Albuquerque doctor uses innovative treatment for depression
Posted at: 05/23/2012 3:05 PM
| Updated at: 05/24/2012 7:32 AM
By: Heather Mills, KOB Eyewitness News 4
About 19 million Americans suffer from major depression, but the treatment options are often limited.
That's why an Albuquerque doctor is paving the way for a new, cutting-edge treatment that involves magnetic stimulation instead of medication.
Kathy Gwash says she's been fighting depression her whole life.
"I don't think I knew what it was to be happy."
She says even getting out of bed was hard. She tried therapy, even checked herself into an outpatient facility, nothing worked.
"I just tried every medication the doctors would recommend. I would just try to keep going and I finally just got to the point where I couldn't go anymore," Gwash said.
That's when she found TMS, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation at Sage Neuroscience Center in Albuquerque.
Unlike medication; which travels through the entire body; TMS targets just the part of the brain that controls mood. Magnetic pulses stimulate key neurons in the brain which force those cells to become more active.
Dr. Reuben Sutter, the Medical Director at Sage Neuroscience Center said, "We want to wake that up, we went to get that to fire more."
The treatment is about 20 to 30 sessions, just 40 minutes a day.
Dr. Sutter says 2/3 of patients in his practice who've tried TMS have reported a significant decrease in their symptoms or complete remission.
"I noticed a change the very first day," said Gwash.
Her husband Kris also noticed a difference.
"She was always sleeping, she was crying a lot. Her focus, attention span was very limited. It's good to have her back."
Dr. Sutter says Kathy is the perfect example of why TMS is changing the way depression can be treated.
"This is so exciting. This is exactly why I went into this!"
TMS was just recently added to the American Psychiatric Associations Depression Treatment Guidelines.
It is FDA approved, however, it is not yet covered by most insurance plans.