BayView Professional Associates introduces new option for treating major depressive disorder

Sadness is a natural part of life. People may feel sad or depressed when someone they love passes away, or they experience one of life’s challenges, such as a serious illness or divorce. These feelings are normal and often short-lived. However, for some, the feeling of sadness can persist and intensify for extended periods. When that happens, they may have major depressive disorder. Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States and the most common diagnosis treated by AltaPointe clinicians.

AltaPointe’s BayView Professional Associates is offering a new treatment option to help adults struggling with major depressive disorder, specifically for those who have tried and failed other treatment options and medications. “We are excited to offer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to adult patients at BayView,” said Olivia Nettles, director of BayView Professional Associates. “Treatment-resistant depression is a devastating condition associated with early death from suicide or poor physical health and an impaired ability to work. There is a population of patients who do not respond to antidepressant treatment, and this is another option available to help them live a better life.”

TMS is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. When a nerve cell “fires,” an electrical impulse travels along its length. It communicates with other nerve cells by releasing neuro-transmitters, which create an electrical impulse in other cells. In depressed patients, electrical activity in some regions of the brain is reduced. TMS uses a focused electromagnetic coil to rapidly pulse a magnetic field to the targeted area of the brain. The magnetic pulses induce an electrical current in the brain, stimulating the nerve cells and increasing the brain activity to normal levels.

John Conrad, assistant director of BayView Professional Associate and a licensed independent clinical social worker with more than 25 years of experience, encourages people to learn all they can about the treatment. “If you have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and medication is not working, or the side effects are intolerable, you should ask your doctor about TMS,” Conrad said. “Treatment-resistant depression is historically debilitating; this is a new option with fewer side effects than traditional medications, and offers a chance to live life anew.”

Some people living with major depressive disorder cannot remember life without depression. The National Institute of Health estimates 10 to 30 percent of people with depression do not respond to first-line treatments. Treatment-resistant depression is a clinical concern and can pose significant burdens to patients and their families.

“TMS is readily incorporated into the patient’s treatment plan and allows for minimal disruption during the day. Appointments run 35 minutes at the most. Research supports the use of TMS to treat major depressive disorder, as well as anecdotal experience,” Sean Sinclair, M.D., said. “This new option for patients adds immensely to our services here at BayView.”

To learn more about how TMS may help you, call BayView Professional Associates at (251) 450-2250.

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