Rapid treatment for depression

Health Watch

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and unfortunately treatments for depression don’t always work. In fact, two-thirds of people with depression are not helped by the first antidepressant that they try and up to a third of people don’t respond to several attempts at treatment. But a particular type of therapy aimed at treatment-resistant depression is seeking to make a difference. Ivanhoe has the details.

This is what 80-year-old John Herbert does to treat his depression. After 33 years as an airline pilot, a plane crash turned John’s world upside-down.

“I lost 54 friends in an aviation accident. Basically, flew right over that night when I was on my way to Lisbon and the memory just burned in my brain,” shared Herbert.

He’s been on antidepressants for almost 20 years since the crash, but they weren’t working as well as he hoped.

Jay Bolaram, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist, explained, “Patients who have been through a combination of antidepressants have failed to the treatment response, TMS comes in.”

TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. The therapy is a magnetic impulse which delivers guided stimulation to the brain to treat depression. Traditional TMS treatment sessions average 37 minutes, but a recent FDA cleared device delivers rapid TMS treatment in only three minutes for four to six weeks.

“In this aspect, they found the same effectiveness of the 35 minutes to a three-minute treatment,” continued Dr. Bolaram.

Clinical trials have shown 50 percent of patients with treatment-resistant depression reached 50 percent reduction in symptoms and a third of patients achieved complete remission. Before doing the rapid TMS treatments, Herbert had a hard time getting out to do the things he loves.

“I was at the point where I’d try anything,” said Herbert.

After the rapid TMS treatment, he’s out of the house and back into the swing of things.

Dr. Bolaram says the only side effect of rapid TMS is a mild headache, which can be treated with Tylenol. TMS is not suitable for patients with epilepsy, a history of seizures, or those with any type of metal fragments in their head.

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