No Longer Depressed

Article Date: Jul 25, 2013

Imagine going through life with a dark cloud hanging over your head. The sun never seems quite bright enough, getting out of bed is a chore.

Cindy McIntosh spent years seeing grey skies - diagnosed with major depression and anxiety disorder when her son was just 2 years old.

"I thought why am I like this; why am I sad all the time and anxious. I didn't see other people having the same thing going on in their life and I felt different because of it," Cindy said.

For Cindy being different and feeling isolated became a way of life – medicine helped but she never felt quite right.

"My depression would wax and wane, so would my anxiety," Cindy said.

Finally after an illness caused her medicine to stop working, Cindy decided to try a relatively new treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS. She found it at Alegent Creighton Health.

"My husband said let's do this because you deserve it - and it worked," Cindy said.

TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive non-drug treatment for depression recently cleared by the FDA. TMS is approved for adult patients 18 and above who are still suffering from depression and have not responded to anti depressant drug use.

TMS therapy starts with a large coil near the scalp. The patient sits in what looks like a dentist's chair. Once measurements are taken, an electric current goes to work - pulsing for 4 seconds on 26 seconds off.

"The tapping is the magnetic pulse going in to try to stimulate the neurons that are underactive with depression," said Theresa Kinnison, Nurse Care Manager with the TMS Center at Alegent Creighton Health.

"It's not like the movies where you see someone getting shocked. The pulse feels like a tapping sensation," said Dr. Arun Sharma, Medical Director at Alegent Creighton Health Behavioral Health Services.

Cindy saw results almost immediately. She started sleeping better, things seemed more in focus. She was no longer emotionally flat and it all happened within weeks.

"I see a huge difference in a lot of people; Cindy was probably the most significant," said Kinnison.

"I really liked how I was feeling better. I felt like I was get the life back that was missing for a long time," said Cindy.

Cindy has energy now, she's engaged in life. Her son who's now 34 made this observation.

"My son said mom you're happy and you smile. I see such a difference in you. You have a light in your eyes I haven't seen for a long time. It made me cry. My husband said I have my wife back. I didn't realize I was gone," said Cindy.

There are no side effects with TMS and clinical trials show significant improvement – one in three patients is symptom free after 4 to 6 weeks.

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