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.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS sends electromagnetic currents near the frontal lobe of the brain to stimulate brain activity. The medical community had used brain stimulation for years as an effective treatment for various psychiatric disorders, especially depressive and anxiety disorders.
As a non-invasive medical procedure that uses a magnetic field to stimulate nerve cells in the brain, it remains one of the safest therapies to treat various health problems. Due to its efficiency and effectiveness, recent studies had explored other possibilities of TMS therapy to other types of health problems like addiction.
The US Food and Drug Administration of FDA approved TMS as a safe and alternative treatment for depression. Today, more scientists explore the possibility of other medical uses of TMS.
The Study Behind the Theory
The results show a promising clinical data indicating that TMS can help people recover from addiction. Neuroscientists Antonello Bonci and Billy Chen from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in Baltimore spearheaded a study of rats trained to uncontrollably seek out cocaine. The rats are very much addicted that they tolerate electric shocks just to get their fixes. However, when researchers stimulated the rat’s brain using TMS, the animals were able to get out of their addiction.
In a journal published in Nature, Bonci and other scientists suggested that stimulating the prefrontal cortex can help addicts end their substance abuse. TMS can effectively target that area of the brain. As a non-invasive procedure stimulating neural activity, it might help with addiction.
There are several more studies conducted each year to support TMS therapy as a safe and effective alternative treatment method for various illnesses.
During TMS procedure, an electromagnetic coil is placed on the scalp near the forehead. The electromagnet delivers a magnetic pulse to stimulate nerve cells in the brain associated with controlling mood and depression – the two main emotional factor triggering addiction.
Repeated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Repeated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (sometimes referred to as rTMS) uses a coil that emits a magnetic wave that passes through the skull. This triggers an electrical field that can alter brain cells activity. This varies from low frequency about 1 hertz to a high frequency of 10 to 20 Hertz. Health care professionals study the strength based on the patient’s motor threshold, which is the needed amount of current that makes fingers or leg muscles move when a TMS session starts.
This procedure had been proved effective for treating depression. TMS affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which affects the limbic system, an area of the brain associated with addiction. Stimulating and regulating brain nerve cells in these parts can help decrease symptoms of addiction.
The subcortical generally the medial prefrontal cortex, modulates addiction but needing deeper stimulation using rTMS. Studies show that using H-coil and higher frequency stimulation with 120% motor threshold will yield better results.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, TMS show positive promise as an alternative addiction treatment.
Digging Deeper into the Brain
Still, TMS research needs to dig deeper into the brain to targets more areas of the brain. Usually, doctors use “figure 8 coil” but others use “H coil” which can reach deeper parts of the brain.
Scientists have tested the theory on nicotine dependence, one of the most studied forms of addiction. On several research studies, stimulating the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, (DLPFC) using “figure 8 coil” eventually decreases nicotine cravings. However, other studies show that nicotine dependence was totally eliminated. In alcohol dependence, TMS used in high-frequency targeting DLPFC showed promising effect.
Different studies consistently show TMS as a safe and effective tool for addiction treatment that carries no significant side effects.
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.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD affects both men and women of all ages. It has a neurobiological basis regardless of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic backgrounds. OCD affects people ages 15 to 44. According to research, about 1 in 40 adult Americans (around 2.3% of the entire population) and 1 in 100 children suffer from OCD. Moreover, in a data of the World Health Organization, OCD belongs to the top 20 causes of illness-related disability in the world.
People who suffer from OCD have either obsessive thoughts or compulsive urges that are repetitive in nature. Some may even have both obsessions and compulsions behaviors. OCD is not just having negative thoughts or habits like nail biting. The disorder can greatly affect the person’s performance in school, work, and relationships. Because of the obsessive and uncontrolled behavior, it keeps the person from living a normal life. These thought and actions are beyond the individual’s control.
How to Tell if it’s OCD
Some people develop OCD around their puberty but usually occur during early adulthood. An obsessive thought, for example, is arranging kitchen utensils in an exact manner every morning. On the other hand, a compulsive habit is washing hands for several times after touching something that might contain bacteria. A person with OCD may feel powerless to stop despite its acknowledgment not to do it.
OCD thoughts are obsessions that are persistent and uncontrollable impulses, thoughts, or images that are unwanted and disturbing. In responses to these thoughts, people suffering from OCD still perform certain physical or mental compulsions. Even though knowing that their obsessive thoughts are irrational, they still feel compelled to do these unnecessary rituals. Unfortunately, the reliefs from doing these rituals are temporary; the obsessive-compulsive cycle continues. This often results in helplessness and frustrations.
Symptoms of OCD
Symptoms of OCD include a cycle of obsessive thoughts and a temporary relief of doing so. People with OCD do such behaviors not because they enjoy them but because they cannot control themselves. A lot of people suffering from OCD experience frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.
- A compulsion thought of repetitive behavior or mental act that the person needs to carry out in order to ‘get rid’ of the unpleasant feelings.
- An obsessive feeling associated with the persistent thought that causes anxiety, disgust, or uneasiness.
Causes of OCD
Health care providers cannot pinpoint the exact cause of OCD. Certain areas of the brain have different patterns in people suffering from OCD, but more in-depth research is needed. Based on scientific data, women are more prone than in men. Symptoms often start in teens or young adults. Also, stress plays a big factor in making the symptoms progress. To this day, the biological factor in developing OCD remains unknown.
Several factors can affect people in developing OCD, these include:
- Having symptoms of depression or anxiety
- Family having OCD
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- A traumatic experience in the past
Treatments for OCD
There is still no known cure for OCD, but there are available treatments that may lessen the symptoms. These treatments can help manage the symptoms from interfering with daily life. Health care specialists can prescribe medications, therapy or a combination of both. OCD can significantly interfere with life but here are some of the best treatments for OCD to help keep it under control.
While it is still in the early stages of discovery, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is showing excellent promise in treating OCD as well as all sorts of other mental illnesses. For example, it works well with mental issues like ADHD:
Doctors usually prescribe a type of antidepressant drug called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. This drug can help regularize the balance of the brain chemicals. The effects of SSRIs can take several months to notice but most people benefit from this drug.
Health care providers usually go for the cognitive behavioral therapy of CBT. In this treatment, the session will let the patient face their fears and obsessive thoughts to better manage them. The therapist will try to distinguish the exact cause of the problem to better address them and help patients how to deal with their stressors in a healthier way.
Some health care providers combine these two treatments; SSRI and CBT. There are cases that patients may need to seek out specialists and other forms of unconventional treatment to better suit their needs.
To learn more about TMS for OCD or to set up an appointment, contact us today!
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.
Autism is a complex condition in the brain which impairs communication and social interactions. It affects 1 out of 80 Americans on average, even more so when you consider the world. Autism has a lot of varied symptoms and severities that it’s called “Autism Spectrum Disorder” to help encompass all of it.
The cause of Autism is about as varied as its symptoms. In some cases, it’s caused by a faulty gene. In others, it caused by chemical imbalances or viruses during pregnancy, such as German measles. Autism is generally detectable around birth, up to the 3rd year of age. In some cases, a person may not display symptoms in the early years, only to dip in development after the 3rd year.
Today’s Autism Treatments
Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder is generally advanced methods of training. There are also drugs that help manage certain severities of autism like antipsychotics. Ultimately, once it’s detected, it should be given attention as soon as possible.
One problem is that for children and adolescents with severe conditions, treatment is extensive. It’s a long-term procedure that demands attention, both medical and financial. It impacts the quality of life of both the child and their parents.
There is promising hope for alternative treatment. It’s in a form of a special machine attached to an electromagnet. The procedure is called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, TMS for short. It uses electromagnetic waves to stimulate specific areas of the brain.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Trials for Autism
The treatment is still in the experimental stage. There’s no government-approved methods yet, but clinical trials all over the world show promise. What makes transcranial magnetic stimulation a novel approach to brain treatment, is how simple the procedure is.
An 8-shaped magnet is placed on the patient’s head. Afterwards, the machine generates precise pulses of electricity that activates the electromagnet. This delivers a precise amount of electromagnetism into the brain, causing the targeted part to activate. The effect is both seen and felt during the testing and mapping phase. In this phase, the electromagnet will target the motor area of the brain, causing the hand or a foot to twitch when the magnet is activated.
How TMS Works to Treat Autism
How it works to treat Autism, is essentially the same way you learn how to do a certain task. TMS therapy will activate certain parts of the brain to “flex” them. The procedure lasts up to 6 weeks, with daily, 30-60 minute processes. With this repetitive process, the brain eventually learns to activate properly and all the parts around the area adapt accordingly. By aiming the electromagnet on the part of the brain that controls communication, it can train the area to work correctly.
Clinical trials have shown improvements in a child’s behavior. There’s improvement in social skills and hand-eye coordination, which are markers for progressive brain development. TMS therapy, combined with proper training could be the key to reversing the effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
It’s only a matter of time before a proper method of TMS therapy is approved. With promising results from clinical trials and the global effort of researchers, we’re one step closer to fully understanding our brain, and perhaps a cure for its many illnesses.
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.
A good number of people in the world hear sounds they shouldn’t be hearing. No, it’s nothing close to the supernatural. These people hear ringing or random sounds when there’s nothing that’s causing the noise around them.
This condition is called “Tinnitus” and it has a lot of causes. It could be due to serious issues such as brain damage and infection in the ear or could be as simple as a piece of dirt or ear wax lodged in your eardrum.
Though the causes can be identified, the mechanics behind Tinnitus is yet to be fully understood. There are cases where even if they managed to deal with the cause, the patient still hears random noises. This makes Tinnitus a symptom, rather than a condition on its own. Like a fever, you can treat it, but if you don’t deal with the actual problem, it will just keep coming back.
The most common cause of tinnitus is constant exposure to loud sound. Examples of these are constant exposure to construction noises or explosions. Construction workers and people who serve the military may be at risk of this. The cure is often to decrease the person’s exposure to loud noises. But, it doesn’t work for some people. Some people live with tinnitus for years. This can cause depression, anxiety, and concentration issues all their life.
Advancement in medical science have found a way to treat patients with long-term tinnitus. This process is through the simple use of electromagnets. The procedure is called “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.”
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatment for Tinnitus: How does it work?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, can be described as using a pair of electromagnets to stimulate certain parts of your brain using electromagnetism. It sounds simple, but that’s what makes it amazing. This procedure has little side-effects and shows direct results in treating Tinnitus.
During TMS therapy, the patient is sat comfortably in a chair and an operator will aim a number 8 shaped electromagnet an inch or two above the scalp. A machine connected to the electromagnet will deliver precise amounts of electricity. This causes the magnets to deliver pulses of electromagnetism.
The first step is to get you a physical and psychological exam. This is to ensure that you won’t have complications during the procedure and to understand your depression. When the physical exam checks out and the psychological evaluation is complete, you’ll be taken to the TMS clinic.
During the process, they will first “map out” the areas of your brain by activating the coil on certain areas of your head. You may feel a slight ticking in your scalp and your muscles may flinch, which is perfectly normal. When the doctor or operator has determined the right position, the machine will continue to send pulses to that specific part of the brain. I some cases, you may not feel any tapping or clicking sounds, but rest assured that the machine is doing its job.
After about 30-60 minutes of deep brain stimulation, the procedure ends for the day. Patients are highly encouraged to complete the entire procedure, lasting about 4-6 weeks to ensure that you get the best results.
The brain is perhaps the most complicated organ in the world. Millions of neurons communicating in countless ways. They work millions of times per second, all ensuring that you live longer than 2 minutes. Complicated systems also have complicated problems, which often need complicated solutions. Yet as we discover more about our brain and how we can affect it, solutions for problems such as depression, tend to get simpler.
So simple that it involves putting a magnet over your head for an hour or less, every day for a month.
What is TMS?
TMS is short for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. As the name states, it’s using electromagnets to stimulate areas beyond the skull, specifically, certain parts of the brain. The TMS machine consists of the electromagnetic coils that deliver the magnetic pulses and the pulse generator. This is a machine that delivers precise amounts of electric current to the magnet.
What is Depression?
It’s feeling sad, but not the everyday sadness you feel when you, for example, dropped your cold ice cream on hot, stressful day. Depression is an intense kind of sadness that can last for days, even weeks. It can affect your way of thinking, making it progressively worse. It can resolve itself into Clinical Depression, a treatable medical condition.
How Does it Work?
It works by activating a pair of electromagnetic coils about half an inch above your scalp. The two coils deliver a relatively weak pulse of electromagnetism, not enough to affect your brain in any significant way. Where the two waves meet, however, causes a significant electromagnetic effect. The effect is strong enough to make your hand or foot twitch when the coil is aimed at the motor area of the brain. Yet, weak enough that it doesn’t cause any significant damage, even after an daily, one-hour exposure over a month.
Using this targeted method, TMS can stimulate certain parts of the brain. People suffering from depression have decreased activity in certain parts of their brain. Specifically, these are the areas that create or govern the creation of Dopamine, a brain chemical that causes happiness. TMS can stimulate these areas to help restore normal function. Think of it as physical therapy on an arm or leg that has been cast for 4 months. TMS “flexes” and “massages” the problem areas, allowing these parts to work normally when they need to.
The full therapy varies depending on the severity of the depression. According to many clinical trials and anonymous patient data, 4-6 weeks of therapy caused improvements about 95% of the patients. The 5% are those unfortunate to have developed adverse effects. This is either through pre-existing conditions or could not handle the therapy due to side effects such as dizziness and nausea.
Continued therapy is encouraged well after the month-long procedure to minimize remission. Though there are still a number of patients who went into remission after stopping the procedure, TMS still holds a candle when it comes to non-invasive or drug therapies for depression.