Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health issues globally, with almost 30% of adults struggling with this disorder in the U.S. alone. More and more people get diagnosed with depression and seek treatment to manage negative symptoms such as continual sadness, sleep disturbances, poor focus, fatigue, changes in appetite, and persistent feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
The most common, traditional psychopharmacological approach offers treatment in the form of talk therapy and antidepressants. While effective for many, one-third of patients feel no relief, only the adverse side effects from medication. If traditional treatment has failed to improve your condition and your symptoms have only gotten worse throughout at least six weeks, chances are you might be facing a specific kind of issue: Treatment-Resistant Depression.
While it can make you feel incredibly overwhelmed and powerless, there’s an alternative way to get better. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive technique used to treat many health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, migraines, and, most commonly, depression. TMS is a perfect solution for those who don’t respond positively to traditional treatment, with a relief rate ranging from 40-65%, allowing patients to get better and regain control of their lives, creating a paradigm shift in how you can combat your depression. Keep on reading to learn more on this topic.
Treating Depression with Antidepressants
Depression is a mood disorder that, when ignored, doesn’t disappear. It can continue and further develop for weeks, months, and even years. When reaching out for professional help, patients are most commonly advised to start psychotherapy and prescribed antidepressant medication, such as:
SSRIs: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
It’s the most popular type of antidepressant prescribed to people who struggle with depression. It stops your brain cells from absorbing serotonin too quickly. As a result, this “feel-good” hormone can last longer, increasing your happiness levels and improving your mood.
While quite effective, SSRIs are known to have some adverse side effects, most commonly:
- sexual dysfunction,
- sleep issues and insomnia,
- headaches and muscle pains,
- weight gain,
- skin rashes.
Usually, these side effects are supposed to ease off within the first few weeks, yet many people stop the treatment altogether as the discomfort caused by SSRIs outweighs its benefits.
SNRIs: Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
This medication can boost your mood and bring relief by slowing down your brain’s absorption of two neurochemicals: serotonin and norepinephrine, making them last longer and balancing your mood, memory, and sleep-wake cycle.
Side effects of SNRIs are less significant but still can cause issues like:
- low sex drive,
- weight gain,
- dry mouth,
TCAs: Tricyclic Antidepressants
TCAs are less common than SSRIs and SNRIs and are usually prescribed in more severe cases of depression. They also slow down how quickly your brain soaks up norepinephrine, resulting in a more relaxed, balanced state and improved mood.
However, side effects of TCAs, compared to other antidepressants, can be quite harsh, causing problems like:
- change in sex drive,
- blurred vision,
- memory issues,
Combatting Depression with the TMS Treatment
If you tried different antidepressants, and they not only failed to improve your mental health but caused adverse side effects, consider starting TMS treatment for depression. It’s non-invasive, safe, effective, and has minimal side effects! So how does it work?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is an FDA-approved treatment for depression and TRD since 2008. It targets the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – the area of your brain responsible for regulating emotions and cognitive control, whose functioning is reduced in depression. It involves a series of repetitive, brief, and highly focused magnetic pulses to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, stimulating the brain cells and neurons in those areas. Each session is around 20 minutes long, and the entire treatment consists of 36 sessions, starting with daily treatments 5 days a week (from Monday to Friday) for 6 weeks, followed by a taper of 3x/week, 2x/week, and 1x/week. TMS is an effective solution for people with Treatment-Resistant Depression, helping 40-65% of patients lessen the symptoms and achieve remission.
The best part is that TMS therapy causes zero or minimal side effects that usually pass after each session’s end, not resulting in any long-lasting adverse side effects in patients! During sessions, you might experience:
- scalp discomfort.
It’s an outpatient treatment, meaning there’s no anesthesia required, you’re awake during each session, and afterward, you can resume your daily activities, like driving a car.
If antidepressants have failed to help you and side effects are intolerable, don’t wait for your depression to disappear.
Contact us to start your TMS treatment and take charge of your mental health.