Depression is never easy, but it can be especially difficult during the holidays. The expectations that go with the Christmas season can cause some to go into an even deeper state of sadness.
Many times antidepressants can fail in bringing relief to patients, but there may now be new hope.
92-year-old Palm Desert resident Chester Bloome suffers from depression.
“I’m hoping to be more alert, not being so sleepy so much of the day,” he said.
He’s tried a number of antidepressants, many of which have failed to help treat his symptoms.
“Yeah they didn’t help,” he said, but still experienced the side effects from the medications such as nausea, insomnia, and anxiety.That’s when Bloome heard about a new type of technology being used to treat depression.
“I read in a newspaper about the success that this has been doing for people throughout the world,” Bloome said.
It’s called transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS, which basically involves using magnetic pulses to stimulate brain activity.
First approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2008, it’s been gaining more attention as more patients using the technology claim that they’re seeing an improvement in their symptoms.
“We know that there are certain areas of the brain which are more important for depression, certainly for anxiety, so this machine allows us to focus impulses in those areas of the brain,” said Manish Sheth, MD in adult psychiatry.
He also has the Achieve TMS Center in Palm Desert where he treats patients with depression. He says unlike antidepressants, the TMS treatment has no side-effects or risks.
“About half the patients see the response, and about 1 in 3, meaning one third of the patients for depression actually see a significant clinical improvement from their depression after the treatment,” said Sheth.
In each session, the patient comes in and sits in a chair, while a cushioned helmet is placed on the patient’s head.
“So what we are trying to do is, we’re trying to focus the treatment at an angle which is the right angle for his brief frontal cortex, that is the term for the part of the brain,” said Sheth as he placed the helmet on Bloome’s head.
The helmet then generates the magnetic pulses into the targeted brain area. The sessions last 20 minutes long, and the treatment itself has to be done everyday for 4 to 5 weeks.
Bloome is just now going into his second week of treatment and says he’s yet to see a significant difference. But he’s looking forward to completeing his sessions and hoping to no longer have to take medications.
“If this system changes my brain structure enough that I don’t need the medication, then fine, let’s look forward and see how it works,” Bloome said.
Achieve TMS Center is located at 43585 Monterey Ave. Ste. 8, Palm Desert, CA 92260