The CDC says 26 percent of adults in the United States have depression, but there could be hope for those battling it with a different kind of therapy.
Brent Harlan, known as "Bandy," from 107.9 The Link's "Matt and Ramona show," is one of the thousands fighting depression and anxiety, something he has fought for 20 years. You may remember we talked with him in May of this year about his battle.
Fast forward to July, where Harlan has undergone more than 20 days of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, known as TMS, at Novant Health.
"The difference really, I came in here the very first day, my blood pressure was through the roof, I was nervous, anxious, didn't know really what to expect, and within the first couple of days, the first couple of treatments, I could already tell a difference,” said Harlan.
It's a type of therapy that started a decade ago, working to stimulate the brain, and Harlan isn't the only one who has seen a difference. "Every single patient has had a positive response to TMS. We use a machine to deliver a magnetic pulse to the brain, because it's pulsed, it creates an electrical field and that is delievered to the part of the brain, where depression lies, where our mood is regulated,” said Dr. Darlene Ifill-Taylor, the medical director at Novant Health Psychiatric Associates.
She says it can help impact the mood. "The stimulation of that part of the brain produces the effect, the positive effects on the patients, that their mood greatly improves. in the case of tms, those sections of the brain, that make the neurotransmitters, that modulate our mood, are being stimulated,” said Dr. Ifill-Taylor.
Treatment is five days a week for four to six weeks. "You can see the patient coming in, just really lonely looking, you know, put their head down, and then, when they start the treatment, it's just like they are smiling,” said John Winn, a TMS coordinator/treater at Novant Health.
It's brought a smile back to Harlan, who says he is now medication free, saying, “a lot more joy in my life right now; a lot more happiness, a lot more just feeling proactive, and open."