Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects more than 16.1 million American adults, roughly 7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older. Left unchecked, it can be debilitating, but the good news is, it can be controlled.

The doctors at Pinnacle Behavioral Health understand that many people suffering from major depressive disorder find it difficult to regain their quality of life from medication or talk therapies alone, and don’t want to turn to electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. That’s why it offers the FDA-approved, non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy, utilizing BrainsWay Deep TMS system.

Laura McMahon, MD, who is certified in both adult and child and adolescent psychiatry explained TMS uses a magnetic field to stimulate a specific target region in the brain that controls mood, using it to treat symptoms of MDD by activating the neural pathways.

When she discusses the option with patients, she has a model of the helmet that is used during treatment and explains to them that it simply goes on their head, isn’t electric, and doesn’t cause seizures or memory loss.

“It takes about 20 minutes, but you need to make a commitment to it,” Dr. McMahon said. “There’s no hospitalization required and no anesthesia, so you can get up and go to work right after.”

Patients who are approved for TMS must undergo approximately 36 treatments, which requires going five days a week for about 4-6 weeks, and then the visits are weened down a bit.

At a first treatment, an electromagnetic coil will be placed on a patient’s head and switched off and on repeatedly to produce stimulating pulses. This results in a tapping or clicking sound that usually lasts for a few seconds, followed by a pause. There will also be a tapping sensation on the forehead, which creates proper mapping.

During each subsequent visit, the patient sits in a chair, has the helmet placed on their head, and then there are about 90 seconds of full treatment before they can take a break. This repeats for about 20 minutes. “The suite itself is very calming and relaxing,” Dr. McMahon said. “At Pinnacle, we have music, a TV in front of them, they can read a book, and sometimes they have my poodle sitting with them, which puts them in a relaxed state of mind.”

Jay Hamer, Ph.D., a psychologist at Pinnacle, noted that it’s not just the technology that helps to make a difference—it’s the planned environment that Pinnacle has created as well.

“It’s not all about just magnifying someone’s brain. It’s the whole treatment—the ambiance, the relationship with the technician, all the little things we offer that helps,” he said. “TMS is very therapeutic and feels very helpful. If TMS works for you, your depression symptoms may improve or go away completely.”

If you have tried multiple medications to treat depression, but are still suffering, TMS might right for you. It is FDA-approved and covered by most insurance. For a learn more, call Pinnacle and ask for Rocco to schedule a free consultation.

Pinnacle Behavioral Health
(518) 509-4867