by Annette Pinder
Depression is a devastating brain illness that affects millions of Americans, their families, and even their employers. People with depression may exhibit such symptoms as problems with sleep, appetite, level of energy, and concentration. They may show a lack of motivation, unusual feelings of guilt, and experience sadness or irritability. This is now well understood to be a problem in how the brain is functioning. Despite this, many people still don’t seek treatment largely because of feelings of shame. Unlike strokes or seizures where the signs of brain dysfunction become clearly visible to us, depression is not so obvious. Perhaps this is why people think differently about depression and sometimes attach a stigma to the diagnosis.
Recently, a new treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was approved by the FDA for people who do not respond to treatment with an antidepressant. TMS makes use of magnetic pulses to stimulate the brain in a specific area known to be involved with depression. This treatment occurs while the individual is fully conscious right in the comfort of the doctor’s office. It is very well tolerated and produces little or no side effects at all.
The Dent Neurologic Institute’s Division of Neuropsychiatry under the direction of Dr. Horacio Capote is the sole provider of this modality in Western New York. Currently, there are approximately 200 providers across the country. Dr. Capote reports that these first 14 months of providing this treatment have been quite gratifying. “It’s been very satisfying to be able to offer such an effective treatment to people who had almost given up hope. I look forward to helping many more as word of this technology spreads.”
Read more about this treatment that has been proven to be helpful for those who are unable to respond successfully to traditional antidepressants.