Nashville TMS- Offering effective new treatment for depression

TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) therapy is an FDA-cleared depression treatment for patients who have not benefited from initial antidepressant medication.

TMS is a new therapy that involves no drugs and has been proven safe and effective for treating patients with depression, TMS is free of negative side effects often associated with taking antidepressants.

Nashville TMS is part of the psychiatric practice of W. Scott West, MD, who was the first psychiatrist to bring Neurostar TMS Therapy to Tennessee in 2010.

We encourage you to explore this site and learn more about new hope for depression and how TMS offers help 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

How to Help Prevent Bullying

The Power is in Your Hands

Did you know that nearly one fourth of today’s students in grades 6-12 have experienced bullying?

According to one large study, 41% of students report being involved in bullying incidents two or more times within the past month, and 23% of those children were victims of bullying, while the remainder where either the bully or experienced both roles.

Help stop bullying

Bullying affects more than just the targeted students

The issue is more complex than the statistics themselves. Research has shown that the aggressors and those who witness bullying are also impacted. In some cases, bullying is linked to depression, isolation, and anxiety. Worse, these outcomes may increase the risk for substance abuse and suicide.


How to address the bullying issue

Although there is no simple solution, there are promising approaches that are making headway to curb bullying. A school community that nurtures an environment of respect has proven to be an effective remedy. And by raising awareness, more people are willing to stand up to bullying. When individual bystanders are willing to intervene, hostile situations can be diffused quickly.

Also, parents and other adult mentors can make a big difference simply by listening to and talking with the children in their lives. In fact, studies indicate that adults who spend at least 15 minutes each day talking with their children are able to build strong relationships that may help prevent bullying. Children with solid parental or caregiver relationships have a trusted network they can rely on when problems arise. They also have adults who can help them recognize and respond to bullying appropriately and effectively.


Bullying is often difficult to discuss

Research tells us that bullying is more likely to occur during the middle school years. Parents and caregivers know these late tween/early teen years are also when their children are beginning to pull away and strive for more independence. How does one get a child this age to start talking? Even if you’ve built a foundation for a strong relationship, the subject of bullying is often difficult to discuss. What do you say that can help your child avoid being a bully, or respond to a bully in a safe, effective manner?


There’s an app for bullying!

The good news is that you’re not alone. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) has developed a mobile app, KnowBullying, to help you get the conversation started.

Available for both Android and Apple devices, this app provides tips and tools such as:

  • Conversation starters

  • Tips to prevent bullying

  • Warning signs that your child may be engaging bullying, witnessing bullying or being bullied

  • Reminders to talk to your children at times that work best for your family

You can take the first step to help the child in your life deal with bullying by downloading the KnowBullying app today.

KnowBullying SAMHSA

Additional Help for Bullying

When you, your child, or someone close to you is being bullied, there are many possible  steps to take to help resolve the situation. Make sure you understand what bullying is and what it is notthe warning signs of bullying, and steps to take for preventing and responding to bullying, including how to talk to children about bullying, prevention in schools and communities, and how to support children involved.

To learn more about bullying, take a look at the information and resources available online at the Stop Bullying Blog, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Do you know someone you could help?

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

Photo courtesy

Depression and Anxiety are Different

Depression and Anxiety Treated by Nashville TMS

How Do We Cope When the Brain is Sad and Anxious?

Photo Credit: Magnus Rosendahl


A Constant Challenge: The Cycle of Depression and Anxiety

Have you ever stopped to think about our amazing brains, and how they’re so profoundly interpersonal? Physically, the brain is the size of a grapefruit, the shape of a walnut, with the consistency of an overripe avocado. Our brains think, dream dreams, solve problems, taste and smell foods, feel passion for music, and are immersed in ever-changing emotions.

These emotions are wonderful when they can be described as joy, happiness, excitement, and passion. But at times, we also experience deep and profound sadness. The big challenge begins when the brain gets stuck in a cycle of sadness, and our emotional temperature moves into Depression and Anxiety.


Stuck in Sadness

The word ‘Depression’ is often used to share feelings of being ‘stuck in sadness’. The first recorded accounts of Depression were called ‘melancholia’. Ancient Mesopotamian texts record that priests - instead of physicians - treated individuals for melancholia. Aristotle diagnosed melancholia as ‘heart sick’.  Early scientists did not understand that the emotions of the heart also reside in the brain.


Depression Defined

How can we define Depression? Medically, Depression is defined as: “a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, with a significant increase or decrease in appetite, time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.” ( According to World Health Organization, it is estimated that over 350 million people are affected by this illness worldwide (World Health Organization).

While periodic ups and downs and feelings of sadness are generally common experiences, Depression is a much deeper neurological issue.  Depression is “…more than just a feeling of being ‘down in the dumps’ or ‘blue’ for a few days…the feelings do not go away. They persist and interfere with everyday life” (Mental


Anxiety Defined

Anxiety disorder is similar to Depression in that it affects a person’s day-to-day life.  About 15 million Americans suffer from it. 36% of people who do also claim they’ve had symptoms for up to 10 years and longer before seeking help. (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). Anxiety is defined as: “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it.” (


Which Comes First?

Many people who are affected by these disorders do not realize that it is “…very common to suffer from both Anxiety and Depression at the same time, especially if you have severe anxiety or panic disorder. Often the Anxiety comes first, and the impact that Anxiety has on your life ends up leading to the development of Depression and depressive symptoms” (Calm Clinic: “Anxiety vs. Depression: What is the Relationship?).

For example: an individual suffers an anxiety attack and becomes drained emotionally, physically and mentally. This exhaustion can lead to short term as well as long-term depression.  The brain’s chemistry is triggered in similar ways when it comes to Depression and Anxiety.  It can be difficult to diagnose the two on their own, because many who suffer symptoms of either can suffer symptoms of both. (Calm Clinic: “Anxiety vs. Depression: What is the Relationship?)


How and Why Anxiety & Depression Begin and Persist

This is where it gets complicated. Emotional chemicals flow through the brain and body like small rivers; nourishing, warning, and energizing the body. But all brains have unique genetic and biochemical qualities. Some brains are more sensitive to stress and life concerns and this influences the brain’s balance. Some individuals think in ways that are toxic, which includes persistent negative or fearful thought patterns. These thoughts place the brain on alert, indicating there is a problem. Also, experiences of deep grief when left unprocessed or unhealed will result in exhaustion of the brain and its resources.


Good News for Depression Treatment!

Disheartened?  Well, there’s good news! Our brains and bodies are designed to heal, even Depression! The natural quality of brain plasticity allows the brain to reset and rewire patterns when behaviors change. There are also very promising medical and psychological treatments. Medications may help in reestablishing chemical balance. But when you’ve tried the medications and they didn’t help, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is now available as a proven alternative procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. ( TMS treatment is also on the horizon for Generalized Anxiety Disorder and other personality. But TMS isn’t yet FDA-cleared for ‘on-label’ treatment of mental health disorders other than Depression. We believe that’s it’s just a matter of time.


You Can Help

Overall, Anxiety and Depression are incredibly treatable. If you know and love someone who is clinically depressed, you can help them. First, encourage individuals to become students of their brains, to understand what healthy thinking and living involve. Medical intervention can be successful.  Holistic medical treatment of Depression involves a willingness to reach out for help, commit to some form of treatment, and a renewed commitment to value and improve one’s quality of life.  (Calm Clinic: “Anxiety vs. Depression: What is the Relationship?)  Encourage others to explore non-traditional, cutting-edge treatments and holistic new living patterns. Then support their perfectly imperfect efforts. You will help.


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 depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication. The Team at Nashville TMS 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!

PTSD: Courtney Lewis at Brunchin’ to Beat the Blues

Veteran Courtney Lewis

Veteran Courtney Lewis

Courtney Lewis is emphatic that “PTSD is real.

A Nashville mother of 3 and U.S. Army Veteran, Courtney knows firsthand about battling PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  "Without the help of my family and friends, I would be lost.”


Courtney Seeks Treatment

“In 2012 I moved to Nashville with a duffle bag and a dream.” After injuring herself and losing everything, Lewis turned to the Veterans Administration (VA) for help. She’s come a very long way in just 3 short years.

Today she is a graduate of Nashville Film Institute in Film/Cinema/Video Studies and earned an audio engineering degree from SAE Institute of Technology-Nashville. Courtney has now put those skills to work as the entrepreneurial founder and owner of See Media Group, a video and film production company. (By most estimates industry-wide, less than 5 percent of producers and engineers are women.) And by the way, she is also the President of Business and Professional Women of Music City!


Courtney Lewis, CEO See Media Group

 Courtney Lewis, CEO

 See Media Group, INC

Brunchin to Beat the Blues Spotlight

At an annual event for the Nashville chapter of the Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee (MHAMT) and formerly known as the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee, Courtney will share her unique and motivating story about how she achieved so much success while struggling with PTSD. Nashville TMS is proud to sponsor Brunchin’ to Beat the Blues, Sat., Apr. 11 at Embassy Suites Cool Springs. Naomi Judd is the keynote speaker.


So what exactly is PTSD? And how did she overcome it?

For Courtney, the first step to overcoming PTSD was to receive positive encouragement and motivation from others. Today she turns that around. Her passion is to help others fight mental illness.


Women, Trauma, and PTSD

Trauma is common in women; 5 out of 10 women experience at least one traumatic event in a lifetime. Women tend to experience different traumas than men. While both men and women report the same symptoms of PTSD, hyper-arousal, re-experiencing, avoidance, and numbing, some symptoms are more common for either women or men.


Women in the Military

As you might suspect, women in the military are at high risk for exposure to traumatic events, especially during times of war. Currently, about 15% of all military personnel in Iraq are women. Although men are more likely to experience combat, a growing number of women are now being exposed to combat. Women in the military are at higher risk for exposure to sexual harassment or sexual assault than men. Future studies are needed to better understand the effects of women's exposure to both combat and sexual assault.


Issues Specific to Women

Experts now know a great deal about women's experiences of trauma and PTSD. The most common types of traumatic experiences women have are different than men. Also, while both men and women report the same symptoms of PTSD, some symptoms are more common for women or men. Some research shows that women may also be more likely to seek help after a traumatic event.


What Happens After Trauma

After a trauma, some women may feel depressed, start drinking or using drugs, or develop PTSD. Women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD than men (10% for women and 4% for men). Reasons women might experience PTSD more than men include:

  • Women are more likely to experience sexual assault.

  • Sexual assault is more likely to cause PTSD than many other events.

  • Women may be more likely to blame themselves for trauma experiences than men.

What PTSD is Like for Women

Some PTSD symptoms are more common in women than men. Women are more likely to be jumpy, to have more trouble feeling emotions, and to avoid things that remind them of the trauma. Men are more likely to feel angry and to have trouble controlling their anger. Women with PTSD are more likely to feel depressed and anxious, while men with PTSD are more likely to have problems with alcohol or drugs. Both women and men may develop physical health problems.


Diagnosing PTSD

Are you wondering if you have PTSD? In order to make a positive diagnosis - or rule it out - a health care provider or evaluator will give you a PTSD screen or assessment. You will be asked a predetermined set of questions in order to better understand and measure your symptoms.

The following resources will assist you in understanding PTSD, its symptoms, measurement, assessment, and a host of important considerations.

For more detailed information about specific PTSD screens or measures, see the VA’s Assessment Overview page in the "Professional" section of their website.


Treatment for PTSD

Good treatments are widely available for PTSD. However, not everyone who experiences trauma seeks treatment. Women may be more likely than men to seek help after a traumatic event. At least one study found that women respond to treatment as well as or better than men. This may be because women are generally more comfortable sharing feelings and talking about personal things with others than are men.


PTSD Treatment Options for Vets

No matter where you live, PTSD treatment in the Department of Veterans Affairs is available. Each medical center within VA has PTSD specialists who provide treatment for Veterans with PTSD and there are nearly 200 specialized PTSD treatment programs throughout the country.

You can use this VA PTSD Program Locator to see if there is a specialized program near you.


Who is Covered for VA Care?

VA services are provided to all Veterans who:

  • Completed active military service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard (or Merchant Marines during WWII)

  • Were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions

  • Were National Guard members or Reservists who have completed a federal deployment to a combat zone

At times, the VA has special agreements to provide care to Active Duty service members and family.


What Treatment Services are Offered?

Each PTSD program offers education, evaluation, and treatment. Program services include:

  • One-to-one mental health assessment and testing

  • Medications

  • One-to-one psychotherapy and family therapy

  • Group therapy (covers topics such as anger and stress, combat support, partners, etc.) or groups for Veterans of specific conflicts or specific traumas

The VA provides treatments shown by research to be effective in treating Veterans. To learn about these treatments, see the VA’s Understanding PTSD Treatment page. Not all VAs offer the same programs, and some specialty programs require a referral. Your doctor can help you decide which program is best for you.


To Find Help:

Go to the VA Facilities Locator to find a VA medical center, an outpatient clinic, or a Vet Center, or call VA Health Care Benefits: 1-877-222-8387. You can also find a specialized PTSD program using the VA PTSD Program Locator


PTSD Videos for Veterans, Family and Friends

These videos bring PTSD issues to life, and give you a glimpse into life after the diagnosis:

  1. Video: Women Who Served in Our Military

Women Who Served in Our Military: For Veterans and Families (Run time: 41 min.)

Hosted by Jane Pauley, distinguished television news anchorwoman and journalist, the video and transcript examine how women's deployment to war zones can lead to serious and debilitating clinical stress responses.

Testimonials by women Veterans offer evidence that treatment for PTSD does make a difference - and can help the Veteran return to normal life. This video presents the many trauma treatment options available to women Veterans today by VA medical facilities. It also describes the considerable contributions of women in service to their country. For the full transcript in pdf format: Veterans and Families - video transcript

  2. Video: Hope for Recovery

Hope for Recovery  (Run time: 9 min 30 sec)
This video describing PTSD was produced by the PTSD Alliance, a group of professional and advocacy organizations. The PTSD Alliance provides educational resources to individuals diagnosed with PTSD, their loved ones, those at risk for developing PTSD, and to medical, healthcare and other frontline professionals. Please Note: The video involves dramatizations of individuals briefly describing interpersonal traumas, which may be upsetting for some individuals.

  1. Video: PTSD Treatment Works

VA PTSD Treatment Works  (Run time: 1 min 46 sec)
An overview of what effective treatment is provided at VA to help Veterans with PTSD.

PTSD Resources and Care - for Veterans, Military, and Families

About The National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

For assistance with compiling the content in this article, we wish to thank The National Center for PTSD  for providing many of the links and resources, as well as their commitment to serving those who have served us. August 29, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary celebration of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The history of the Center highlights its leadership in research and education to promote better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of PTSD.

“When we started, PTSD was a controversial diagnosis. The Center's research and educational initiatives helped establish the scientific basis for PTSD, and disseminated that information globally."  -Dr. Matthew Friedman, the Center's Executive Director from creation until the end of 2013.


About MHAMT’s Brunchin to Beat the Blues

Women join together to raise awareness of behavioral health issues at the inaugural Brunchin' to Beat the Blues. This special event will feature remarks from country star Naomi Judd and Army veteran Courtney Lewis. The brunch will be held at the Embassy Suites in Franklin on April 11, 2015 at 10:30 am. We look forward to raising awareness of women’s behavioral health issues and encouraging prevention and early intervention for mental illness in women. View the complete event invitation here.  - See more at: 


Courtney Lewis’ LinkedIn profile:


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 depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication. Nashville TMS patients have experienced excellent outcomes – hear what they have to say!


This article was researched, compiled and written by Lisa Chapman and Aileen Katcher.
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About Scott West, MD

Dr. Scott West has dedicated his professional career to helping people overcome clinical depression. He has been practicing 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 Tennessee. 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.

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