Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: How It Can Help You

Marked by long periods of unexplained sadness, a lack of interest in people and activities you once enjoyed, and in some cases, even pain, depression is one of the most prevalent mental health issues in America. It shows up as chronic fatigue, irritability, lack of appetite, decreased interest in sex, excess sleeping, inability to concentrate and make decisions, and even thoughts of harming yourself or others. 

Depression affects more than 17 million people, including men, women, and adolescents. If you’re one of them, Dr. Ronald Winfield and our team at Great Lowell Psychiatric Associates can help you navigate the complex journey of depression. Whether depression runs in your family or stems from trauma, abuse, or substances, we understand the pain and frustration of living with this condition and that your story and symptoms are unique. 

If you’ve been through the traditional treatments of medications, psychotherapy, group therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy with no significant improvement, transcranial magnetic stimulation might be the answer you’ve been searching for.

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)?

While the long, technical term “transcranial magnetic stimulation” may seem a little intimidating, once you break it down, it’s a lot less daunting. Transcranial simply means passing through the skull. Magnetic stimulation means that the procedure uses a magnetic field to create activity. The good news is that this all happens from the outside in, so there’s no invasive surgical procedure needed. 

How TMS is performed

While you’re seated comfortably in a chair, Dr. Winfield places a protective cap on your head that looks like a swimmer’s cap. He then positions the magnetic coil, which is housed in a curved paddle, over the region of your head that needs treatment.

This FDA-approved device causes no pain and no pressure. It’s connected to a computer that specifies the exact amount of magnetic energy to use for your unique case and is programmed to continue your treatment during your next session.

The procedure takes only about half an hour.

What TMS does to your brain

There are many different types of depression, as well as different causes. It can stem from trauma, environmental factors, genetics, hormonal imbalances, substance abuse, medical conditions, or any combination of those issues. In all cases, the region of your brain responsible for your moods is affected. 

When talk therapy and medications don’t help, TMS may. It works by sending magnetic impulses through your skull and into the area of your brain that regulates mood and depression. If that region has become stuck in a mode of inactivity, this treatment can stimulate activity and reinstate your natural responses. Over time and with repeated sessions, many patients have significantly decreased symptoms of depression, and some alleviate them altogether.

If you suffer from depression and have yet to find an effective solution, call us to schedule a consultation or request a TMS appointment online today. 

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