Magnetic technology used to treat severe depression
A noninvasive technology is changing the lives of many suffering from severe depression.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved therapy that has been around for years, but doctors say only 10 percent of the population know about it.
Phillip Dailey started using the treatment about two years ago. Dailey said he’s been suffering from depression for a long time, stemming from an abusive childhood to joining the military.
“It’s like walking around with 50 to 75 pounds on your back at all times, and you can’t get rid of it,” said Dailey. “It became self-loathing, loathing. And I took a turn inward.”
Dailey’s life quickly went downhill; he lost his marriage and several jobs. For 20 years, Dailey tried different medications and therapies, but nothing seemed to work. Dailey discovered TMS and started getting treatment at Sonder in Minnetonka.
“The real key is using magnetic to target certain parts of the brain that we know are involved in depression,” said Dr. John Luehr of Sonder.
Luehr explained that specific areas in the brain control your mood; when the nerves in those areas are underactive, connections are broken and can result in depression. TMS helps wake those dormant nerves.
“Drive in, drive out, no anesthesia, no side effects, and so that’s appealing, but it is 36 treatments,” said Luehr. He added that headaches can be a side effect; however, it’s rare.
During the treatment, patients can expect some tapping, tingling, or warming sensation where the coil is positioned. This is usually temporary and subsides with subsequent treatments.
Sonder is the largest TMS treatment facility, and the treatment is approved by Medicare and virtually all commercial insurance.
According to NeuroStar, a study reported 83% of patients that completed their treatment cycle saw measurable improvements in their depression symptoms. The same study said 62% of patients likely wouldn’t be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.
Dailey said his life has changed since using TMS, noting that sleep has improved significantly, and he is now back in the workforce as a teacher.
“You’ve got to get up every morning, fighting for your recovery because nobody else is going to fight for you,” said Dailey.