Treating depression without drugs

TMS treatment in Vero Beach

VERO BEACH, Fla. - For many people, the treatment of depression involves prescription drugs. But what happens if the pills don't do the trick?

For most of Jesse White's 33 years, he's been looking for some sense of stability.

"Four rehabs, I've been to some of the best in the country, White said.

Six months ago, his brother died in a motorcycle crash. White fell into a deep depression.

"You could sleep for a week, get up and go right back to sleep.  It's terrible you have no energy," he recalled.

With those failed rehab stints behind him, a friend told him about what was happening at the University of Florida's Center for Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine in Vero Beach.

In what looks like a dentist chair, White would begin TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

"This stuff works, it may seem like snake oil from the tabloids but it works ," said Dr. Wayne Creelman, head of the UF center.

Dr. Creelman says after 30 consecutive daily treatments of about half an hour each, his patients have an 85-percent success rate.

"Becoming more motivated.  They're sleeping less, they're appetites are improving," said Dr. Creelman.

When undergoing treatment for TMS, a magnetic coil is attached to the scalp. Using magnetic pulses, doctors first need to locate the patients' motor strip. Then, they have to find what's called the dorso lateral nucleus.

"It almost feels a little like a thump on the head," said Jesse White.

The electrical current activates the neurons in the region to help regulate the chemical imbalance and improve your mood.

"I feel great. I don't have any more anxiety like I did. I go to the beach, I do stuff by myself that you would have never caught me doing before unless I was drinking or something like that you know," said White.

So why isn't TMS more popular?  One reason, the FDA says it can't be a "first treatment option." Not only that, there's the cost of about 10-thousand dollars, and most insurance companies don't cover it.

Dr. Creelman, who's written many books on how drugs *do* work, says rather than give patients another antidepressant that may fail them, why not give them a different chance at success .

White finishes his treatments in another week. He hopes this is the one, that keeps his mind health y for good.

If you'd like to find out more about TMS, the UF facility in Vero Beach is hosting a new patient information session Wednesday night May 15th from 5-6pm at their office across from the Indian River Medical Center at 840 37th Place.

For more information, you can call them at 772-794-0179.

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