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The Importance of Treating Depression

And How TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Can Help

Depression can affect many different aspects of one’s health and quality of life, so it is important to learn why treating depression is important, what your treatment options are, and which of these treatments may be best for you.  Symptoms of depression can include: feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities, appetite or weight changes, sleep changes, anger or irritability, loss of energy, self-loathing, reckless behavior, concentration problems, and unexplained aches and pains.

If left untreated - or ineffectively treated - depression can be a devastating illness resulting in loss of quality of life, long-term unemployment, and additional chronic health problems.  According to the World Health Organization, depression is the world’s leading cause of disability and the world’s fourth leading cause of global disease burden.  By 2020, it is projected that depression will become the world’s second leading cause of global disease burden.

The earlier a person finds an effective treatment for their depression, the more likely they will remain healthy in the long term. Therefore, correctly diagnosing and treating depression is imperative for a quick recovery and long-term remission. When depression is not effectively treated, the neural networks of the brain continue to weaken, symptoms may become more pronounced, negative thinking patterns may develop, unhealthy behaviors or routines may develop, and co-occurring medical conditions such as cardiac disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes may worsen or become more difficult to treat. In fact, higher rates of hospitalization and mortality are observed in patients diagnosed with both depression and co-morbid medical conditions.

In general, treatments for depression include medications (called antidepressants) or talk therapy (called psychotherapy). If you have mild depression, you may only need one of these treatments. People with more severe depression usually need a combination of both treatments. If you are suicidal or extremely depressed and cannot function you may need to be treated in a psychiatric hospital.

Another treatment option for people with depression is called TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Therapy. TMS Therapy is an FDA-cleared non-invasive medical treatment for patients with depression who have not benefitted from initial antidepressant medication. TMS Therapy uses highly focused magnetic pulses to stimulate the areas of the brain thought to control mood. This specific area of the brain, called the left prefrontal cortex, has been identified as underactive in people who suffer from depression.

TMS Therapy causes neurons to become active, leading to the release of neurotransmitters, and relieving the symptoms of depression. Each TMS treatment involves gentle placement of a magnetic coil, similar in type and strength to those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, against the patient’s head. Treatment takes less than an hour and is conducted in a psychiatrist’s office, five days a week, for approximately six weeks. TMS Therapy has been proven safe and effective for treating patients with depression. TMS is free of side effects typically experienced with antidepressant medications. Patients are awake and alert during treatment and are able to resume normal activities upon leaving the treatment session.

If you believe TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) can help you or a loved one, please call TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley at 610-820-0700 or visit the website at www.tmslv.com. We can help you enjoy life again!

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