Alternative therapy for depression

September is Suicide Prevention Month in South Dakota – a topic that goes hand in hand with the treatment of depression. The Manlove Psychiatric Group in Rapid City is staying on the cutting edge of treatment options by using a form of neuro stimulation.

Dr. Stephen Manlove has one of two practices in South Dakota that is using transcranial magnetic stimulation – also known as TMS.

It’s a non-invasive procedure in which a changing magnetic field is used to cause electric current to flow in a small targeted region of the brain. During a TMS procedure, a magnetic field generator, or "coil," is placed on the scalp. The coil is connected to a pulse generator, or stimulator that delivers a changing electric current to the coil, which may activate regions of the brain that have decreased activity in people with depression.

The clinic began treating patients with TMS in 2015 and have had a total of 80 patients undergo the therapy. It’s an option for patients who have not responded to traditional treatments of depression like talk therapy or medications, which can have many side effects.

Manlove says, “it’s new and it’s different. The medical community is used to using medications to treat psychiatric illness – this is a different paradigm for treatment. And, I, myself – and still do – use medications to treat psychiatric illness. I’m not against that by any stretch of the imagination. But there are other ways of doing that that can be very helpful, that we need to open our minds to TMS is one of them.”

Research shows that depression is related to abnormal neuron activity in the brain. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from depression each year. And while antidepressant medications work for most patients, 30% of sufferers have treatment resistant depression – so TMS is a viable option.

In their local study, 72 percent improved more than 50 percent which is considered excellent improvement in most studies of antidepressants. Most patients were able to resume their normal life activities.

“If you are one of the ones that had a good response, of course you are ecstatic, because you have tried more than four medications. Factor in, an average person has tried at least eight different antidepressant medications, and they have been depressed for over 10 years. And people have come in who essentially could not function; they can’t even get out of the house or out of bed sometimes. On the other hand, we do have people who function very well too but who are depressed. We’ve had several people who were not able to work at all, who when they finished this, have been able to go back to work and function completely normally. You see people begin to enjoy life again.”

For more information on TMS, click here.

For more Wellness Wednesday stories like this one, click here

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