Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for long-term depression

Posted by Bax @tbaxter33, Mar 16, 2018

Does anyone have any experience with TMS therapy for long term depression? I have fought the demons of depression for years. Some days are better than others, but finding the emotional energy to do anything other than go to work and do the job is next to impossible most of the time now. I have been on several different medications over the years. I can’t say that any particular one made a notable difference at all. I am continually frustrated with a lack of energy and a lack of desire to do the things that I once enjoyed, and that I had looked forward to at this stage of life. Every day, I pretty much feel like “this is it” — as good as it is ever going to get — and the opportunity of any meaningful contribution of life is over — done — finished. Retirement is something that I longed for over the years. As it draws nearer, I fear it because I see myself just fading away and soon gone. So, I ask about TMS therapy. It is very expensive, requires a huge time committement, and is not covered by medical insurance. I have spoken with doctors (psychiatrists) at a couple of top hospitals in the nation and have not gotten stellar reports from them. The consensus was that it works for some but not for others and the success rates are fair at best overall. Having said that, my doc says they have seen amazing results from the therapy and people complete it and the negative thoughts are pretty much gone. He says their success rate is extremely high. I have not done it because: a) too much time away from work; b) too costly and not covered by medical insurance; c) the reports from two docs from world known excellent institutions which were not glowing. I have searched for answers for years, with none. Now, I have developed chronic pain in the lumbar area, legs, neck, shoulders, arms, etc. I am working on the back with a major pain managment group with some injections which I hope will help.

So, based on no responses, it sounds like nobody has any reports on TMS.

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I did TMS for depression. Normally, it costs about $200 for daily sessions, five days a week, for about six weeks. With Medicare, it cost me $40 a session. TMS, for me, long term-depression, it helped dramatically for about 6 months. Then it wore off. You can do TMS two 6 week rounds, but I'm still deciding. You see, things I've learned from the TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) neurostar.com – is that, in my lay opinion, depression is a multi-pronged disease, with genetic components, traumatic experiences and losses, social isolation, improper nutrition, lack of exercise, lack of meaning in one's life, goals, and positive people who tell you "yes, you can do it" around you and doing things just for fun that used to make you happy, that unless you have all that, a "non-depression lifestyle" imho, then TMS alone may not be enough. One has to "fix" all of it and make major lifestyle changes if can.

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Hello, @tbaxter33 — I'm sorry your emotional energy is low right now, along with your energy and desire to do things you once enjoyed.

I thought you might be interested in this Mayo Clinic information about transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): http://mayocl.in/2HXWjpX.

I believe that some other Connect members who've dealt with depression and have looked at and/or been involved with a variety of therapies may have some thoughts for you, like @jimhd, @parus, @georgette12, @trider7140, @padraig, @wendyw and @theotherone. I am also tagging @toshkana, who was also interested in this therapy.

Are you pursuing other therapy while you research TMS, then, @tbaxter33?

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@stressedmesseddepressed

I did TMS for depression. Normally, it costs about $200 for daily sessions, five days a week, for about six weeks. With Medicare, it cost me $40 a session. TMS, for me, long term-depression, it helped dramatically for about 6 months. Then it wore off. You can do TMS two 6 week rounds, but I'm still deciding. You see, things I've learned from the TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) neurostar.com – is that, in my lay opinion, depression is a multi-pronged disease, with genetic components, traumatic experiences and losses, social isolation, improper nutrition, lack of exercise, lack of meaning in one's life, goals, and positive people who tell you "yes, you can do it" around you and doing things just for fun that used to make you happy, that unless you have all that, a "non-depression lifestyle" imho, then TMS alone may not be enough. One has to "fix" all of it and make major lifestyle changes if can.

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I had TMS for depression back in 2009-2010 at Rush Pres. in Chicago. At that time insurance did not cover the expense. Overall, I had 43 sessions from November 2009 to February 2010. I paid $15,000.00 out of pocket for this treatment. I felt it was a positive experience and had relief from my depression.

Within the past years I have admitted myself in a psychiatric hospital 3 -4 times. I also had ECT while in the last hospital stay. With this treatment I lost a great deal of my memory. I have also had medications of all sorts throughout the years. Recently I was given a genetic test to indicate what medications would be best for me. I feel that I have found the correct medication because of this genetic test, and correct doses which give me relief.

I have recently had 36 TMS treatments at my psychiatrist's office. Medicare paid 80 % and the remaining 20 % was written off as I have limited resources. But, I also realize that life situations create depression. Currently my husband and I are separated although he spends most of the time at my home. For the last year and a half he has provided me with a monetary amount that helps with my expenses since my separation. I am now on a small pension and 1/3 of my Social Security. It is $1,200 a month and my expenses do not cover the bills. Now I wonder if I must make decisions on whether I stay in a marriage that has issues that may not be resolved and continue with times of depression. His pension and Social Security is enormous and he is not financial transparent with me. It seems to be a roller coaster ride. Up and Down!

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TMS is now covered 80 % with 20 % left to pay. Can you ask if they can absorb the 20 %? Also, the treatments are very tolerable and if you can make appointments before work, you can have the treatments before you go to work. That way no loss of work time. Good luck! and, God bless!

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I see you posted your inquiry in March and I hope you've found the answers you need. I had TMS when it was in the early years and at that time the patient's had to pay for all of the treatments out of pocket. However, my Dr petitioned my ins company andI I was his very first patient to have it covered through ins. It is widely accepted now with ins coverage. My experience after about 18 treatments was excellent. I went from very depressed and hopeless to realizing one night I was actually dancing to the music that was being played. I was back to me again. The depression stayed away for a long time but did eventually return. I understand now for me the treatments will be repeated for closer to 30 times instead of the original 18 I initially received. My MD thought research seems to show the effects are longer lasting by increasing the treatment to more sessions. He always said that if I felt it was slipping I could come back for a few booster sessions. I am going to do it again now years after my first very positive experience. It really helped me then and I look forward to a great outcome again. In addition I do receive professional therapy with a psychologist and PTSD counselor and see my Psychiatrist on a regular bases. For me it takes me and a team to work through the depression but the TMS was an excellent tool to use.

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I have had mixed results with TMS. Had ECT 20 yrs ago and it worked for me for a couple of years. I went back last year for TMS and it did bring me back to normal but I relapsed 6 months later and now I'm back in TMS again.
For me the ECT worked best with the longest remission (2 yrs). However, it is much more invassive. Anesthesia 3 times a week for 4 weeks and 2 additional weeeks of not driving your car. I had some short term memory loss which was traumatic but I would be willing to do it again to have a remission length that is 4 times longer.
TMS on the other hand has no memory loss, no anesthesia. I had to go in 5 days/week for several weeks. So both are time consuming.
As for insurance, it paid for all the treatments (TMS and ECT).

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I am 65 yrs. but had to retire at 62. I suffered from depression for many years , since I married actually. I didn’t seek help until I had a major crisis at work. I was a Pediatric/neonatal nurse. I was working nights and it made me crazy. I had to go on leave. I finally left the hospital and went to work in a medical practice where I was paid half the salary with new stresses. Also had stresses at home with cheating husband, bankruptcy, foreclosure and divorce. I have been seeing a Psychologist for 10 years and with his help and some medications I weathered the storm but wasn’t happy. I had some medical issues which prevented me from working and retired on SSDisability and a pension from the hospital. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wasn’t enjoying my hobbies, tired all the time, no motivation, just stuck. I looked into TMS as their was a local office. I live in MA so plenty of big hospitals and smart docs. Anyway I met with their Psychiatrist who thought I would benefit and started treatments in June of 2018. My Medicare totally covered it. The method they used was Brainsway. I had treatments Mon thru Fri daily for 6 weeks then tapered off. I didn’t notice a response until the end and so they extended for 15 more treatments. I feel much better, no longer have that ever present anxiety, can carry on a conversation and feel hopeful about the future. I still see my therapist weekly and still take some maintenance meds. They call to follow up and encourage you to call if you feel like you’re slipping to get booster treatments. Treatments were uncomfortable but tolerable. I wouldn’t have been able to work after. My family noticed the change in my mood. So for me TMS worked well and was worth the time commitment. I finally finished in September. My Dad died which was a setback but I’m doing better. I would recommend it. They are professional, knowledgeable and friendly and do all they can to make you comfortable. It’s called Achieve east with offices in Western MA and now on the south shore.

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My depression has worsened over the past 4 years, when empty nesting caused me to realize all of the things I had swept under the rug; not knowing I had done so! We raised our 3 kids in a loving, caring, and “normal” suburban lifestyle, then when all of the kids left the roost I tanked. Things from childhood (alcoholism home) and then 7 major medical things over the past 9 years. It was rough!

My antidepressants aren’t working as well as when we were raising our kids, I think because I was just coasting along in “mom auto-pilot” then…not really tackling my depression. I’ve had several counselors over the years, but haven’t found a really good one. Super frustrating. I’m now researching TMS, and it seems like an effective option. We live in Phoenix, and have a Mayo Clinic here, which is where I’d feel the most comfortable with getting a Psychiatrist and having TMS treatments done. Advice?

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Hi, @phxlife – I'm sorry you had a rough time when all your kids left home and that your antidepressants are not seeming to work as well as when you were raising them.

You'll notice I moved your post here to an existing discussion of your topic on transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This is so that you can interact with members who are familiar with the topic and have been talking about it. If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

I'm hoping that members like @flyingfree53 @jancer2017 @patdangelo @kimmym @stup @tbaxter33 will offer their input on TMS – what kinds of results or side effects they experienced with it, whether they would do it again, and the option of this therapy at Mayo Clinic in AZ.

Sounds like you are doing some research on TMS. I thought you might be interested in this Mayo Clinic information on it https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/about/pac-20384625.

Have you gotten to speak to the doctor who prescribed the antidepressants about how they are not having as much helpful effect as before? Have you and he or she talked about the potential of TMS for you? If so, what did your doctor say?

Liked by phxlife

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@lisalucier

Hi, @phxlife – I'm sorry you had a rough time when all your kids left home and that your antidepressants are not seeming to work as well as when you were raising them.

You'll notice I moved your post here to an existing discussion of your topic on transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This is so that you can interact with members who are familiar with the topic and have been talking about it. If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

I'm hoping that members like @flyingfree53 @jancer2017 @patdangelo @kimmym @stup @tbaxter33 will offer their input on TMS – what kinds of results or side effects they experienced with it, whether they would do it again, and the option of this therapy at Mayo Clinic in AZ.

Sounds like you are doing some research on TMS. I thought you might be interested in this Mayo Clinic information on it https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/about/pac-20384625.

Have you gotten to speak to the doctor who prescribed the antidepressants about how they are not having as much helpful effect as before? Have you and he or she talked about the potential of TMS for you? If so, what did your doctor say?

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Thank you for your quick reply; it meant a lot. 🙂
I have my annual physical next week, at which time I will discuss with my doctor that my antidepressant is starting to wain (the one who we both agreed to get me back on – Effexor- which had worked in the past, but now not so much.) I’ve been on about 8 different antidepressants since 1991, some of which worked ok, and others not. I’ve also struggled since that time with anxiety, and have been on Alprazolam all of these 30 years….for me a total blessing and huge help! I had a bad depression day today. Depression is so frustrating!
I am ready to get back to business with finding a new counselor (I think I’ll go with a Psychiatrist) as I need psychotherapy, along with starting to exercise (I admit I’m lazy about this!) and also very interested in TMS. Would love input from others who’ve recently had TMS, and does anyone have a Therapist in the Valley (Phoenix) that they would recommend? Or who have had TMS done in Phoenix?

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HI, @phxlife – depression is frustrating – you are right. Sounds like you have some wise plans with looking to find a new counselor, doing some exercise, talking to your doctor about the antidepressant that is not controlling your symptoms as well, and looking into transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

I'd also like you to meet @parus @merpreb @jenniferhunter and @grandmar, who may also have some input on TMS.

What are you thinking of doing for exercise, @phxlife?

Liked by phxlife

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@lisalucier

HI, @phxlife – depression is frustrating – you are right. Sounds like you have some wise plans with looking to find a new counselor, doing some exercise, talking to your doctor about the antidepressant that is not controlling your symptoms as well, and looking into transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

I'd also like you to meet @parus @merpreb @jenniferhunter and @grandmar, who may also have some input on TMS.

What are you thinking of doing for exercise, @phxlife?

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I feel good that I’m being proactive as I want a better quality of life. I know food makes a huge difference, too, and while overall I eat healthy, I can amp things up in that department too.
As for what exercise I plan to get, two things: walking 3x/week for starters, and my goal is to go hiking in the mountains 1x/week. We live within 15-20 minutes of numerous trailheads.

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@phxlife

Thank you for your quick reply; it meant a lot. 🙂
I have my annual physical next week, at which time I will discuss with my doctor that my antidepressant is starting to wain (the one who we both agreed to get me back on – Effexor- which had worked in the past, but now not so much.) I’ve been on about 8 different antidepressants since 1991, some of which worked ok, and others not. I’ve also struggled since that time with anxiety, and have been on Alprazolam all of these 30 years….for me a total blessing and huge help! I had a bad depression day today. Depression is so frustrating!
I am ready to get back to business with finding a new counselor (I think I’ll go with a Psychiatrist) as I need psychotherapy, along with starting to exercise (I admit I’m lazy about this!) and also very interested in TMS. Would love input from others who’ve recently had TMS, and does anyone have a Therapist in the Valley (Phoenix) that they would recommend? Or who have had TMS done in Phoenix?

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I am really wanting to know if anyone out there has had TMS specifically in the Phoenix metro? And if so, with which doctor and facility.

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@phxlife

I am really wanting to know if anyone out there has had TMS specifically in the Phoenix metro? And if so, with which doctor and facility.

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@phxlife – you might call Mayo Clinic in the Phoenix metro, ask for Psychiatry and inquire about TMS availability. @laura has also talked about getting care (neurology) in the Phoenix area and might have some input, and @spurcey1 has talked about care in the Phoenix area and may also have some thoughts as you look for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). @newlifesociety is also in the Phoenix metro, I believe, and may have some input.

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