every day
The number to each answer is added up and totaled as the PHQ-9 score. The higher the score, the more likely depression is present — including a measurement of severity.
After the score, there is a 10th question asking how difficult these have made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home, or get along with other people.
Here is an example of the PHQ-9 below:
Get Help with Depression Today
If you have been dealing with depression for quite some time and previous treatments have been unsuccessful, don’t keep living needlessly with the pain, frustration, and helplessness that treatment-resistant depression brings into so many lives. Contact Millennium today for a full evaluation with one of our clinical providers.