Magnets replace medication for depression - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Magnets replace medication for depression

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A lot of people suffer from the holiday blues, but depression can be a problem any time of the year. In fact, within the next five years, depression is expected to be the number one cause of disability in the U.S. Some patients are now trading in their medications for magnetic stimulation, to get relief from this emotionally painful problem.

Casey Herzog has been seeking help at Midtown TMS Treatment Center in Houston the past three years. She remembers all too well what depression feels like. "You'd rather be dead. You just don't want to go through what's out there, you don't know sunshine. People mean something to you, your parents say they love you, but you don't care," she explains. The only thing Casey did back then was sleep and go to work. "I was always one to hold everything in. People thought: 'Oh, you're always so happy, and everything's great,' but inside, there was stuff, and I didn't want to tell anyone. I was in a bad job situation where they were really taking advantage of me," says Casey.

She found the help she was looking for through Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS. "It feels like a woodpecker knocking on you. At first, it is sensitive in that area, but you get used to it easily," she says. Psychiatrist, Dr. Daniela White, explains how it works, because it's much more than just waving magnets over the head. "Electric currents create an impulse that will penetrate the skull and stimulate the area of the brain that is responsible for producing the symptoms of depression," says Dr. White. She goes on to explain that the magnet creates an electrical field that releases seratonin and epinephrine. Medications can do something similar. "The difference between this therapy and medication, this is localized and strictly specified for the area responsible for depression. Medications are systemic treatment," says Dr. White. That means medications reach all parts of the body and can cause side effects, Dr. White explains.

Casey is a believer. "I like living now, I like living everyday," she boasts. Vicki Kilburn feels the same way. "TMS has saved my life. I mean literally! I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for TMS," exclaims Vicki. Four years ago, she was in a bad place. She was suffering from early on-set menopause but was also shocked and devastated over the death of her mom. "I was suicidal. went through all the anti-depressants. I had so many side effects. My last option was TMS and my husband said, we can't live like this anymore. He said, you cannot put a price on the quality of life," says Vicki.

Within a few weeks of treatment here, Vicki's life was turned around and she started a new hobby of embroidering. Finally, after two years of misery, she felt like living again. "I could feel after the third week, something was changing in my life! I wanted to get out of bed. I wanted to see people and interact with them. Before, just leave me alone! I wanted to sit and cry and be left alone," says Vicki. Both ladies admit they were skeptical at first, but are believers now and are reassured that it is safe.

"We have twenty years of research backing it up," states Dr. White. She also says a few health insurance companies cover the cost. If not, it is expensive: about $300-$400 per treatment and multiple treatments are needed.

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