Chronic Major Depression – Does it Affect Someone You Know?
Chronic Major Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a very common and debilitating mental health disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 5.4% of Americans 12 years of age and older experience depression. It significantly affects their ability to sleep, work, and take care of everyday activities. Untreated, MDD can cause a lifetime of unhappiness and pain. Or, the depression may come and go, mostly without any warning. But in 2008, the FDA ‘cleared’ an extremely effective treatment for depression that is literally changing lives every day. I’m Dr. Scott West, and this is my blog about TMS – an opportunity to help people learn more about one of the most exciting mental health treatments available. What is TMS? Read on …
So, What IS TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or ‘TMS’ Therapy is an FDA-cleared non-invasive medical treatment for patients with major depression who have not benefited from antidepressant medication, or depression treatment. In many settings, That’s called ‘treatment-resistant’ depression – meaning that the patient has tried one or more treatments, but still feels depressed.
Why Blog About TMS?
I am so pleased to introduce this new “What is TMS?” blog to the health-minded readers of PsychCentral.com and beyond. If you battle clinical depression, or you know or love someone who does, this blog will give you:
- insights to patient experiences
- information about TMS – a depression treatment with high success rates
- an in-depth understanding of how TMS fits into the bigger picture of depression treatment
- HOPE. And quite possibly HELP.
Who Will Benefit by Reading This?
In a national survey, 6.7% of U.S. adults experienced a major depressive episode in the past 12 months. TMS is a very effective treatment that is surprisingly under-recognized by clinicians and the general population. In my TMS practice, Nashville TMS, over 75% of our patients have responded to TMS. That is very exciting because these are ALL treatment-resistant patients. We think TMS should be a household term!
One of my greatest desires through this blog is to reach many individuals who don’t yet know that TMS exists. And to help clinicians as well as individuals learn more about current TMS research and results. My hope is to provide interesting, informative, updated and shareable messages right here; and for this blog to become the TMS information ‘Go-To’.
Who is Dr. Scott West?
I embrace a philosophy of treatment that sees each patient as a whole person including mind, body and spirit, and as an individual with unique life experiences and circumstances. My outpatient practice treats adults who deal with mood disorders such as depression or anxiety, cognitive or attention problems, stress, relationship struggles and personality/interpersonal issues.
I am also Medical Director of the Neurobehavioral Unit at St. Thomas Hospital. You can read more about my professional background on the Nashville TMS website.
How Did You Become Involved with TMS?
A patient brought TMS to my attention in 1995, when it was in its initial development. Over the years, TMS technology appeared SO PROMISING for patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression that I continued to follow it very closely until it was cleared by the FDA in 2008. In 2010, we established Nashville TMS (NTMS) and successfully started treating patients.
We have had such profound and deeply rewarding experiences with TMS – and its ability to change lives – that TMS is now a central focus of my career. TMS Therapy is quite near and dear to my heart.
I’ve devoted my professional life to:
- increasing awareness & acceptance of TMS
- encouraging its development
- offering depression sufferers HOPE for a happy future
- successfully treating patients (“treatment-resistant” patients) with TMS
Can You Share Any TMS Patient Experiences?
Through Nashville TMS, we have had the privilege of helping hundreds of patients find their way out of ‘the darkness that is depression’. For example, Corinne Smith is 60 years old and lives near Knoxville, Tennessee. She struggled with debilitating Bipolar Depression for over 30 years – until she was treated with TMS. Every week, she drove to Nashville for her TMS Treatments. I tell her story and use her real name with her enthusiastic permission. Like many of my patients, Corinne wants others to know about her incredible experience so that they might recognize themselves, or a loved one, and discover that hope IS available. There IS a way out – they can go on and feel good again – even feel GREAT again!
You may also enjoy watching this TMS patient video about some of my patients who declare, “I got my life back!”
What About ‘Patient Privacy’?
In future posts, I’ll share my experiences of my patients’ depression and TMS treatment. It is very important that you know this: When I use patients’ names, each one has given their written permission. ‘Confidentiality’ and ‘Patient Privacy’ are basic tenets of the practice of Psychiatry, and I strictly abide by these and all Medical Codes of Ethics. Patients know and trust that their identity won’t be revealed – unless they’ve explicitly permitted it.
If you think that someone you love may benefit by reading about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, then please consider ‘following’ this blog; “What is TMS?” and you won’t miss a single post. One of them may be just the perfect article to introduce your loved one to the concept of TMS, and to the very real possibility of hope for a happier future. After successful TMS treatment, patients say, “I’m ME again!”
Will You Take an Active Part in This TMS Blog?
Note that I’m very interested in hearing from readers. If YOU have any TMS questions or topics you’d like to see covered, just contact me and make your request. (Please be as specific as possible.) I invite your comments on these posts, too!
Could someone in your family benefit by knowing about TMS Therapy?
How are they dealing with their depression now? (No identifying information, please.)
Woman with flower photo available from Shutterstock