Depression Patients Trade-In Medication - FOX 13 News

Depression Patients Trade-In Medication For Transcranial Magnetic Simulation

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Forget the winter blues, depression can be a serious problem year-round. In fact, within the next 5 years depression is expected to be the number one cause of disability in the US.

FOX 29's Joyce Evans has more on a new way some patients are trading in their medications for magnets to find relief.

Casey Herzog has painful memories about what life was like just three years ago.

"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, parents say they love you, but you don't care." Casey remembers

The only thing Casey did back then was sleep, go to work, then sleep some more.

"I was always one to hold everything in. People thought I am always so happy, and everything's great,' but inside, there was stuff, and I didn't want to tell anyone," says Casey.

Then Casey found the help she was looking for through transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS.

"It's like a woodpecker knocking on you. At first, it is sensitive in that area, but you get used to it easily," Casey recalls.

Dr. Daniela White explains the procedure. "Electric current creates an impulse that will penetrate the skull and stimulate the area of the brain that is responsible for producing the symptoms of depression."

Dr. White is a psychiatrist. She says the magnet creates an electrical field that releases serotonin and epinephrine. Medications can do something similar to this.

The difference between this therapy and medication is this localized and strictly specified for the area responsible for depression. Medications are systemic treatment," says Dr. White.

Medications reach all parts of the body and can cause side effects.

Casey believes in the transcranial magnetic stimulation.

"I like living now, I like living every day," says Casey.

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 ," declares Vicki.

After a few weeks of treatment, Vicki's life was turned around. She started a new hobby of embroidering.

4 years ago, she was in a bad place. She was suffering from early onset menopause but was also shocked and devastated over the death of her mom.

"I was suicidal. I went through all the anti-depressants. I had so many side effects. My last option was TMS. My husband said we can't live like this anymore. He said you cannot put a price on the quality of life," remembers Vicki

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," Vicki said.

Both ladies admit they were skeptical at first but are believers now and are reassured that it is safe.

"We have 20 years of research backing it up," assures Dr. White.

A few health insurance companies do cover the cost. TMS is still quite expensive. It is about $300 per treatment and multiple treatments are needed.

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