Depression and Anxiety: How TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Can Help

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Have you ever wondered if you suffer from anxiety or depression?  Would it surprise you to learn that you could be suffering from both?  While depression and anxiety might seem like opposites, they do in fact; affect many people at the same time.  Depression can drain you of energy and anxiety can make you keyed up and afraid.  Depression makes it next to impossible to get out of bed and anxiety leaves you sleepless and pacing.   But the truth is not so simple!  Depression and anxiety often go together.  Mental health experts estimate that more than half the people diagnosed with depression also have anxiety.  Unfortunately, the combination of depression and anxiety can be particularly severe, and many people don’t get the correct diagnosis.  The good news is that doctors have good treatments for tackling both conditions.  And at the top of this list is the new cutting edge treatment called TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) Therapy.

Technician setting up patient for treatment.

Technician setting up patient for treatment.

Either condition can be disabling on its own but together, depression and anxiety can be especially hard to live with, hard to diagnose, and hard to treat.  People diagnosed with both depression and anxiety tend to have more severe symptoms, more functional impairment, more trouble finding the right treatment, and a higher risk of suicide.

The Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

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.

Symptoms of anxiety can include: feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness, restlessness, sleep disturbance, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, palpitations, shortness of breath, obsessive behaviors, nausea, dry mouth, and dizziness.

How TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) Therapy Can Help

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 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 left side of the patient’s head.  Treatment takes less than an hour and is conducted in your doctor’s office, five days a week, for approximately four to six weeks.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.

Patients suffering from depression that also have anxiety components can receive a large reduction in anxiety levels, simply as a result of the treatment protocol used in the treatment of depression.  However, in some cases, therapeutic benefit is not fully achieved from the depression treatment protocol alone.  Supplementary right-sided treatment for anxiety can be provided.

Please contact TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley, at 610-820-0700, if you or a loved one suffers from depression and/or anxiety.  We will provide a full psychiatric evaluation and screening.  We can help!!