It’s called TMS, but that’s its official name. Now you can see why we call it TMS—it’s just easier to say. It has a large variety of uses: Depression, Bipolar Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, Parkinson’s, Tinnitus. For many patients with these conditions, and who have not responded to other treatments, TMS has proven extremely effective. It also has the benefit of being drug-free, noninvasive, and FDA approved. Alivation is one of the best—and largest—providers of TMS in the United States today. Dr. Duffy has been a leader in TMS, having treated more than 800 patients, and delivering over 24,000 sessions.
One of the biggest benefits to TMS is the lack of pain. When people hear the treatment name, they assume it must at least cause a headache. It doesn’t. At most, some patients feel a mild tapping sensation, and possibly light pressure on the targeted areas after. Compared to the side effects that can be experienced with prescription medication to treat these same conditions, that’s a walk in the park. Each session lasts around 20-25 minutes, and the treatments vary from, on average, 31 to 36 sessions. There is no anesthesia or sedation, so you can drive yourself home after the treatment without worry. There is no pain.
Alivation was one of the first to provide this service in the region. We started back in 2011, during the Premier Psychiatric days, and it’s been one of our core services ever since, and something we proudly offer. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the primary one is simple: it works. TMS has proven to be very effective, and the resulting positive life benefits for patients have been noticeable. In terms of Next Level Care, this is it. When we first became interested in TMS, it was still considered experimental. Now it is FDA-approved, with a host of peer-reviewed studies done by medical journals corroborating these findings, according to Harvard Health.
Of course, patients are always a little bit hesitant when they see the machine. It’s natural to be nervous for a new treatment. The machine cycles through pulses as it works; it sounds a bit like an AC unit. Over the course of each session, the machine will make various sounds, nothing particularly loud. Some patients have been known to find the experience soothing, and will actually fall asleep during it. They are woken up, however, as one needs to be awake during the treatment. It is also recommended to think about positive things, good thoughts. Patients who are optimistic, hope for a positive outcome and desire treatment are more likely to benefit from TMS. Those who make lifestyle changes concurrently with it have excellent benefits.
There are four TMS machines at Alivation: three are in active use, one is in research. Alivation has regular appointments for use in all of them. Since 2011, the use has gone steadily up. Tony, Patient Services Care Coordinators at Alivation, said the effect on patients is outwardly noticeable. Many will come in sunken, downbeat; by the end of their session cycle, they are more alert, friendlier. Many begin to view the TMS process itself as a positive experience in their lives, and enjoy the interactions with the providers and care coordinators. Alivation’s providers, in turn, enjoy seeing the patients’ quality of life improve so drastically.
We have experience sheets for patients to fill out, to make sure they’re getting the most out of their experience. The results are often incredible:
Patient before TMS: “Most of the time I was exhausted & worried. I couldn’t even function most days. I felt completely worthless.”
Patient after TMS: “I have gotten my first job in 5 ½ years. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I have more energy. I enjoy doing things for myself.”
One simply said, “I now have hope.”
There are dozens like this, patients hobbled by depression freed from it. Many report better relations with friends and family, more hobbies, lifestyle changes, new jobs. One referred to themselves as “a productive citizen” who “found my self-worth” after. From a medical standpoint, these are the kind of things that keep us going. But when a patient says they felt they were failing at life, had no worth, fantasized daily about suicide, and then turns into an active, happier individual, the polar opposite to where they were when they started? Then that makes everything we do worthwhile.
The Experience of TMS
People keep talking about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
Alivation is one of the largest, and best, providers of TMS in the country. We were also one of the first to adopt it as a consistent mental health treatment. The science has only continued to back us up on it in the 8 years since. When you hear TMS on the news, it’s usually in the context of depression and OCD, the latter something the FDA only approved last year. But TMS also seems to have beneficial effects on working memory, specifically as a therapy for individuals with Alzheimer’s. This is an incredibly exciting time for TMS as a result. Its possibilities are beginning to be explored.
We’ve talked about TMS repeatedly; we’ve discussed it in podcasts, interviews, blogs, Facebook posts, tweets, articles, everything you can imagine. We believe in it because it works. But part of why we believe in TMS is because you don’t necessarily have to take our word for it—we have case studies and testimonials from hundreds of patients over several years all attesting to its benefits. We won’t present facts and scientific studies for this blog—we’ll let the words of the patients who’ve successfully completed a course of TMS treatment speak for themselves.
On our testimonials, we ask people to describe their lives before TMS, and their subsequent lives after. We also have them rate Alivation on our performance and services, so we get valuable feedback not only on the TMS treatment, but also on our overall treatment of the patient while they’re visiting our organization.
How did you feel before TMS?
“Anxious, sad, depressed, exhausted, hopeless.” “Prior to TMS I was extremely depressed. I lost interest in almost everything that I was once interested in. I had trouble getting out of bed due to lack of motivation.” “Very depressed/anxious. Could hardly function in daily life, couldn’t find motivation to do every day things.” “Major anxiety & depression & suicidal thoughts constantly.” “Extreme anxiety and low self-esteem and confidence. Inability to focus and remember things. Feeling depressed.” “Most of the time I was exhausted & worried I couldn’t even function most days I felt completely worthless.”
Those are features common to all assessments. Anxiety, depression, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, suicidal ideation. The experience in the brain, though it occurs differently in all people, still has similar features. There’s a great overlap in the experiences our patients describe when they come in, and the pain of their challenges with mental health. Many are fighting the same uphill battles when they schedule their TMS appointment.
Since beginning dTMS therapy, your life has changed:
“Anxiety has lessened, less feelings of despair.” “Depression and anxiety have been reduced enough for me to be able to use all resources available to me to improve myself and have much higher self-confidence. Feel confident that I will continue to feel better in the future.” “I have gotten my 1st job in 5 1/2 years I am looking forward to tomorrow. I have more energy. I enjoy doing things for myself.” “I definitely have less episodes of depression (fewer episodes and less severe intensity) I feel like I am more positive in almost every situation, and I now have hope!” “I was feeling better in just a few days. They explained everything that was going on. I didn’t feel like crying anymore. I used to worry about going to work on Sunday nights and that all disappeared. If anyone is having depression, they should have the dTMS.”
We have hundreds more such anecdotes, countless stories of people whose lives have been bettered by the experience of TMS. To see lives transformed is why we do what we do; it makes Next Level You into an ideal worth striving for rather than just a slogan. If you’re having challenges, call us today. We’ll work with you every step of the way to make sure you feel the way you deserve to feel, and have the tools to achieve the self you want.