Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a serious mental illness that has a negative impact on your thoughts, actions, and feelings. Although it’s characterized by intense sadness, it’s much more than the sadness we feel when we lose a loved one or lose a job.
Believe it or not, depression affects over 7% of the adult population (over 17 million people) in the United States every year and is more prevalent in women than men. Not only that, but nearly two million children aged 3-17 years old have been diagnosed with depression.
Although depression can take the quality out of one’s life, it’s highly treatable and there are a ton of different treatment options available. Medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes are three of the most popular treatments, but there’s one that’s starting to gain attention – deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation, also known as Deep TMS, is a non-invasive treatment for depression that’s generally reserved for patients with treatment-resistant depression. When more traditional treatments aren’t working, deep repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation can help relieve the symptoms.
During a deep TMS session, the patient wears a unique helmet equipped with an H-coil that sends painless magnetic pulses deep inside the brain. These electromagnetic pulses change the way neurons work and stimulate nerve cells in areas of the brain that regulate mood.
The helmet is designed to be comfortable for the patient to wear and is configured in a way that allows the patient to sit up while receiving treatment. This means you’re allowed to read a book or watch TV until treatment is over. Older TMS methods required the patient to lay down.
Deep TMS is a common treatment option for depression patients, especially those that aren’t receiving desirable results with more traditional treatment options. Since many depression patients have abnormalities and inconsistencies in the brain, Deep TMS can help correct them.
The magnetic pulses target the left side of the brain – more specifically the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Left-DLPFC). Since depression patients frequently experience a lack of activity in this area of the brain, Deep TMS can help stimulate nerve cells in the Left-DLPFC.
One of the main reasons Deep TMS has risen in popularity over the past decade is because it’s a non-invasive treatment option that’s rarely accompanied by side effects. Considering the side effects associated with other treatment options, Deep TMS holds a unique advantage.
As the technology surrounding deep brain stimulation improves and we learn more about how the brain works (and doesn’t work), we’re starting to understand just how beneficial this treatment can be – not just for depression patients, but for other medical conditions, illnesses, and disorders.
For example, Deep TMS can also help treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), nicotine addiction, and anxiety. It’s also effective for some off-label conditions such as fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), migraines, insomnia, substance abuse, and much more.
The idea for transcranial magnetic stimulation has been around for over 140 years, but the first modern TMS device wasn’t introduced until 1985. Since then the technology has improved greatly and it was eventually approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008.
Five years after its approval, BrainsWay introduced their new, state-of-the-art Deep TMS device that utilized a patented H-coil – a new type of coil that sends pulses deeper into the brain and dissipates more slowly. This makes the procedure much more safe and effective than before.
Not only that, but BrainsWay is the company that introduced the ability to sit up while receiving treatment. Their design for the device and helmet helps revolutionize the way patients receive the treatment and enhances the overall experience for the patient – which is very important.
Although the procedure sounds complex and scary, Deep TMS is generally regarded as safe and well-tolerated among major depression patients. It doesn’t cause seizures, won’t require any anesthesia, and won’t require surgery to implant electrodes – such as vagus nerve stimulation.
With that said, some patients might experience headaches, scalp discomfort, tingling or spasms in facial muscles, and lightheadedness. These side effects might arise once treatment is over, but they don’t last long and usually decrease as you complete more sessions in the future.
The good news is your doctor can adjust the intensity to reduce and avoid symptoms from arising in the first place. More research is needed to confirm since it’s still a relatively new treatment option, but there doesn’t seem to be any long-term side effects of Deep TMS.
One of the first questions we get asked when someone shows interest in the Deep TMS procedure is, “How much does Deep TMS cost?” While it’s not necessarily cheap, it’s not as expensive as some other options and is preferred in some cases due to the lack of side effects.
At Colorado Recovery Solutions, your initial treatment costs no more than $415 and each follow-up session costs $275. We accept Cigna, Medicare, and Tricare insurances. Each session only takes 20 minutes and you’ll generally have five sessions per week for 4-6 weeks.
Deep TMS is still a relatively new treatment option for anyone living with depression and most people are still unaware it exists. It comes with a wide range of benefits compared to other treatment options for major depression patients and is known for resulting in limited side effects.
If you’d like to learn more about Deep TMS and what to expect during treatment at Colorado Recovery Solutions, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We understand how beneficial this treatment option can be for depression symptoms and we’d be honored to teach you more!
Contact us today with any questions you might have or schedule an appointment with Dr. Ashley Johnson. We can’t wait to meet you and help you improve your mental health for a brighter future!