By ROB JONAS
Pinnacle Behavioral Health has seen significant progress with its Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatment.
Over the course of nearly 1,000 TMS treatments since Februrary, approximately 70 percent of Pinnacle patients have had their severe depressive symptoms alleviated, according to technician John Seymour. Most of those patients having breakthroughs around the midpoint of their 36-day treatment.
“TMS activates the left prefrontal cortex which has been shown to be responsible for depression. Stimulating this area of the brain has been shown to improve mood, energy and cognitive behaviors.” said Seymour.
Patients who are approved for TMS treatments are those who have had no success with other methods for treating severe depression, including medications and therapy.
“Many patients have lost all hope in the mental health system until hearing about this effective modality,” said Seymour. “So, they come to us.”
The way TMS works is a coil is placed on the patient’s head where the left prefrontal cortex is located. Magnetic pulses are sent through the coil at a rate of 18 pulses per second for a two-second burst, followed by a 20-second rest period. This process is repeated 55 times and each treatment session lasts 20 minutes, and sessions take place five days a week until the patient has his/her breakthrough moment. From there, the patient can choose to either spread out the remaining treatments or continue the pace they are on.
Director of Operations Rocco Pezzulo said there is gradual progress from the time the TMS treatments begin through the point where the patient experiences a breakthrough, which typically happens around the 20th session. He added that it’s normally the patient’s family and friends who first notice the improvements before the patient does.
Pezzulo said once the patient has his/her breakthrough, there can be strong emotions tied to it. A staff therapist will help the patient process these emotions in a healthier and more empowering way.
“A patient who tends to be self aware of their slight improvements throughout the process can really see significant change by the end of the treatment,” said Pezzulo. “TMS is tool that helps patients jumpstart their life again, combined with healthy lifestyle it can increase the longevity of overall wellness and mental health.”
TMS is non-invasive and does not present any negative side effects. Pinnacle Behavioral Health is the only Capital Region facility that offers TMS treatments. It also offers traditional therapy, group sessions, yoga classes, tai chi, art and music groups to help patients address their psychiatric concerns.
For more information about TMS, including video clips demonstrating the treatment, visit Pinnacle’s website at www.pinnaclebehavioralhealth.com. There is a link on the home page to a special section of Pinnacle’s website dedicated to TMS.