From the Desk of Dr. Kent

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Why am I Depressed?

Although this is a straightforward question, the answer is less so. There are many factors which cause someone to become depressed. There are situational and biological explanations. With the advances in science we now know that neurochemistry places an important role. For this reason many people will ask “how do I increase Serotonin.” With high rates of depression in the general population people are reaching out for a cure to depression.

Treatment for Depression

Treating depression with anti-depressants has become the norm. While anti depressants have been found to be helpful for some, it falls short of effectively treating at least a third of all patients with depression. One is left to wonder why this is? This has lead science to explore alternative treatments for depression. Is there a way to stimulate the brain to create an antidepressant effect? Something like a cranial electrotherapy stimulation type treatment. In 1985, Dr. Anthony Barker, PhD in London happened on to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS. It just so happens that Dr. Mark George, MD was doing a fellowship in London in the same building and wondered if it could help depression. In 1993, Dr. George published the first double blind, placebo controlled trial showing that TMS was effective at treating depression. An explosion in research followed. TMS is now recognized as an established, safe and effective treatment for depression. TMS represents an alternative treatment to depression as opposed to medications and psychotherapy. TMS is not electroshock therapy or ECT. The mechanism of action and the application of treatments is entirely different. See my TMS vs ECT blog on this website for more details. TMS has evolved to include various technologies and manufacturers. Brainsway has developed the first patented novel device that treats not only depression, but OCD and potentially many other brain disorders such as PTSD, addictions, Parkinson’s disease and many others. They have developed what they call “deep TMS.” Brainsway pricing model allows for the cost of TMS to be highly competitive.

In my experience, Brainsway has been highly successful at treating patients with poor response to medications and psychotherapy (1/3 of all depressions). In my clinic 90% of patients with depression respond favorably and 2 out of 3 go into complete remission. This is astounding.

Why Does Deep TMS Work?

So why does TMS work where antidepressants don’t? The answer lies in the mechanism of action. TMS works on particular networks in the brain as opposed to broadly hitting neuroreceptors throughout the body. TMS uses a scalpel, not a shotgun. With Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, neurons are activated in key circuits in the brain, effectively waking up those areas that were more dormant in depression. The exciting part is that TMS may create more lasting effects even when treatment has stopped. Some patients can become medication free.

As a clinician it’s exciting to be able to embrace an alternative, safe and effective treatment for depression. TMS has revolutionized our understanding and treatment of not only depression but many other brain disorders as well (See “Why Brainsway Deep TMS”).

Posted by David Kent at 2/12/2018 3:22:00 PM
 
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