Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) uses magnets to stimulate targeted areas of the brain responsible for regulating emotions. It is a painless, non-invasive procedure for those with treatment-resistant depression, and is virtually free of side effects.
When someone has been treated for depression, but their symptoms don’t improve, they may have treatment-resistant depression. Taking antidepressants or going to psychological counseling eases symptoms for many people, but for some, standard treatments may not help at all or only improve symptoms temporarily.
This can be debilitating for those living with depression. Not only are their symptoms ongoing, interfering with work and family life, but they lose hope that a solution is out there to manage their illness. Fortunately, thanks to generous donor support, rTMS is now available for them.
Prior to rTMS, the only option for individuals with treatment-resistant depression was Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), which sends small electric currents through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure while the patient is under general anesthetic. ECT and rTMS can cause changes in brain chemistry to quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental health conditions with the same effectiveness; however, rTMS doesn’t require anesthetic or the creation of seizures, and has fewer side effects.
Brain stimulation, while proven to be effective for many individuals, is not a cure-all for depression, nor a treatment option for everyone. If you believe you or a loved one would benefit, please discuss this with your physician or psychiatrist, who can make recommendations based on your illness and medical history.