Does Your Depression Feel Like a Monster?

Uk Illustrator Raises Mental Health Awareness

When I decided to commit my professional career to helping people recover from depression, I accepted the likelihood that I would tangibly see, hear and feel the weight of my patients’ depression. As a physician, I am trained to use specific coping skills to process these types of emotions on a daily basis.  But I’m also a human being, with deep human connections, including a close family and many loving friends. So because I am first a human being, I also humanly care about my patients. And at times I am profoundly touched by my patients’ circumstances and mental health.

As I work with patients each day, it’s a joy to offer them a way to help them cope and process the emotions at the center of their mental health disorder. That’s why I’m interested in sharing the work of one famed artist who  significantly helps many people through his art.

The Depression Monster (Image Credit: © Toby Allen 2013)


National Depression Screening Day is October 8, 2015 – Take Action!

You Could Actually Save the Life of Someone You Know or Love

I have a friend – actually more of a ‘friend of a friend’- named Stewart. He is a very likable guy with a heart the size of Texas, as they say. Perhaps you know someone like him. He’s fun. Whenever Stewart’s around, I know I’ll have great laughs from his adventurous stories. He’s thoughtful. Even though I don’t know him well, he sends a ‘Happy Birthday’ email every year. And he’s quite generous. Going out to dinner, he jumps up to pay the tab for the table. Of course, that leads to a rousing round of objections from half the group.

But I sometimes suspect that Stewart may be hiding something, perhaps even from himself. It’s not really obvious, but as a trained psychiatrist, I see something missing in his eyes. They just seem to lack the sparkle that would naturally match those fun stories and great attributes. I’m not saying that he doesn’t have all those attractive traits. I’m just suggesting that he may be covering what is clinically known as Depression.


Presenteeism is now in the News

How Can TMS Help Solve This Growing Problem? Driving across town one afternoon, I recently became absorbed in a story on NPR radio that really hit home. Over the years, I’ve treated many patients just like Jay Lynch, Professor of Medicine at University of Florida. His story illustrates the unwitting situation now called “Presenteeism”, a term coined in 2001 by Cary Cooper, Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester University (source).

Presenteeism usually starts with no warning signs. Perhaps you will recognize a friend or colleague in Dr. Jay Lynch’s story.


With TMS, I Finally ‘Get My Life Back’ After 30 Years

Real Hope for Others Who Suffer From Treatment-Resistant Depression and Suicide Ideation

From Dr. Scott West:

Recently, my team at Nashville TMS has strongly encouraged me to share actual patient insights on this Psych Central blog. I agree that many people will increasingly understand TMS much better if they have the opportunity to read about how this disease (treatment-resistant major depression) affects people, and how TMS treatment actually works for them. And wouldn’t it be great if you could read it in their own words?

In this post, I offer the story of my patient, Ms. Corinne Smith, who wrote about her own experience (aided by a co-writer). She is excited to share her experiences. Corinne believes that if even just one person is helped by reading it, she will make a difference in their life, and in the world. I support her in this belief.

Image Courtesy of Neuronetics, Inc. 2012

My hope is that you will share Corinne’s story with others - as you see fit. Here it is:


Patient Suffering From Major Depressive Disorder Considers TMS Treatment

National Study Confirms Long Term Benefits, Safety and Durability

One of my patients is an accountant with a demanding job at a large accounting firm. He is responsible for dozens of clients, and has a large staff of accountants reporting to him. He has been with the firm for over 16 years. The most stressful times for him are around IRS due dates and during times of change in his clients’ business' ownership, such as a merger or purchase of another company. However, his job is generally high stress most of the time, which has been a major contributor to his chronic major depression over the years, even with anti-depressant medications.

I have been treating him regularly with a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, changing them when needed to help him cope. But just recently he experienced a crisis which has affected him deeply, and he has had a difficult time functioning, both at work and at home. He just can’t seem to shake his depression, and he reports that it’s getting worse. He continues to go to work, but has begun to notice that he consistently makes mistakes that he didn’t previously make. He also reports a disturbing inability to focus. So now we have been discussing TMS therapy, which was FDA cleared in 2008 and has literally changed lives ever since.


TMS Insurance Coverage Continues Nationwide Expansion

Could your Insurance Carrier Pay or Reimburse for TMS Treatment?

We know that TMS is an exciting treatment possibility for millions of people who deal with severe chronic, overwhelming, and exhausting depression, day in and day out. But many of them just cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket…

Does insurance generally cover TMS treatment?

I try to be careful to avoid making any blanket statements about TMS insurance coverage. With any given patient, we must consider so many variables that generalizations just aren’t accurate, and I definitely don’t want to mislead anyone or give false hope. However, we can discuss the good news - that in the last few years, major national insurance carriers have increasingly written policies for coverage of TMS treatment - for patients who qualify. And I can describe the general coverage trends that I see at this time. While there are several different devices on the market for TMS treatment, NeuroStar is the brand name of the TMS equipment made by Neuronetics, the medical device company that brought the first TMS device through FDA clearance in 2008. According to, over 230 million patients have insurance policies that cover NeuroStar TMS Therapy through their individual health plans. That number has more than doubled in the last few years. It appears that most major national carriers now cover TMS under certain terms and conditions. However, each carrier’s ‘authorization’ criteria can and do vary from other carriers. And authorization depends upon several factors that are unique to the individual patient’s status. (Photo Credit:


Is Sarah a Candidate for TMS Therapy?

I wonder if TMS could help my daughter Sarah, who is dismally depressed. My sister emailed me an article about TMS and I wonder if it would help Sarah. She just graduated from high school in May. Sarah still lives at home, so I know that just about all she did this summer was lay around, tablet in hand. She has no energy and rarely went out with friends - which is just not like her. It was a real struggle to get her to enroll at the community college this fall. It’s a great school with excellent programs, but she is SO ‘down’. Sarah doesn’t want to do much of anything. She cries a lot and says, “I just want to feel like ME again!” Even though it’s frustrating at times, my heart goes out to her. I wish that this would be an exciting time for her, because she really has the whole world in front of her. We’ve tried counselling, but that didn’t seem to help. She doesn’t want to talk about it. Do you think TMS could help Sarah? Who qualifies for TMS treatment?”
- Jeanni (Sarah’s mother)


TMS Therapy Relieves Chronic Major Depression – Every Day

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 ...

Welcome to What is TMS?

There are many exciting newer treatments for depression that don't rely on medications or supplements. One of them is called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Have you ever wondered what TMS is, how it works, and what it can be used for?

Wonder no longer, because...