This is a story of Reed Butler, someone who has made a living as a rhythm and blues musician. Unfortunately, like many, he endured several trials of antidepressants. He’d lost his passion for playing music, found it hard to read the sheets of music, and just day to day basic activities of living seemed like a tremendous feat. Depression kept him inside, leaving him frightened to go out, be a part of gigs and getting more gigs. Being a musician is quite competitive and if depression is cutting into self esteem, it makes it all the harder to do well in the industry. After his course of treatment, he regained his energy and felt like he could experience the normal ups and downs of day to day life again. Normal activities of daily living no longer felt like a challenge. Mr. Butler got his care at Achieve TMS, which has several locations and specifically was under the care of Dr. Rebecca Knapp.
Dr. Knapp describes TMS as a procedure that works with the similar scientific concepts of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) but without need for hospitalization, anesthesia, and memory changes. Patients are able to drive themselves to and from treatment. A treatment session is 20 minutes long and a full course of treatment is 36 sessions. The first month, the patient attends 5 days a week and depending on if the patient is in remission, they either undergo 2 sessions a week. The most common side effects are discomfort at the scalp at the site of treatment but many patients find it quite tolerable and this greatly attenuates after the first few sessions. Some patients also notice some muscle twitching during the treatment session as you stimulate some parts of the nervous that coordinate muscle movement. Most insurers, even Medicare and Medicaid are now covering this service.
Dr. Knapp states about 75% of the population with treatment resistant depression who come for treatment with deep TMS do respond to this treatment and at least 1/3 achieve remission. What is also exciting about TMS is the potential to treat other disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addictions and many more.
Achieve TMS has about 7 facilities and they have treated at least 100 patients. Marjorie Pierce is the director of operations. Ms. Pierce stated that many providers will dip their toes in the water by referring some of their most resistant/challenging cases. After seeing positive results, more referrals tend to follow through.