DEPRESSION (Major Depressive Disorder)

You’re not alone. Major depression is more common than you’d think.

What is Major Depressive Disorder? Major depression is a common and serious medical illness affecting more than 13 million Americans, or approximately 6.6 percent of the population in a given year. Unlike the normal ups and downs of everyday life, Major Depression is persistent and can significantly interfere with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, and even physical health. Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. often impairing social, academic and work functioning and causing significant emotional distress. Depression is the most common illness within the mental health arena.

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Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

The onset of the first episode of major depressive disorder may not be obvious if it is gradual or mild. The symptoms of this disorder characteristically represent a significant change from how a person functioned before the illness. The symptoms of depression may include:

  • feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness or guilt
  • persistently sad or irritable mood
  • pronounced changes in sleep habits and energy levels
  • pessimistic feelings about the future
  • trouble making decisions
  • significant weight gain or loss
  • difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • low libido
  • increased agitation
  • lack of interest in or pleasure from activities typically enjoyed

When several of these symptoms occur at the same time, last longer than two weeks, and interfere with ordinary functioning, individuals should seek professional advice and treatment. If left untreated, major depression can lead to attempted suicide.

While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that depression is caused by an imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells. Depression is most often treated with antidepressant medications. It is believed that antidepressant medications work by modifying the levels of these neurotransmitters.

Although antidepressants can be effective for many patients, they do not work for everybody. Additionally, since antidepressants medications are typically taken by mouth, they circulate in the blood stream throughout the body, often resulting in unwanted side effects such as weight gain, sexual problems, upset stomach, sleepiness, and dry mouth.

More than 4 million patients do not receive adequate benefit from antidepressants and/or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them.


Treatment of depression with TMS

TMS Therapy is a treatment using medical devices such as Brainsway Deep TMS. TMS Therapy is:

  • Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery. It does not require any anesthesia or sedation, as the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.
  • Non-systemic, meaning that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the blood stream throughout the body.

The typical initial treatment course consists of 5 treatments per week over a 4-6 week period, for an average of 20-30 total treatments. Treatment session duration may vary depending upon the device used and the prescribed treatment. Treatment duration usually ranges from 20 minutes to approximately 60 minutes in length.


OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

Now treatable with Brainsway Deep TMS, the only FDA cleared TMS device to treat OCD.

More than two million adults in the United States suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is characterized by a pattern of obsessive thoughts and compulsive, repetitive behaviors. For many, treatment with antidepressant medications delivered at very high doses is able to control the disorder. However, up to 40 percent1 of those suffering from OCD are considered treatment-resistant, which means that they are not, or are no longer, responding to first-line treatment with medication or psychotherapy.

Symptoms of OCD

The term OCD is often misused to describe people who are simply neat or like things arranged in a particular fashion. In reality, OCD is an anxiety disorder that can dramatically interfere with a person’s daily life.

Obsessions are uncontrollable thoughts or fears that cause stress. A compulsion is a ritual or action that is repeated over and over. In some cases, compulsions are used by those suffering from OCD to offer temporary relief.

OCD symptoms include persistent and recurring impulses, thoughts and images that are unwanted. These may include:

  • Repeated unwanted ideas
  • Fear of contamination
  • Aggressive impulses
  • Hoarding
  • Persistent sexual thoughts
  • Images of hurting someone you love
  • Thoughts that you be harmed or might cause others harm

For example, a person with OCD may continually check their doors and windows in their home to be sure they are locked, out of fear that someone may attempt to enter their home without their knowledge or permission.


Treating OCD with Deep TMS

In August 2018, the FDA cleared Brainsway Deep TMS for OCD, a major milestone for individuals suffering from this disorder. The clearance was based on a study conducted in 11 medical centers in the United States, Canada and Israel. The study included only patients who were treatment-resistant and included twenty-minute Deep TMS sessions conducted five times per week over a six-week period. More than half of those in the active group achieved a 20 percent or greater reduction in symptom severity.

The Brainsway Deep TMS used at TMS Center of Colorado differs from other TMS devices because it can directly stimulate areas of the brain at a greater depth and breadth safely and efficiently. One such area is the anterior cingulate cortex, a region known for many years to be directly involved in OCD. A special coil was developed to target this area – versus the lateral pre-frontal cortex targeted in treating depression – and as a result, the Brainsway Deep TMS device is the only TMS system on the market cleared for OCD treatment.

TMS Center of Colorado was the first center in Denver—and one of the first in the United States—to treat OCD with Deep TMS.


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Note: Information on this site is for reference purposes only. It is not intended to be nor should it be taken as medical advice. Individuals should see a medical professional regarding their symptoms.