Millions of people worldwide suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and the unpleasant side effects of conventional antidepressant medications make the experience even more excruciating. Some of the most common adverse effects of these medications include irritability, sleep disturbance, nausea, fatigue, constipation, and sexual dysfunction. Even though these drugs come in strict and high dosages, they fail to relieve depression symptoms in more than half of the patients.
Fortunately, with the invention of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, people suffering from the disorder can have better options for treatment. More and more people are switching to TMS therapy as their main treatment to fight MDD.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of TMS in 2008 as an alternative treatment option for MDD. This state of the art depression treatment consistently shows excellent results in treating depressive disorders even for severe cases.
TMS is a type of brain stimulation therapy using electromagnetic wave pulses which targets specific brain region (left prefrontal cortex) associated with depressive disorder. The technique stimulates underactive neurons while suppressing the overactive regions, thus rebalances the brain chemistry. As a result, it regulates mood that helps improve sleep quality and behavior with minimal side effects.
Once the patient undergoes TMS treatment, sessions will usually last for about four to six weeks in a series of five sessions per week. Each treatment session usually last for about 40 minutes and the patient is kept fully awake and alert in a very comfortable setup. Healthcare professional place a coil on top of the patient’s head near the forehead as the electromagnetic pulses targets the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The painless yet effective magnetic waves travel into the brain with a standard depth of 2.5 centimeters. Usually, patients feel nothing during the TMS session, but there are some cases patients can feel a slight tapping on the scalp.
Since TMS does not involve any medications or surgeries, patients can watch TV or listen to music during the treatment sessions. Patients can immediately resume their daily activity following the treatment session.
Side Effects of TMS
This advanced technology targets a specific area of the brain for optimal results without increasing risks. As a non-invasive and non-systemic treatment method, TMS does not have any adverse effects and side effects are minimal. Many clinical studies supported this notion; TMS side effect is all well tolerated with only a few minimal side effects that tend to dissipate and transient as the session continues.
Some of the known side effects of TMS include:
- Discomfort where the magnet was placed – some patients reported having scalp irritation with mild to a moderate intensity where the coil was placed during the TMS treatment
- Dizziness – during the first few treatment session, patients may feel dizziness but reported to subsides as soon as the session ends.
- Lightheadedness – In rare occasions, patients may feel lightheadedness along with a dizziness and mild headache but soon dissipates after the first few sessions.
- Mild to a moderate headache – perhaps the most common side effects of TMS, but just like the other side effects, patients reported having improved after TMS treatment.
- Slight tingling sensation – few patients reported feeling slight tingling sensation in the head near where the coil was placed. But this gradually subsides after the first to two weeks of sessions.
Risks of TMS
As great as the TMS treatment for patients suffering from MDD especially to those who failed several times in the conventional treatment method, TMS isn’t for everyone.
There are some contradictions in using TMS. The machine uses electromagnetic waves similar to what an MRI produce and there are certain limitations. Patients with ferromagnetic, conductive, and other magnetic sensitive implants in their heads and other non-removable metallic implants cannot undergo TMS treatment. As well as patients with pacemakers, implanted electrodes/stimulators, bullet fragments, aneurysm clips or coils, and cochlear implants can have serious injury or death if they undergo treatment.
It is important to have a thorough medical assessment and other appropriate cautionary measures should be taken before considering TMS treatment. Some patients may have increased risk of seizure based on medical or genetic history. Patients should always follow strict guidelines and medical advice during the entire treatment sessions. Taking any medications should be first consulted with the health care provider as some can cause tinnitus and may increase the risk of seizure. Up to now, there are no reported incidences of TMS causing tumors or any type of cancer. It does not interfere with memory or concentration.
Depression is lethal disease, depriving a person to fully experience the joy of living. Even with antidepressant medications and psychotherapy, many people still live in the shadows of deep despair. Undergoing TMS therapy can bring back the joy of living and having those missed opportunities of precious moments with loved ones back.
For a consultation or to set up an appointment for TMS therapy in near Palm Beach Gardens, contact us right away.
Many experts now consider depression as a major health issue. It affects more than 14 million American adults every year. Medical experts believed that it will be the second leading cause of disability in the world by 2020. About two-thirds who suffered an episode will at least have another episode during their lifetime. Depression is an incapacitating illness and treatments methods are often ineffective or intolerable because of its adverse side effects.
Current antidepressant medications and therapies failed to at least a third of people suffering from depressive disorders leaving them with inadequate treatment options.
TMS as an Alternative Depression Treatment
TMS therapy is a relatively new non-invasive procedure that delivers highly focused magnetic pulses to a specific brain region called the left prefrontal cortex. It stimulates the inactive areas of the brain associated with depression. These electromagnetic pulses are similar to the magnetic field of an MRI procedure. The rapid bursts of magnetic energy passed through a coil and directly to the brain excite neurons which rewire the brain to improve mood behaviors.
As a non-invasive procedure, TMS does not involve any major surgeries, insertion of intravenous lines or any kind of medications that may harm the body. There is no sedation or anesthesia involved during TMS session treatment.
An Effective Treatment
Over recent years, experts have discovered newer treatment parameters and more precise targeting locations for TMS. Several studies show that TMS can be an effective treatment not only during the course of 4 to 8 weeks sessions but also having these improvements persist beyond that time.
How TMS Works
TMS uses a computer program connected to a small electromagnetic coil which delivers short but rapid bursts of magnetic pulses directly on the left prefrontal cortex of the brain. However powerful these electromagnetic pulses, it does not affect the entire brain. The electromagnetic pulses of TMS can reach about 2 to 3 centimeters into the brain right underneath the treatment coil.
This treatment coil is placed on top of the patient’s head that believed to be linked with mood regulation.
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As electromagnetic pulses reach deeper into the brain, they produce tiny small electrical currents. These electromagnetic currents activate neuron within the brain which believed to release important neurotransmitters.
In October 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of TMS treatment for the major depressive disorder. This revolutionary treatment option received approval for its safe and effective therapy, particularly for treatment-resistant patients.
One of the studies about TMS shows that the procedure was a significant alternative method to preclude impending relapse in 32 of 38 patients or about 84%. This strongly suggests that the efficacy of TMS is seen in the majority of acute treatment-resistant patients. The reintroduction of TMS later in the medical management of depression can safely and effectively prevent relapse.
No Major Side Effects
TMS does not have any major side effects unlike its counterparts of conventional depression treatments. This new innovation does not produce common side effects like memory loss, sleepiness, sexual problems, or weight gain. It serves as an ideal major depression treatment because it does not elicit side effects of conventional medications like drug abuse.
As a non-systemic procedure, it does not require any sedation or implantation of other depression treatments like those of deep brain stimulation.
Today, TMS is widely acclaimed for its treatment of major depressive disorder but other studies are underway to prove its efficacy to other mental disorders. Different types of research are being conducted each year to explore possibilities of TMS as a treatment for a wide range of different brain disorders like Generalized Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Cognitive Impairments, and Tinnitus.
A lot of people walk through life battling depression on their own. Some people can hide their depression concealing behind their “happy face” facade, which only makes symptoms worse. People with hidden depression don’t want to admit the severity of their state of mind. They believe their depressive feelings will just go away on their own. In rare cases, it might work. But for most people, depression will drag them deeper into a realm of sadness and loneliness.
Depression often goes undiagnosed, unrecognized, and unseen. According to a study, at least 1 out of 20 Americans suffers from depressive symptoms with the highest rate of incidence being in people from 40 to 59 years of age.
Society often prevents us from talking more about our true feelings. Many of us were brought up not to talk about our emotions, and sometimes it is considered taboo to even mention ongoing, uncontrolled depression. People suffering from hidden depression are expected to deal with their state of mind in a way that it doesn’t make them visible. It just takes a closer look or few minutes of observation to actually see what these people are trying to hide. If you or a loved one has these signs, you should seek depression treatment through TMS or some other means as soon as you can.
Signs of Hidden Depression
Hiding Behind a Smile
People dealing with depression force a happy face and always make excuses when someone noticed their change of behavior. It is important to know that the mental disorder is more than just a mood or phase. Sometimes they appear seemingly happy around their loved ones. It is like a mask that they wear from time to time, but it will eventually slip. Even for a brief moment, you can notice their loneliness when the conversation suddenly stops, or when they are being too honest. If it did, they will always find a quick excuse and readily available stories behind it. They always make excuses not to hang out, go out for a quick lunch or even spend some time.
Unusual Eating and Sleeping Habits
Sleeping pattern is a good indication of both good physical and mental health. When a person changed the way they sleep, most of the time it’s a sign that something is amiss. If a person sleeps for too long, or can’t sleep at all, it may be a sign of hidden depression.
Many turn to food or alcohol addiction to suppress their depressive feelings. Binge eating and/or overeating can make a depressed person feel full. They turn to food to feel good from inside and to feed their emotions. While alcohol can help them forget about their feelings of loneliness and sadness because of its intoxicating effect. In few cases, they may turn to abusing drugs, and the euphoric feeling it produces makes them feel happy. Sometimes they turn the other way – losing all interest in eating, drinking, and spending time with any family activities that they previously enjoyed.
Suicide Talk & Attempts and Joking About Death
A person who frequently mentions death or suicidal attempts is one of the most dangerous signs of severe depression. When someone suffers severely depressed suicidal thoughts and death become prominent. They lose interest in all facets of life, from eating, drinking, and getting out of bed seems a daunting task.
Concentration and Memory Problems
Depression affects an area of the brain associated with the cognitive function. Trouble concentrating, thinking and forgetfulness are symptoms of depression. People suffering from depression have these issues which can add up to their difficulties they need to face every day.
People hiding their depressive feelings feel emotions more intensely than most people. They are easily get carried away while watching a film or break out crying during a particularly sad scene. Others get angered easily about anything, a crying baby or when someone cuts their line in traffic. In keeping their depressive feelings in a box, other feelings leak out more easily. Increased irritability or anger all of the time is a red flag of hidden depression.
Quick to Physical Exhaustion or Pain
A study shows that 50% of people suffering from depression across the globe reported having unexplained physical pain like back pains, headaches, stomach pains, and neck pains. Depression can literally hurt without a valid medical condition. Also, they get more easily exhausted from the relatively simple task. A person with severe depression find it difficult to just get out of bed, they seem to lose interest in their surroundings. They also have trouble finding enough strength to participate in normal activities.
Because of people with depression lose their interest in life, they also become less optimistic. They find it hard to get motivated, psychologists called this phenomenon as “depressive realism”. In a study based on Moore & Fresco published in 2012, “Non-depressed people believed they performed better on laboratory tasks than they actually did, compared to people with depression”. As depressed seeps in, they are less positive about the things that can give them more.
Depression is a very serious matter, it is important to seek help at once to have a better chance of recovery. As bad as the situation may seem, depression is treatable with transcranial magnetic stimulation and therapies. If any of your loved ones are showing signs of hidden depression in North Beach, get them the help they deserve and contact us right if you have any questions.
What is TMS?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS is a non-invasive medical treatment that uses a magnetic field to stimulate nerve cells in the brain mainly for depression. However, recent studies show that TMS can cure a variety of mental disorders including addiction.
How does it work?
In this procedure, the electromagnetic coil is placed on the scalp of the patient near the forehead. The electromagnet delivers a magnetic pulse to stimulate nerve cells in the brain that involves regularization of the mood control and depression. TMS activates this region of the brain to reduce the activity associated with depression. It sends stimulation effects in the part of the brain linked with treating depression and mood improvement.
Treatment of depression is through repetitive magnetic pulse called r TMS or TMS. Depression is well treatable but a lot of people failed to achieve success using conventional medical treatments and therapies. TMS, on the other hand, is an effective alternative treatment for depression with fewer or no relapse at all. Unlike the other procedures including nerve stimulation or deep brain stimulation, TMS is a non-invasive and non-systemic treatment. As a non-systemic procedure, it does not cause any side effects of seizures or any sedation with anesthesia.
Patients with melancholic depression can also benefit from TMS. There are several studies suggesting on how to use TMS on specific disorders. Multicenter studies on efficacy for 6 weeks will test whether a longer period of stimulation is more effective in a controlled setting. While another research shows that a right-sided stimulation is more effective.
What to expect in a TMS session?
This medical procedure uses an electromagnetic coil extends with a high-intensity current that turned on and off in the coil through the discharge of a capacitor. This is a time-varying a magnetic field which lasts for about 100 – 200 microseconds. The strength is about 1.5 to 2 Tesla at the surface of the coil.
Healthcare professional conducts TMS as an outpatient basis in a clinic and it requires a series of treatment sessions to become more effective and preferably within five times a week for about four to six weeks. The attending doctor will conduct the procedure in the best place. Pacing the magnet on the head and best dose of magnetic energy will be given. Upon the first session of appointment, the patient will be placed in a treatment area where there is a wearing of earplugs, an electronic coil will also be placed in the forehead and switches off and repeated to produce stimulating pulses.
The tapping of the sounds will last in a few seconds and then pause for a while, the feeling sensation on the forehead called mapping. Doctors will then determine the right amount of magnetic energy that patients needed.
During the actual treatment, once a coil is placed on the forehead and dose is identified, now ready to start the procedure. Once settled in a comfortable chair wearing earplugs and the magnetic coil placed, health care professionals will turn the machine on. The patients will then hear a clicking sound or feel a light tapping on their forehead. The procedure will last about 40 minutes, patients will remain wide awake and alert the entire session. Patients may feel some mild discomfort during the treatment within the first week but will ultimately subside afterward.
The preparation of TMS should always be observed before applying to patients. TMS treatment is not for everyone, although relatively safe, there are pre-medical evaluation and tests. These include the following:
- Physical examination and doing laboratory tests or any other tests required to make sure that the r TMS is safe and in normal,
- have a psychiatric assessment to evaluate the mood of depression,
- any metal or implanted medical device in the body in some patients or people with metal implant device can have the procedure and due to strong magnetic field
Furthermore, it is recommended for the following persons who have aneurysm clip or coil, stents, implanted stimulators, implanted vagus nerve or deep brain stimulators, electrodes for brain monitoring, implanted electrode device such as a pacemaker, medication pump, and bullet fragments to undergo TMS.
After TMS treatment
After treatment, normal activities or daily works are normal once the patient was treated, such as driving and working in the offices and others. May different ways to perform its techniques may vary according to the studies for more effectiveness.
TMS effectiveness in depressed patients takes about several weeks of treatment depending upon the cooperation of each patient. Symptoms will drastically improve during and even after treatments. There are no significant signs of relapse. When undergoing the procedure, it involves continuing treatment until patients are symptom-free with the hope that will prevent relapses.
Depression improves clinically proven with TMS and if there is an episode or return of symptom it can be repeated again called re-induction. All the procedures and management will become helpful for the intervention to prevent and detect the depression or any other mood disorders.
According to the Center for Disease Control, antidepressant drugs are one of the most prescribed medications in the United States. At least 1 out of 20 Americans suffers from depressive symptoms aged with the highest incidence in people 40 to 59 years of age.
Among the easiest way to treat depression is to safeguard the mental health and eating the right food. Proper nutrition along with adequate sleep promotes good health and regular balance in the limbic system or emotion center of the brain.
Although there are no specific food groups that can instantly cure depression, it may ease the symptoms. Eating the right food can help in the overall treatment of depression. Here are some of the best foods to munch on whenever that “depressive feeling” sets in.
Cashews and walnuts are the best sources of magnesium and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Depression is often related to low magnesium intake. Several studies show that omega-3 fatty acids reduce depression symptoms and promote brain function. The brain composes 80% fats or lipids and several studies shows that good fats correlate to better brain function. In a study of the British Journal of Psychiatry, they found out that the reduction of omega-3 fatty acid in the Western diet parallels to the increase of psychiatric disorders. Walnuts contain one of highest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Grab a handful of either of these two for an energy-boosting effect that can elevate good mood.
Dark and Leafy Veggies
Based on a study of JAMA Psychiatry, leafy vegetables fight against all kinds of inflammation. Also, severe depression has been associated with brain inflammation. These leafy greens contain vitamins A, C, E, K, and phytochemicals that lessen inflammation in the body. As Joel Fuhrman said in his book entitled “The End of Dieting” leafy vegetables contains anticancer and immune boosting effects. Go for Kale, Spinach, and Swiss Chard to get the best nutrients needed to fight depression.
Fruits: Avocado, Berries, and Apples
Avocados belong to the power food group due to the high concentration of healthy fat and Oleic Acid that gives brainpower. These fats feed the brain for that much-needed energy in order to run in top condition. This fruit contains 4 grams of protein and is loaded with vitamin K, C, E12 and several vitamins B like B9, B6, and B5 higher than most fruits. Almost three-fourths of the calories from avocados is monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. Unlike other fruits, avocados are low in sugar but high in dietary fiber with an average of 11 grams per serving.
All kinds of berries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries contain the highest level of antioxidant from all other fruits. These antioxidants assist in the cell-repairing ability of the body, thus promoting healthy skin and good mood. They repair cells within the body which prevents cancer and other serious illnesses from developing. According to the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients are seen to have lower depressive symptoms when treated with antioxidants.
An apple a day keeps the bad mood at bay. Apples like berries are overflowing with antioxidants and fiber. They can help repair DNA and inflammation in the body on the cellular level. They are also teeming with fiber that helps in balancing blood sugar swings. Simple sugar is one of the biggest culprits in triggering mood swings.
Tomatoes are full of depression fighters that help promote a good mood. It contains folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid in which both chemicals are good for treating depression. In a research conducted by the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, most patients diagnosed with depression lack folate in their daily diet.
Countless studies and experiments show that exercise is one of the most effective ways of promoting good mental health. Regular exercise can effectively alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and more. It promotes better memory, relieves stress, boosts overall mood and helps to get that good night sleep. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous training spent on the gym, a simple modest exercise can really make an impact on mental health. Exercise is an all-powerful move for most mental health illnesses.
It reduces the risk of developing serious illnesses like heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, dementia, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. People who suffered from a stroke can benefit well from exercise.
Positive Benefits of Exercise
Aside from losing weight and promoting better sleep patterns, most people do exercise because it motivates them to ‘get-going’ and has a sense of well-being. Having a target routine each day makes it easier to get up from the bed and stay active. Getting the body moving is one of the most natural remedies to beat depression and in keeping the mind healthy.
One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is to relieve stress. Sweating during workouts can help manage physical and mental stress. Exercise triggers large concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that assists the brain to fight mental stress. Working out can also boost the body’s immune system while dealing with existing mental tension.
Generates Happy Chemicals
Laboring on the treadmill can be a tough business but it’s worth the trouble. When doing any kind of exercise whether vigorous or moderate, it releases chemical called endorphins. This chemical is responsible for creating feelings of happiness and euphoria. Several studies show that exercise can greatly alleviate depressive symptoms of the clinically depressed people. Doctors commonly recommend to patients with depression or anxiety to hit the gym at any given time. For this reason, exercise is proven to be as effective as antidepressant pills prescribed in treating depression.
It Improves Self-Confidence
Even an amateur hitting the gym for the first time will feel a million bucks upon hopping on a treadmill. Being in the gym and making that first step towards change can boost self-confidence on a different level. It implies positive self-image regardless of weight, gender, or age. Exercise creates another view of perception towards self-worth and attractiveness. In a way, this promotes positive thinking which generates good mental health up a notch.
Enjoy the Great Fun Outdoors
Who says exercising is limited on a gym time? A simple walk or an afternoon stroll in the great outdoors or even in a park can greatly alleviate good mood. The vitamin D from the D can decrease depressive symptoms. There is a lot to choose from like hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, rock-climbing and more – the options are boundless. A single round of jog around the park while enjoying a scenic view can greatly increase self-worth.
Prevents Common Brain Illnesses
As time goes by, the brain gets a little bit cloudy. Aging makes the brain lose important neuro-connections. As a result, the people can become sluggish and lose many vital brain functions. Poor brain function often leads to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s which kill off brain cells. However, exercising cannot cure such diseases but it can surely put them at bay for several more years. Working out at in early years of life can prevent degeneration of the brain particularly in the hippocampus. It’s an area in the brain responsible for memory and learning.
It’s a common knowledge that hitting the gym even for a moderate workout can tire you out. Not in a sense of breaking point but just enough to promote relaxation needed for a good night sleep. For many, exercising is better than a sleeping pill, even for those who suffer from insomnia. Getting the body active for about 5 to 6 hours before bedtime raises the core temperature of the body. After that the body drops back to its normal temp, signaling the body to sleep.
While exercise offers a chance to lift your mood, it’s not going to be effective every time for every person, especially in cases of chronic mental illness. Get effective help treating your mental illness without having to pump yourself full of drugs. Contact Us today to learn about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and how it can make mental illness much more manageable.
More than 14 million American adults suffer from clinical depression. According to researchers, by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the world. Around two-thirds of people suffering from depression will have another episode of the illness during their lifetime. Existing treatment options often lead to severe side effects. In time these medications will lose their effectiveness in treating depression. These will eventually lead to a lack of adequate treatment options.
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS is a newly found advance treatment for resistant depression. The US Food and Drug Administration of FDA approved TMS for clinical depression that can no longer treat with previous conventional antidepressant medications and therapies. Patients who suffer from drug-resistant treatments and medications can benefit well undergoing TMS therapy.
The medical community approved TMS because of its non-invasive procedure. TMS does not require any sedation, anesthesia on its depression treatment. It’s a simple procedure which conveniently performed right inside the doctor’s office under their supervision. Patients are kept awake and fully alert during each treatment sessions.
As a non-systemic and does not include heavy doses of drugs. Also, because TMS is a non-pharmaceutical therapy, it does not entail any drugs to circulate throughout the body. Since TMS does not involve any medical procedure or drugs, it does not have side effects associated with antidepressant medications like weight gain, nausea, sleepiness, memory loss, and sexual dysfunction.
Initially, TMS was used as depression treatment but recent studies show that this procedure can also treat different brain disorders. Doctors used TMS to treat a wide range of mental disorders like generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tinnitus and cognitive impairments.
Some of the benefits of TMS include:
TMS active a large area of the Prefrontal Cortex
TMS delivers highly focus magnetic field pulses to the prefrontal cortex of the brain – to stimulate the area of the brain associated with depression. The procedure produces short bursts of magnetic pulses through the scalp and it triggers the neurons locally as it targets the areas of the brain. The pulses which the TMS machine produces are similar to what the MRI imaging scan emits. As the TMS machine produces these pulses, it stimulates the deeper and broader area of the brain linked to depression.
An effective depression treatment
Many can attest to the excellent efficacy of TMS therapy. Several studies support the effectiveness of this state of the art technique. During the 4 to 8 weeks of TMS treatment phase, clinically depressed people show a promising recovery that persists into the long term. The success of TMS treatment grows steadily over the years as newer treatment parameters have been discovered along with strategic targeting in the brain’s area. Even for people who undergone electroconvulsive therapy or ECT, they show significant recovery from depression.
Shorter treatment time
The average treatment for TMS therapy lasts for about 4 to 8 weeks. During this time, patients can already notice great improvements in their overall well-being. Studies show that the improvements noted in the patient lasted for several years without any significant relapse. This saves a lot of time and money for both the providers and the patient. Compare to antidepressant medications and therapies, TMS offers a safe and effective treatment for depression.
Other Benefits of TMS
Unlike the conventional depression treatments, TMS therapy does not produce systemic side effects like sedation, nausea, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, dry mouth. There are no reports of either memory loss or inability to concentrate which are both links to antidepressants.
Several clinical trials show that TMS therapy is an effective and safe treatment for patients who do not respond to previous antidepressant medications. TMS therapy offers very few side effects which are generally well tolerated by most patients. The most common side effect of TMS includes a slight scalp irritation and mild headache during the first week of treatment but will eventually subside.
Depression makes a person lose hope, drains their energy, even making day to day tasks difficult to perform. Overcoming depression is not as easy as it looks; it takes time, effort, and courage. However, even in severe cases of clinical depression, it is still possible to beat the illness. The key to combat depression on your own is to start small and continuously feed the positive energy to keep it going. Defeating depression takes a lot of dedication and strong will. Nevertheless, with just simple positive choices each day will really make a big difference in the long run. It might not ultimately be as effective as combining psychotherapy with transcranial magnetic stimulation in Miami Shores, but even the smallest bit of help can go a long way.
One can start with one single decision – changing one’s behavior. Adding a physical activity and shifting healthy lifestyle is one of the many natural depression treatments. The first step is usually the hardest but building a routine from there will gradually lift the heavy fog of depression. Here are the top 5 things to do to combat depression.
Build a Support Group
Reach out to family and friends; depression is really hard to tackle on your own. The very nature of depression is to make a person isolated and withdrawn from their loved ones. It will get harder to seek help once depression seeps deeper into the person. Staying connected and taking part in the family or other social activities will make a big difference in the recovery. There will be instances in which depression will make it harder to talk, socialize or to reach out, but don’t lose hope and keep trying.
Do What You Love
To better manage stress, do activities that can energize the body. This includes following a fun and healthy daily routine and scheduling interesting activities. Try to remember activities that used to be fun. Go back and relearn other hobbies that may have been long forgotten. Having your mind preoccupied with something else can reduce the symptoms of depression. It rewires your brain to think more positive. It may not immediately cure depression but it can surely lift the spirits and generates good mood.
Get Moving and Exercise
Getting out of bed when depression kicks in can seem like a disheartening task, not to mention hitting the gym. But exercising is one of the most vital steps in fighting depression. Several studies show that exercising is an effective natural treatment for alleviating depression symptoms. Sweating in a treadmill releases chemical called endorphins. These chemicals are responsible for generating feelings of euphoria and happiness. No one expects a depressed person to hit the gym in a rigorous exercise for a full session. Even a 10-minute walk can improve overall mental health. Exercising can also prevent relapse once fully recovered.
Enjoy the Sun
The vitamin D from the sun’s rays triggers serotonin levels in the body to improve mood. Take every chance of going out and basking in the sun even for at least 15 minutes a day. Anyone can do this simple task while taking a quick walk during lunch break, enjoying an al fresco dining or spend some time gardening. Whenever the opportunity comes in take advantage of exercising outside of going for a hike, jog or swim on a beach. Spending time under the sun can greatly contribute to overcoming depression, in the long run, even a possibility of faster recovery.
Stock up your pantry and eat healthily. The right food groups can drastically improve good mood. Also, stay away from foods that affect the brain like alcohol, trans fat, caffeine and processed foods. Eating the right kind of food greatly affects the body and the brain. Do not skip meals especially breakfast this will contribute more to depressive symptoms like being irritable and sluggish. Aim to cut sugar and refined carbs. Sugary snacks including cookies, cakes, and ‘comfort foods’ like burgers, pasta can lead to mood swings. Choose healthy snack alternatives like nuts and fruits.
Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder that affects your mood in extreme ways. One moment you’re feeling alright, then you’re hit with an immense depression. In some cases, you feel incredibly happy, active and energetic and what’s odd is that you don’t remember when it started. Then comes this sudden tug of hopeless void, sometimes enough to make you faint on the spot.
This is not a way to live a healthy life and people with Bipolar Disorder struggle to live their everyday lives. There are effective medications to stabilize your moods, as well as psychotherapy. However, they have their setbacks such as time, costs, and physical conditions that can get in the way of medication. These were the only working methods until Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation was utilized.
TMS for Bipolar Disorder
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS for short) is the process of placing an electromagnetic coil over your head and delivering precise electromagnetic waves to your brain. Specific parts of the brain are stimulated over a period of time, normally lasting around 10-20 minutes at a time. TMS is already a proven treatment for Severe Depression, so researchers are looking into how it affects people with Bipolar Disorder.
How TMS Works
How it works is that the coil delivers an electromagnetic wave to the brain. The affected area reacts to the waves, stimulating it. One such proof that it works is that when the magnet stimulates the motor area of the brain, the patient’s arm or leg twitches. The amount of energy delivered is not enough to harm the brain, even after repeated exposure.
The procedure is very much like physical therapy. Think of a part of your brain as an arm that hasn’t moved because it was in a cast. It’s frail and can’t bend much. In physical therapy, the therapist assists in moving the arm and making you grab objects. The same can be said for TMS therapy. The waves activate a specific part of the brain, making them “stretch and bend” like they used to. Depending on the frequency of the waves, TMS can either stimulate the part of the brain or suppress activity.
Treating Bipolar Disorder with TMS is slowly becoming a reality. Clinical trials have determined that using TMS to target areas of the prefrontal cortex show improvement in patients. To make the clinical trial more thorough, they set up two treatments. First is the sham or placebo test, literally therapy whose only purpose is to make the patient think they are getting treatment. The second is the true treatment, where the mood-center of the brain is stimulated.
Further Research Required
The end result of the clinical trials is conflicting. The placebo test yielded little improvements, which was good. On the other hand, the true treatment displayed improvement with patients. The only conflict is that the effects mostly leaned on improving the depressive effects. According to the “Hamilton Depression Rating Test”, TMS made significant improvements in the patients with Bipolar Disorder. This means though TMS has not fully treated the disorder, it made a significant improvement in their lives. It’s now just a matter of adjusting the treatment methods to further improve the results.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS is far from being a miracle, but the procedure has opened new ways to understand the brain. These ways are different from functional MRIs which view the activity of the brain in real time. TMS allows us to see the deeper and more subtle result of stimulating our brain cells. It allows us to identify what part of the brain does what, more accurately.
If you break the process down to its simplest steps, it’s basically putting an electromagnet on top of your head. The magnet activates in pulses using a machine that controls both the strength and the frequency. The electromagnet’s activation causes a somewhat loud “tick” sound akin to the sparks of electricity when inserting an electric plug into a socket. The machine generates high voltage bursts that deliver powerful electromagnetic waves. But despite the raw power fed to the magnets, it’s harmless to the receiver.
TMS Parts in General
There are two kinds of TMS. There’s the original TMS where there’s a large electromagnetic coil positioned on a certain part of your head to deliver single pulses. The other one is called Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or rTMS. It’s often a smaller pair of the electromagnet that delivers repetitive weaker bursts of electromagnetism over a period of time. Both of them have the same general parts.
The Electromagnets or Conductors
While it can be explained as simply aiming the magnets, how it actually works is a bit more complex. The magnets are composed of two coils that deliver a “beam” of electromagnetism. The two beams on their own are weak and won’t affect the brain that much. When they cross, however, the combined energy is enough to properly stimulate whichever part they land on. This is how TMS can stimulate specific parts of the brain.
The Pulse Generator
Basically, the machine that generates electricity to activate the electromagnets. The machine comes with a control panel that allows the user to alter the amount of electricity that flows to the electromagnet. They can also control the frequency of the pulses. The pulse generators are relatively large and heavy. But recent advancement in technology allowed development of smaller, semi-portable machines.
All in One TMS Machines
Since machines are getting smaller these days, so are TMS pulse generators. There are commercially released products where the magnet and the pulse generators come as one device. These relatively lightweight devices can be placed on your head to deliver pre-programmed frequencies.
The key to getting the right effect is to conduct the therapy continuously. TMS clinics offer programs that have 40-60 minute sessions every day for 5-7 days a week, lasting for 20-30 days. On average, people experience improvements in their depression and anxiety. What concerns most first-time users are the lack of sensations during the first few rounds of stimulation. Proof that it affects the brain is shown through the muscle twitches caused when the magnet is aimed at the motor part of the brain which controls your muscles. The procedure is indeed slow, which is important as so to avoid causing stress or damage.