Jul 7, 2018

TMS for depression



I had a conversation today with a dear friend who suffers from unexpected bouts of deep depression that send her to bed, unable to function until the event passes. She said it's like a cloak that comes over her, and her brain simply cannot accept "helpful" advice. We got on to the subject of suicide and she completely understood the recent spate of well-known, as well as the very frequent lesser-known occurrences, notably by people who have weaned off of medications yet are ill-equipped to cope with the emotional impacts. She shared that in that depressed state, suicide seems to be the only thing that makes sense. It just is. What keeps her around (thank goodness!) is that she remembers that it's temporary.


In seeking help for a family member, I recently learned of an FDA-approved noninvasive, non-drug treatment for depression called transcranial magnetic stimulation. TMS is offered at medical centers and universities around the country, and is generally considered highly effective for depression and other conditions, without side effects.


I've also been researching personal devices like the Fisher Wallace Stimulator and CES Ultra, both of which have positive reviews without side effects. (I'm surmising that the lack of public knowledge about rTMS has much to do with the fact that this safe and effective treatment is generally not covered by insurance. A topic for another day.)


If you have experienced TMS, I would love to know your thoughts. If you have not, and are looking for an alternative to drug therapy, I hope that you find this helpful. I would love to know what you learn. In the LA area, TMS is available at various locations through UCLA.

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  • I recently indulged in one of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History Podcasts that I found to be particularly relevant to what we are doing at OOTify and what is going on in the world today. First, let me say that this is not a plug for Malcolm Gladwell or his podcast, but really, you should listen to it. It is excellent and he is a brilliant writer and researcher! If you have not heard the podcast or read his books do yourself a favor and dive in. You will not be disappointed. The episode I’m referring to is the August 1st episode “Descend into the Particular”. It is the third episode in a 3 part series where he is discussing the Jesuit way of thinking referred to as Casuistry. This particular episode is using the hot button issue of law enforcement shootings and people’s perceptions of them to illustrate his point that history is not exactly how we have perceived it and that it can be thought of in different ways. He highlights a story of a man who was shot by police officers in New Mexico in 2016. He opens the episode with the information that the public was initially given: that the young latino man was shot too many times and was unarmed. Malcom Gladwell then goes on several masterful tangents as only he can and comes back to this story to finish the episode. It turns out that the young Latino man had committed suicide by cop. Malcolm Gladwell interviews the criminologist who examined the case during the trial brought about by the victim’s family and they proceed to “descend into the particulars”. They go into the back-story of this young man who had been seeing a therapist and who had been having suicidal thoughts. They discuss the particulars of the young man’s actions leading up to the shooting and review police video. Malcolm Gladwell then talks to the young man’s brother who proceeds to tell him that he had no idea that his brother had been seeing a therapist or that he had been struggling with depression. This is when I decided to write this post. It is in line with some of my past posts. There are too many people out there suffering in silence. There ended up being three victims in this case; the actual victim who died, his family and the officer who killed him. This all likely could have been prevented if this young man could have reached out for help, if he had a good support system. I don’t know about the family or about this unfortunate young man, but I can’t help but think that this sort of thing is preventable. A strong support system is invaluable when you are going through difficult times and it can potentially save your life. If you need help it is out there. http://revisionisthistory.com/seasons

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