Depression Treatment with rTMS

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repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a treatment for adult patients with Clinical Depression. It provides a solution to those for whom antidepressant medications have failed to provide satisfactory relief.

How effective is rTMS treatment at The London Psychiatry Centre?

NICE approves the use of ground-breaking rTMS for the treatment of depression
breaking-news-150x70 As clinical specialist advisers to the Interventional Procedures Programme of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), The London Psychiatry Centre are proud to announce the approval of rTMS for the treatment of depression.

NICE has approved the use of rTMS stating:
“Specialist advisers listed improvements in depressive symptoms and health-related quality of life as efficacy outcomes … commentary from patients was positive and described significant benefits to their quality of life”.

NICE has also issued recommended guidance for members of the public.

The London Psychiatry Centre was the first clinic in the UK and one of only a handful in Europe that is able to offer patients leading-edge and fully approved repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS). On par with the famed Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins and Harvard’s McLean Hospital in the US, The London Psychiatry Centre is one of the world leaders pioneering this highly effective and safe intervention to help overcome treatment-resistant Depression.

Video: The London Psychiatry Centre rTMS service as featured in The Telegraph online

Depression Treatment with rTMS is:

  • An alternative to antidepressants
  • Highly effective
  • Non-invasive
  • Pain free
  • Without side effects typically experienced with antidepressants.

If you are suffering with Depression…

You are not alone. At any given time, around 1 in 10 people are living with Depression or anxiety. It is believed that there are still many people undiagnosed. Despite the prevalence and devastating impact that Depression can have on people’s lives, many sufferers, with the best of intentions, try to ‘soldier on’, not wishing to ‘trouble people’ with the problem. Sadly, if left untreated, Depression often gets worse over time.

Major Depressive Disorder (often referred to as Clinical Depression) is a serious problem. It is distinct from a passing low mood and, though it may sometimes at least in part stem from some troubling life event, once it has developed, it becomes a generalised feeling. In other words, if you are suffering from Depression, you need not have had a ‘bad day’ in order to feel bad.

The condition can put a strain on every aspect of life, including your ability to work, build and maintain relationships, concentrate, and socialise – in short, your overall quality of life and productivity. Sadly, the problem also affects physical health too. For example, Depression has repeatedly been associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

rTMS at The London Psychiatry Centre

Am I depressed?

Depression is a complex condition, and no two sufferers will feel exactly the same way. However there are some general symptoms that doctors have identified as being common,

such as a persistent low mood, lack of energy, reduced interest in life and problems with concentration.

If you are in any doubt as to whether you are depressed, have a look at our Depression Checklist to see if you can recognise your experience in these checkpoints. Remember, you most probably won’t have experienced all of the symptoms on the list, but it provides a general sense of the kinds of problems Depression sufferers encounter.

When prescribed treatments for Depression don’t work

The most commonly prescribed treatments for Depression – antidepressants and talking therapies – sadly do not always work. In fact, treatment-resistant Depression is all too common. Research studies have shown that up to two thirds of people with Depression continue to suffer with symptoms despite taking antidepressants and/or undergoing psychotherapy. Up until very recently, little or nothing could be done for these people.

In other cases, the side effects that can result from medication – such as weight gain, decreased sex drive, sleep problems and tiredness – can put such a strain on a sufferer that taking the medication just doesn’t seem worth it.

The London Psychiatry Centre is able to offer patients rTMS, a highly sophisticated, scientifically-proven intervention to beat Depression. We are the only UK clinic able to provide the treatment, on par with the world-famous Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins and Harvard’s McLean Hospital in the USA.

What is rTMS?

The human brain is an inherently electrical organ that functions through the transmission of electrical signals between nerve cells. rTMS treatment works with your body’s natural processes by simply increasing the number and frequency of such transmissions. It employs magnetic energy to stimulate an area of the brain that regulates mood. As such, it can selectively alter activity in concentrated areas of the brain, bringing about desired effects that have been shown to be helpful in treating a variety of mental health problems.

Research has shown that a large proportion of patients who were unresponsive to antidepressant medication experience a significant improvement in their depressive symptoms when treated with rTMS – while 1 in 3 of these patients completely recover.

How does rTMS work?

rTMS influences electrical brain activity through a pulsed magnetic field. This magnetic field is created by passing quick current pulses through a coil of wire. This coil of wire is encased in plastic and placed close to a client’s scalp in order for the magnetic field to be focused on particular areas of the brain. The magnetic field can safely penetrate the scalp and scull without pain, to create a current in targeted brain cells. Because this stimulation is given at regular intervals it is referred to as repetitive TMS, or rTMS.

rTMS Coil

Is rTMS safe?

The extensive body of knowledge we have on rTMS covers thousands and thousands of patient examples. Numerous clinical trials, medical research studies and peer-reviewed articles have confirmed the value of rTMS in treating treatment-resistant depression. It is regarded as a considerably safe treatment, with very low risk of side effects. Frequently, it works where other interventions have failed.

rTMS treatment is completely non-invasive – it doesn’t require any needles or anaesthetic. Since the only thing entering your body is pure energy, rTMS is free from the many side effects associated with antidepressant medications (stomach complaints, lowered libido, etc.). It is administered as an outpatient procedure for just over half an hour per session.

There is a very small risk of seizure with rTMS, however according to the University of Michigan, in 10,000 treatments there was not a single seizure episode recorded.

How can rTMS help with Depression specifically?

Brain imagining techniques have shown that people suffering from Depression often display insufficient glucose metabolism levels, lower blood flow in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and altered activity in the Limbic system. In treating Depression, rTMS therapy directly addresses the DLPFC – which is an area a few inches above the temple beneath the skull. This area is highly interconnected with Limbic structures, which, as explained, also play an important role in Clinical Depression and the regulation of mood.

rTMS induces a magnetic current in the DLPFC to regulate the flow of interactions between brain cells, so as to relieve the Depression. Stimulations last under a millisecond.

Studies have indicated that rTMS increases levels of serotonin and dopamine, responsible for regulating ‘feel good’ and reward responses. rTMS can also affect activity in other remote parts of the brain that are actually not directly accessible to the rTMS coil, through indirect stimulation from the parts of the brain that are directly treated. Some of these remote brain structures are believed to be related to Depression as well.

How long will rTMS treatment take and how much will it cost?

Treatment for Depression using rTMS is short but intense. 5 sessions each week are required for 3-6 weeks.

Benefits are noted from the first week. rTMS is a safe middle step in cases which do not respond to antidepressants, but before considering ECT.

The treatment costs £2000 per week, with an average treatment lasting 4 weeks, costing £8000. Indeed, because of the cost of this state of the art equipment and the level of expertise involved, rTMS cannot be a ‘cheap’ treatment. In fact when we consider the benefits, the cost pales in comparison.

rTMS Treatment

If you are experiencing Depression, you’ll know how much of a drain it is on all areas of life; causing personal relationships, self-esteem, not least productivity itself to suffer. We spend on cars, kitchens and holidays when it is actually health that is our most precious asset. rTMS offers patients an opportunity to experience quick and long-lasting relief from Depression without the inhibiting side effects that can come with antidepressant medication. Indeed, for many patients, it has proved to be the most significant investment they have ever made.

If you are suffering with Depression, there is a solution. At The London Psychiatry Centre, all our help is completely confidential. Our experts will take the time to assess you thoroughly, to ensure rTMS is right for you. To find out more about how we can help, contact The London Psychiatry Centre. With the right help, feeling good again is within your reach.