New Magnetic Stimulation Treatment May Help Curb Depression

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(MADISON, AL) - Amanda Moore has suffered from depression for most of her life. She’d tried more than half a dozen anti-depressant medications, but nothing eased her symptoms. She describes the same symptoms millions of Americans are dealing with every day: sadness, tearfulness, a heavy feeling, and not wanting to get out of bed.

Moore says, “If you can imagine the feeling of, ‘I’ve tried everything and nothing has worked. What is left for me to do? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?’”

This past year was a particularly rough year, with a number of unexpected deaths in her family. A therapist recommended a new treatment called TMS therapy, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

Charles Hayden, a psychiatrist at Asbury Child and Family Counseling Center in Madison describes TMS as, “using a very strong magnet to wake up the front part of the brain that is dysfunctional in patients that have depression.”

The pulsed magnetic field is similar to an MRI. The targeted electrical currents cause brain cells, called neurons, to become active, leading to the release of neurotransmitters. The increased brain activity is believed to relieve depression symptoms.

Patients and doctors say the results have been nothing short of miraculous.

According to Dr. Hayden, “We’re having more than half the patients going into remission, meaning they are all the way better. Close to 90% responding in some way, and these are patients who have been unresponsive to medications.”

That is significant considering about one in ten Americans over the age of 12 takes antidepressant medication, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. These medications don’t work for everyone and can have a variety of side effects.

With TMS therapy, Dr. Hayden says there are few side effects besides an occasional headache and a very rare chance of a seizure. There are fewer side effects than medications, since this is targeted and doesn’t go through your whole body.

Hayden says, “It’s been really exciting to see patients that this has made a huge difference in the quality of their life. They are now telling me they haven’t felt like this in 20 years.”

Studies show the results last. Patients who went into remission were still better a year later.

The FDA approved TMS therapy about five years ago for patients who had not responded to anti-depressants first. Each treatment lasts a little under 40 minutes and can be done on a lunch hour.

Moore started her first treatment in April. She felt better after just five treatments.

Moore says, “There’s a huge difference between getting up every day and going through the motions versus getting up and actually living and experiencing life.”

After 30 treatments, she’s off all medications and feeling better than ever.

There are only three places in north Alabama offering TMS therapy. They're in Madison, Decatur, and Florence. There are just under 500 offices offering TMS across the country. Nationally, 30 treatments will cost you 9 to 12 thousand dollars, although many insurance companies are now covering this treatment.


  • eddie braxton johhnson

    The only proven way of ‘treating’ depression is to do what you love! if it gets boring, change hobbies!…medication just worsens everything! it messes up brain chemistry and well, the big fall starts there…

  • Anita Robertson

    My son (age 30) has suffered from depression and anxiety for years. Several doctors and psychiatrists tried many different anti-depressants, to no avail. One kept singing the praises of TMS, and showed him a video from Dr. Oz’s show. He finally talked my son into the treatment, telling him that he (the psychiatrist) would hound Blue Cross until they covered the procedure. He couldn’t afford the $12,000, so I told him that I (old and on Social Security) would pay for it, because a mother always hopes for miracles. It had no effect on my son at all. He was even more depressed because this was a ‘last ditch effort’. The insurance never paid, and the psychiatrist left town (Nashville).

    Please tell people that this is not a cure for everyone. And it leaves a big $12,000 hole in one’s bank account.

  • eddie braxton johhnson

    sorry about your son. Looks like he’s had a awefully difficult life, unpleasant memories and what not. I’m not a doc but the best aphrodisiac for depression, in my view, is to find and do things that you love, whatever they are.For starters, a JOB that he likes would do him well. anytime u do things that you like and derive pleasure from makes the brain release the so-called feel good factors in the body called endorpins!!!!. it also pushes the brain to release more dopamine and therefore one is less likely to be depressed!! ..

    ps. hope u don’t confuse down times or just having a bad day with ‘depression’..

    God bless

  • Wake Up

    Snake-oil salesmen have always found plenty of customers in the South! There should be laws to protect consumers, but in today;s anti-government, pro deregulation, political climate — that is unlikely!

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