Twenty percent of Americans experience some form of depression in their lifetime, according to Dr. Stanley Jennings of Tucker Psychiatric Clinic. Many find relief through medication. For others, however, drugs — and their side effects — don't provide any reprieve, and peace of mind proves elusive.
Adult Richmonders suffering from major depressive disorder now have another treatment from which to choose. Tucker is one of the first facilities in the nation to offer a new transcranial magnetic-stimulation remedy, NeuroStar TMS Therapy, available at the local clinic beginning in May. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in October, this nonsystemic (does not circulate in the bloodstream), noninvasive (no surgery necessary) treatment is performed in a specially designed chair, similar to that of a dentist. It is administered using an electromagnet that delivers a series of magnetic pulses to the part of the brain associated with depression. Mild headaches and scalp irritation may occur.
"This therapy offers a new form of hope for my patients who've not recovered from their depression," Jennings says. "For 40 or 50 of my patients, I've tried everything, and they've not responded to [traditional] treatments. I think the possibilities for this kind of intervention are limitless," he adds.
Tucker joins the ranks of institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Harvard, Yale and Johns Hopkins universities in becoming one of the first facilities in the country to offer NeuroStar TMS Therapy.
Created by Neuronetics, the high-tech chair delivers a 40-minute outpatient procedure that is performed under the supervision of a psychiatrist. No anesthesia or sedation is required, and patients remain awake throughout the process. Standard treatment is scheduled for several times a week for four to six weeks, depending on the patient's response. For more information, visit tuckerpsychiatric.com and neuronetics.com.