If you suffer from clinical depression and aren't finding the relief you want from medication, the Avera Behavioral Health Center in Sioux Falls now offers a new outpatient treatment. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on how the half hour treatment work and why one Sioux Falls woman is looking forward to getting started.
Chelsy Walsh is 29 and has suffered from clinical depression basically her whole life.
"I remember being 7 and contemplating suicide, " Chelsy said.
Chelsy has tried a number of treatments over the years, including inpatient therapy here at the Avera Behavioral Health Center.
"At 14 I was diagnosed with depression. I was put on medicine and it has so many side effects and it's overwhelming the side effects. They are very disruptive," Chelsy said.
When Chelsy learned about a new clinical trial here using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy, TMS for short, she immediately enrolled. This is the only place in South Dakota that offers TMS Therapy. Dr. Matt Stanley is Chelsy's Psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Avera Behavioral Health Center.
"Using electrical stimulus generated by a powerful magnet, much like an MRI, to focus energy into the cortex of the brain," Dr. Stanley with Avera Medical Group University Psychiatry Associates Sioux Falls said.
Dr. Stanley says this type of treatment has been in development for 20 years and in this instance was cleared to treat major depression by the FDA in 2008. The trick was finding the right part of the brain to stimulate and the right amount of energy.
"It doesn't involve anesthesia, it doesn't involve inducing a seizure. People can drive to this and drive away. They can come over their lunch hour and get the procedure. It's beneficial in that it will help treat patients that medicine hasn't but an alternate to medicine. We have a lot of people who just don't tolerate medication, "Dr. Stanley said.
Chelsy is one of them. Her hope is to get off medication all together with the use of TMS therapy, but every patient will have different expectations. The one thing everyone can expect though is the lack of side effects.
"You are alert, awake and talking through the procedure and we are looking forward to using that time for other therapies while the patient is sitting there and they don't have to worry about common side effects or ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) and in a little more than half an hour the results will build over time.
Chelsy starts her treatments this month and is looking forward to it.
"I've come to realize it really is an illness that left untreated will cause death," Chelsy said.
So she's not letting it come to that. She has every intention of living in the light without the dark cloud of depression hanging over her head.
To find out if TMS Therapy can help you or a loved one suffering from depression, Dr. Stanley is hosting a free To Be Well Community Health Seminar on Thursday June 21st at 6:30 pm at the Avera Living Well Center at 33rd and Minnesota Avenue. To register call 877-AT-AVERA (877-282-8372). You can also go to www.AveraMcKennan.org and click on the events calendar.