Psychiatric issues, especially prevalent ones like depression and anxiety disorders are destroying our country.
Each year the collective mental health of our country, especially among the younger generations, only seems to worsen. Even with all the advances in neurosciences and pharmacology, doctors and research scientists have still struggled to find effective treatments for most psychiatric illnesses.
Today suicide rates among our youngest generation, Generation Z, are higher than any young generation has seen in our history. The figures are appalling. Other generations aren’t fairing a whole lot better.
In many cases, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals fail to produce any lasting results and in some cases, they make symptoms worse. Most people aren’t aware that the there’s actually no physical evidence that supports the monoamine hypothesis – the prevailing hypothesis that holds that depression and anxiety result from a lack of certain neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft of nerve cells. The only thing that suggests that this hypothesis is valid is that some people, and I stress the word some, respond positively to anti-depressants.
The fields of psychiatry and neurology have needed a breakthrough for a while now. That breakthrough could very well be Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS.
But what exactly is it?
TMS is a noninvasive form of neurostimulation which uses magnetic fields and electric current to stimulate nerve cells a improvthe e the symptoms of various psychiatric disorders when medication has failed.
TMS is employed most often to treat patients with depression who haven’t had any success with other treatment options. It may be used in combination with psychotherapy and antidepressants.
During a typical TMS therapy session, an electromagnetic coil is positioned against the patient’s scalp around the front of the head (the position will depend on what ailment is being treated). The coil then painlessly distributes a magnetic pulse which then stimulates nerve cells in the brain region that’s involved with mood regulation. In the treatment of depression, the goal is to activate areas of the brain that have decreased activity.
Although the biology of TMS isn’t understood completely, the electromagnetic stimulation seems to impact the function of the region being stimulated, which in turn improves symptoms.
Currently, TMS is being studied by researchers in various disciplines who hope to come up with new ways to manage pain, treat neurological and psychiatric disorders, and to assist in the physical rehabilitation process. Clinical trials are going on now which look at the effectiveness of TMS in treating conditions such a depression, smoking cessation, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and others.
TMS represents a great hope for neurology, psychiatry, and for the medical field in general.