FOX 35 reports on positive response in depressed patients to TMS Therapy
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) October 27, 2014 – Depression affects millions of Americans. Unfortunately, research shows antidepressants don’t help many in that group. However, a new procedure is providing hope to many.
In Downtown Orlando, hope is housed in a quiet office.
“It’s a non-pharmaceutical approach to addressing your problems,” said Anita Riggs, Clinical Director of the Healing House.
Riggs is the Clinical Director of The Healing House. It’s the first holistic intensive outpatient program in Florida. In just the last few weeks, patients have found help not in drugs, but in a device. Staff members at The Healing House help treat those battling the most bouts of depression with a magnet.
It’s called Neurostar Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS Therapy. The FDA approved it in 2008 and it’s slowly made its way to Central Florida.
“Where they’ve had either limited success or lack of success in treating their condition, what they often have is a lot of hopelessness and frustration,” Riggs said. “What they’ve been doing isn’t working.”
A strong magnet is placed over the patient’s head while he or she is awake. The TMS sends magnetic pulses to stimulate certain parts of the brain believed to be connected to depression and mood.
“They’re able to read, meditate, pray, watch TV, listen to music, whatever is comfortable for them,” Riggs said.
Clients typically visit the center five times a week for six weeks. The sessions last about an hour.
“Typically, within about three to four weeks, we begin to see a very positive response.”
Research shows results can last years, but refreshers are recommended.
“We also add exercise and other modalities to further accelerate their progress,” Riggs said.
It doesn’t work for everyone. Some clinical trials show a third of those who have the treatment can’t be helped. However, symptoms are cut in half for another third, and the last third achieve full remission.
Staff members at The Healing House stress they’re targeting the most severe cases.
“It’s beautiful to see people make positive change,” Riggs said.
The Healing House is the [first] program of its kind in the United States to combine TMS as the core basis in an intensive outpatient program.
Research shows the only known major side effect for TMS is a headache.
Keep in mind, the treatment isn’t cheap. On average, it could cost about $10,000, but Riggs said many insurance companies are starting to cover the treatment, especially for those who haven’t found relief in the past with antidepressant medications.