Transcranial magnetic stimulation: drug-free treatment for depression

- If you're suffering from depression or anxiety, a new treatment in the valley is offering some much-needed relief. It's called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. 

Dr. Jason Friday uses what some would describe as a non-conventional method.

"TMS is transcranial magnetic stimulation, so it's a pulse magnetic field that we are able to localize in a particular area of the brain in order to stimulate the nerves within the brain and we can actually inhibit some of the nerves in the brain," he said.

Dr. Friday says the difference between pills and TMS is that TMS causes the nerves in the brain to fire as opposed to manipulating them with chemicals.

"What we found in patients with depression is the activity in their brain is low there are areas in the brain that activity are very low so the nerves are not firing activity."

"I think I've tried everything out there, but there's side effects or it didn't help," said Andrew Rangel.

Rangel suffered from depression for years. After losing his job, he dropped out of school and barely got out of bed.

"Seroquel, tranquilizers.. I tried probably eight medications and I saw very minimal effects from all of them," he said.

Rangel turned to TMS as a last result.  So did Cathy Spear, who battled depression for 20 years up until two months ago when she started TMS treatments.

"People would call me bashful when I was depressed. I just didn't talk when I'd go to work, I'd do my job and go home and then I would sit there until the next day," she said.

"Now I'm more outgoing. I'm enjoying more with my life. I'm happier," said Rangel.

"Left side of the brain is where you see the involvement for depression. Right side is involved with anxiety," said Friday.

The treatment is non-evasive. The doctor attaches a small magnetic coil on the scalp which targets a precise location in the cortex of the brain that controls mood.

"Overall, I just saw better quality of life. Just joy. Something I haven't felt in years. Just pure joy," said Rangel.

TMS isn't for everyone, but those who say they had no other choice are finding much needed help.

With TMS, there are some restrictions. You have to check with the doctor before proceeding with treatment. Also, some insurance companies are starting to cover it.

Dr. Jason Friday
Redemption Psychiatry
2730 S. Val Vista Dr., Suite 146
Gilbert, AZ

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