Nashville TMS- Offering effective new treatment for depression

“Seven months ago I was so depressed I wasn’t able to function. After six weeks of NeuroStar TMS Therapy, I was back to work; feeling great; I was enjoying my kids again and I had my life back.” -Craig, 38 years old

TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) therapy is a new therapy that involves no drugs and has been proven safe and effective. TMS is free of the negative side effects often associated with taking antidepressants.

Mental Illness Carries a Social ‘Stigma’

To Michelle Obama, “That Makes No Sense”

First Lady Michelle Obama - Zero Tolerance for Mental Illness StigmaMore Americans are expected to die this year by suicide than in car accidents. But because of the stigma associated with mental illness, we generally don’t talk about it. Stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses lead others to avoid living, socializing or working with, renting to, or employing people with mental illnesses. They lead to low self-esteem and hopelessness. And they deter the public from seeking and wanting to pay for care. Worst of all, they often cause people with mental illnesses to become so embarrassed or ashamed that they conceal their own symptoms—and avoid seeking the very treatment, services, and support they need and deserve.

The fact that 20% of the population is significantly affected by a mental health condition has not gone unnoticed at the White House. More than 42 million Americans experience a mental health condition that’s diagnosable, such as depression or anxiety. First Lady Michelle Obama often speaks about it, and believes that our best approach is “zero room for stigma”.

No Stigma. None. Zero.
“Mental illness should carry no stigma, especially when many mentally ill people are afraid to seek help because of how it will “look” to those around them. Mental illnesses also are often treated differently from diseases such as cancer, diabetes or asthma”, she added. “That makes no sense,” she said. “Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness. So there should be absolutely no stigma around mental health. None. Zero.”

First of its Kind – The Campaign to Change Direction
Two years ago, the White House hosted the National Conference on Mental Health to reach across the country and start changing how mental health is viewed, the first lady said. Earlier this year, she announced the result from that conference: the new Campaign to Change Direction.

Working with Give an Hour, Obama described the Campaign as a coalition of business, government and nonprofit groups, and the medical community, dedicated to raising mental health awareness and giving people tools to help others with mental health issues.

Others Join the National Conversation about the Stigma of Mental Health
Huffington Post columnist Dustin DeMoss recently reported that the portrayal of individuals with mental health issues in television leaves much to be desired. One study on the mental health stigma found that while half of the instances involving individuals with mental health issues were sympathetic, the majority of references to mental health - 63 percent - were either dismissive or negative. Other television portrayals were actively feeding into and reinforcing existing social stigma. In essence, we collectively perpetuate the stigma ourselves.

Famous People Now Talking about Depression and it’s Stigma
Many influential people continue to join the fight and help raise awareness. Ex-Senator Gordon Smith appeals to each of us to “Help us bring this issue out of the shadows of our society - because it affects one in four Americans.” Smith, now CEO of National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and his wife Sharon, hope that their continued outreach will help others who have family members dealing with depression. Their son Garrett took his life in 2003, at age 22, after a long battle with depression.

Iconic actress Glenn Close proclaims loudly, “I challenge every American family to no longer whisper about mental illness behind closed doors.” Glenn’s sister Jessie once confided that, “I can’t stop thinking about killing myself,” Glenn’s reaction? She resolved to learn more about mental illness by volunteering at centers in New York. Then in 2010 Glenn started the nonprofit Bring Change 2 Mind - to raise awareness.

According to Variety Magazine, “Bring Change 2 Mind aims to start a conversation. Close tapped her friend Ron Howard to direct the org’s first PSA, which stars the Oscar-nominated actress alongside Jessie, as well as other people wearing the names of their diseases on T-shirts. Since then, an estimated 1 billion have viewed online the PSAs, which have featured Wayne Brady and NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall sharing their stories. The Close sisters have used many forums to talk about their mission, from a Washington, D.C., summit to NPR to People magazine.”

What You Can Do to Help End the Stigma - Talk about Mental Illness
It can be as simple as starting a conversation around the dinner table, or a watercooler conversation with colleagues. As you step up to get others thinking about the issues, they may also challenge their circles to do the same. And that’s where it all starts. You’ll be surprised at how many individuals deal with the issues in themselves, or in people they love.

Putting a face on mental health is vital to changing the perception of the public at large. It reminds us that we are all members of the human family, and that each and every one of us has the potential to positively contribute to society. To start a community, state, or national initiative, see: “Developing a Stigma Reduction Initiative” SAMHSA Pub No. SMA-4176).

Where can you start a conversation today?

For more information on this and other topics related to the treatment of depression and mental health issues, contact us at (615) 327-4877.

About Nashville TMS:
In April of 2010, Dr. Scott West brought the technology of NeuroStar TMS to Nashville, becoming the first physician in Tennessee to offer the option of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for patients whose severe depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication. The Nashville TMS Team has treated patients from Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, California, Missouri, New York, and Alabama.

Hear what Nashville TMS patients have to say about their depression treatment experiences and outcomes!

Written by: Lisa Chapman

5 Mental Health Care Myths – And the Truths You Should Know

Mental Health Care MythsUnderstanding the facts is an important step in combating the stigma often associated with mental illness. Unfortunately, there are mental health myths that persist and contribute to the stigma. Let’s shine a light on five of the most common.  

Myth 1: Mental Health issues have nothing to do with me.

Fact: Even if you don’t personally deal with depression or another mental health issue, you likely know someone who does. One in five American adults has experienced some type of mental health issue. One in 10 has experienced major depression at some point in their youth.  Statistically speaking, someone you know has been or will be diagnosed with a mental health problem.

Myth 2: Mental Health issues are a sign of weakness or other personality flaw.

Fact: There are many things that contribute to one’s mental health and none of them are character flaws. Mental health may be affected by biological factors such as genes, physical illness, injury or brain chemistry. A traumatic life experience may also trigger depression and anxiety.  

Myth 3: There’s no ‘cure’ or hope for recovery if you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness.

Fact: Recovery is defined as being able to live, work, and otherwise participate fully in the various facets of daily life. With treatment and a support system, individuals diagnosed with a mental health problem can, in fact, get better and even recover.

Myth 4: People with a mental health issue cannot handle job-related stress.

Fact:  Based on the statistics cited above, you’ve probably already worked with someone who is managing a mental health issue. You just didn’t know it. The reality is people with mental health issues are as productive as their peers.   

Myth 5: Someone I know has been diagnosed with depression, but there’s nothing I can do to help.

Fact: Individuals with a strong support system are more likely to seek treatment. Did you know that only a third of adults and one-fifth of children or teens coping with mental health issues will seek treatment? Supportive friends and family may successfully influence a person to seek the help they need.  In the same vein, a support system is a key component of treatment and recovery. If you’re willing to listen and respond respectfully, then you can make a difference.

For more information on this and other topics related to the treatment of depression and mental health issues, contact us at (615) 327-4877.

About Nashville TMS:
In April of 2010, Dr. Scott West brought the technology of NeuroStar TMS to Nashville, becoming the first physician in Tennessee to offer the option of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for patients whose severe depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication. The Nashville TMS Team has treated patients from Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, California, Missouri, New York, and Alabama.

Hear what Nashville TMS patients have to say about their depression treatment experiences and outcomes!

Written by: Lisa Chapman

More than Baby Blues

Pregnant and depressed


Coping with Depression During Pregnancy


We typically think of Pregnancy as a time of great joy - euphoria and happy anticipation.  But surprisingly to some, that’s not always the reality. Many women struggle with conflicting emotions and depression during this time. In fact, it is quite common. About 13% of pregnant women and new mothers experience persistent feelings of overwhelm, sadness and depression.

 

Identifying Depression Symptoms


Women and those who care for them may dismiss depression symptoms because some of them, such as changes in appetite, energy levels, concentration and sleep patterns, can overlap normal pregnancy symptoms. What is not normal, however, is a consistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness or disinterest that interferes with normal day-to-day activities.

Take a close look at the following list.  Symptoms that last for 2 or more weeks may indicate depression that should be followed up with a physician:

  • Restlessness or moodiness

  • Feeling sad, hopeless and overwhelmed

  • Crying frequently

  • Lack of energy or motivation

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Extreme irritability

  • Disinterest in things that used to be enjoyable or fun

  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping all the time

  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

  • Difficulty making decisions

  • Memory issues

  • Withdrawing from friends and family


If you suspect you or a woman for whom you are caring has symptoms of depression, speak to your OB/GYN or midwife. Your doctor can refer to you to a mental health professional who specializes in treating depression.

 

Treatments for Depression During Pregnancy


Your mental health care provider will work with you to determine the best course of action to help you manage your depression. There are several treatment options including:

  • Talk therapy: Talk to a professional about your feelings. A mental health care professional will help you identify how depression makes you think, feel and act. He or she will also work with you to identify ways to better manage your thoughts and emotions.



  • Medicine: While many women hesitate to take drugs during pregnancy, there are medicinal options that claim to be safe to take during pregnancy. Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant. If you’re taking an antidepressant prior to pregnancy, do not discontinue your medication without speaking to your doctor.



  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: TMS is an FDA-cleared, non-invasive, non-drug medical treatment for patients with major depression. It uses highly focused magnetic pulses to stimulate a key area of the brain known to be underactive in depression sufferers. The treatment will restore that area to normal function and lift your depression.


 

Role of Caregivers


Some women may be reluctant to discuss their feelings with their doctors, friends or families. The perception of pregnancy as a time of joy may contribute to a sense of embarrassment or shame if a pregnant woman is experiencing depression. If you suspect a pregnant friend or family member is dealing with symptoms of depression, encourage her to talk to her doctor. Untreated depression can increase the risk of complications for both mother and child.

 

About Nashville TMS:


In April of 2010, Dr. West brought the technology of NeuroStar TMS to Nashville, becoming the first physician in Tennessee to offer the option of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for patients whose severe depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication. The Nashville TMS Team has treated patients from Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, California, Missouri, New York, and Alabama.

Hear what Nashville TMS patients have to say about their experiences and outcomes!

Written by: Lisa Chapman
Do you know someone who suffers?

‘Normal’ Depression vs ‘Clinical’ Depression. What’s the difference? Download and share this article.

Nashville TMS Patients Tell Their Stories

Watch these patients discuss their TMS treatment experiences and outcomes.

About Scott West, MD

Dr. Scott West has dedicated his professional career to helping people overcome clinical depression. He has practiced psychiatry in Nashville Tennessee since 1986, when he finished his residency in psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Prior to that, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Memphis. He is a Diplomate of The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the specialty of Psychiatry and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

More about Scott West, MD