This new anti-depression treatment doesn’t involve medication

Local News

Advanced technology is offering another tool in the fight against depression.

In the simplest terms, people are getting a boost of energy.  It’s an alternative treatment when other options fail. 

Millcreek Resident Katie Louis tells us, “I take quite a few every day, and I’ve been on meds for half of my life for depression and anxiety.”

Louis has battled depression since she was a teen.  At times, she’s gotten relief with antidepressants or other treatments only to feel sick or develop complications from side-effects.  Now, her hope is being renewed. “This is my second week of treatment and I’m starting to feel a lift. It’s a very hopeful feeling.”

It’s called transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, or TMS, for short.  The FDA approved the treatment 10 years ago, but the center for focused care just introduced the technology to the Erie area last month.

Louis tells us, “My reaction was, ‘how does this even work? How is this going to affect my brain and make me feel better?'”

Physician and Psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Sipple says, “It basically uses a magnet that generates energy, and it goes on and off and that allows it to go into the brain.”

Sipple says that stimulates the brain, ultimately boosting one’s mood.  The treatment typically lasts about 20 minutes, with clients going five days a week for six weeks. 

Sipple says the therapy can supplement medications or even replace them in some cases. “We do recognize that there are folks that don’t tolerate psychiatric medications or get the response they need.”

Louis is now getting the response she needs and she wants others to find relief, as well. “It’s worth every second of your time to go and seek out help. To find someone to talk to, to find the medication that works for you, or a therapy that works for you. It could save your life.”

Dr. Sipple says this treatment is for people who have tried medication without the success they want.  He says the technology is being used some places to treat other neurological conditions as well.

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