Depression is a broad term for mental health disorders that take different forms. Such as major depression, persistent depressive disorder, or seasonal affective disorder. Depression affects individuals differently but can be debilitating. This is due to symptoms that range from a persistent sad mood to feelings of hopelessness.
Fortunately, there are treatment methods for depression. Common approaches include antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Sometimes, however, depression may not respond to these traditional forms of treatment.
When this occurs, a person is characterized as having treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Specifically, it has been shown that for major depressive disorder (MDD), drug therapy is unsuccessful for about 30% of patients.
This can be highly frustrating for someone dealing with treatment-resistant depression. However, treatments such as personalized repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (PrTMS) have been shown to deliver relief. Discovering what PrTMS is and how it can benefit treatment-resistant depression are essential steps in getting help.
There are some challenges to defining treatment-resistant depression. However, a widely accepted term meaning is when two courses of antidepressant drugs have not improved symptoms. Symptoms of treatment-resistant depression can range from mild to severe.
Medication and therapy are the primary means of treating depression. However, it can often take long for those with TRD to get help when going this route. Thankfully, these are not the only methods available. Science is advancing its knowledge about the brain and its relation to mental illness.
Communication occurs within the brain via neurons. Brainwaves register these electrical pulses produced by this communication network. When these processes work correctly, the brain can send and receive messages throughout the body, allowing optimal functioning. However, certain conditions like epilepsy, autism, or depression reveal abnormal brain activity.
The investigation into the brain has led to an increased understanding of the regions in the brain that are affected. This new understanding has been helpful, particularly in depression treatment. These findings have given researchers insight into developing strategies for stimulating these areas via repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). This technique uses coils that emit magnetic pulses to change brain activity.
As discoveries have been made in the brains of depressed persons, rTMS has been used to normalize activity. As a result, treatment has relieved symptoms for up to 30% of individuals.
However, personalized repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (PrTMS) is an improved version of rTMS. PrTMS is increasingly being sought out by those suffering from TRD. This is due to its success where other treatment models have failed.
As mentioned, innovative research into brain stimulation has yielded advantageous discoveries for those dealing with mental health disorders. More specifically, these new advancements, such as PrTMS. Although rTMS is an effective treatment for depression, neuroscience has delivered improvements to this approach. Improvements have been made through a more individualized treatment plan in the form of PrTMS.
Like rTMS, PrTMS uses repetitive magnetic pulses to affect brain activity. The upgrade of PrTMS therapy centers around the brain mapping process that allows customized treatment.
The brain mapping that directs the plan for PrTMS occurs in two steps. These steps include administration of qEEG assessment and analysis of results by a doctor.
Steps to prepare for PrTMS:
The final step in the process is the actual application of the PrTMS. During a PrTMS session, a trained professional will operate the device. They will operate the device near the head to deliver the magnetic pulses to specific brain areas.
This is where the information gathered during the brain mapping applies to treatment. The doctor will position the coils above the regions that need stimulation.
Each painless therapy session lasts approximately 20 – 40 minutes. Typically sessions are required five times a week over six to eight weeks. During treatment sessions, monitoring of brain activity remains a characteristic of treatment.
This is to achieve the goal of providing personalized results through continual adjustment of settings as needed. Some people notice a difference after the first session, though most require a few weeks to realize the benefits.
In addition to helping people with TRD get back to enjoying life, PrTMS offers several other benefits.
Benefits of PrTMS include:
The lack of side effects during or after treatment is one of the significant advantages of PrTMS. Especially with so many antidepressants causing unwanted outcomes for patients. In addition to experiencing a mild headache after treatment, some persons report feeling tingling during the procedure. However, most people do not feel anything during the procedure.
Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) can be a debilitating and frustrating mental health condition. With the variety of treatment protocols available, no one should have to suffer from depression. And with continual advancements in brain stimulation therapies, getting help is within reach, and getting better every day.
If you or a loved one are struggling with treatment-resistant depression, reach out to Inland Empire TMS in Riverside County, California today. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our PrTMS therapy.