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Published on July 22, 2020

Sit Back, Relax ... and Combat Depression

Orland Park resident Danielle* had “tried everything” to help ease the symptoms of her depression. For most of her adult life she had taken medication and been in therapy. Her doctor regularly monitored her mental and physical health, adjusting her medication as needed. “I would take different medications, and they would eventually help my symptoms, but it would take time to find the right combination and dosage,” Danielle said. “It was a constant struggle.”

At a recent visit with her therapist, Danielle happened to read an article about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a new FDA-approved therapy for depression being offered at Palos Hospital. “My doctor thought I might be a good candidate, and he put me in touch with TMS therapy coordinator Jill Haley, RN, who was able to answer more of my questions. After talking with her, I felt ready to give TMS a try.”

TMS therapy treats depression by using highly focused magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain. By activating the natural function of neurotransmitters, the brain can begin operating in a manner to positively impact mood. Palos Medical Group Psychiatrist Mona Lal, MD, advocates the use of TMS: “TMS allows patients to be treated safely and effectively for depression without the adverse side effects often associated with the use of multiple medications. It is also helpful when medications do not offer relief from depressive symptoms. Patients can drive themselves to and from appointments as there is no downtime with TMS therapy.”

Palos is currently the only hospital in the south suburbs offering TMS treatment. “Doctors here recognized the need for it in our community,” explains Haley. “For patients that have not responded adequately to antidepressant medications, it can be an effective choice with or without their current medication regimen. In fact, 68.5 percent of patients treated at Palos Health have reported a significant decrease in their overall depressive symptoms.”

Is TMS Therapy Right for You?

TMS Therapy may be an option if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Have been identified with depression and have not benefited from prior medication
  • Medication side effects are an issue
  • Standard treatments such as medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy) are ineffective

TMS patients commit to six weeks of treatment, five days a week. The actual treatment time is under half an hour, and takes place in a comfortable recliner chair. According to Danielle, the treatments were uneventful. “The machine touches your head and it pulses. It’s not painful but it is a bit annoying. I was able to receive treatments during my lunch hour, and Jill and I would chit chat to pass the time.”

Toward the end of her TMS treatments, Danielle began to notice a significant difference in her depressive symptoms. “The benefits seem to build up over time, and a month after I completed the treatments I really noticed improvement. I would wake up feeling like I wasn’t going to have to battle the world. I was happier and didn’t have so much weight on my shoulders. My husband and best friend also noticed a positive change.”

If you are someone who struggles with depression TMS Therapy may be an option for you. Contact Palos Behavioral Health at 708.460.2721 to schedule an initial appointment. Most major insurances cover TMS. Note that all equipment and surfaces are sanitized before and after each patient.

*Name has been changed for privacy