My Experience With TMS and How It Works
My Journey to Finding Effective Treatment for Depression
After struggling to find effective treatment for my depression following my previous psychiatrist’s retirement, I moved around and tried multiple psychiatrists in various locations. I tried antidepressants but they had little effect. Eventually, I stumbled upon Dr. Lee and his practice in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Dr. Lee quickly diagnosed me and suggested I try a relatively unknown treatment called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). This non-invasive treatment involves using an electromagnetic coil on a patient’s scalp to deliver a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of the brain involved in mood control and depression.
How rTMS Works and Its Effectiveness
Although the treatment sounds scary, it is completely safe and non-threatening. It involves waking up neurons in the part of the brain that has decreased activity in depression, which then allows the production of happy chemicals. rTMS is completely different from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which uses electrical current to treat depression.
While rTMS is currently only covered by insurance for major depressive disorder (MDD), studies are being done on other conditions where rTMS can be helpful, such as complicated pain issues and autism in children. However, it can be an expensive treatment, costing around $100 to $150 per session even with insurance. It involves a five-day-a-week, six-week commitment, which can make it unaffordable for some.
My Experience with rTMS
I was nervous about trying rTMS, but I decided to give it a chance after my insurance coverage had met my out-of-pocket expenses. During my time with Dr. Lee, I met some incredible people. While the treatment did not provide immediate results, I started to feel better after about three weeks. I noticed that I could handle things better and was less irritable.
Eventually, Dr. Lee re-diagnosed me as having bipolar I, which meant that I no longer qualified for rTMS. However, the treatment had a significant impact on my life. I now have a much better understanding of my condition and the kind of treatment that works for me.
In conclusion, rTMS can be a beneficial treatment for those who struggle with depression. However, it can be expensive and time-consuming. Patients should consider their insurance coverage and overall commitment to the treatment before deciding to undergo rTMS. As with any treatment, patients should consult with their healthcare provider before making any decisions