A new treatment method for depression is available in Albany for the first time. It’s called transcranial magnetic stimulation. It uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the part of the brain tied to depression. Pinnacle Behavioral Health, a wellness center, is embracing the technology that many are calling a “game changer” in the treatment of severe mental health conditions.

“This is a life-saver for them,” said Rocco Pezzulo, director of operations for Pinnacle Behavioral Health.

This week, Pinnacle Behavioral Health becomes the area’s first wellness center to offer the treatment.

“I started in a really hopeless, desperate place,” said Terri, a former patient. She considers it life changing.

“I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world,” Terri said.

Twice, Terri has travelled to Long Island for TMS treatment. She’s a psychotherapist at in Albany.

Pezzulo says this is the culmination of a two-year process. It comes with the creation of a spa-like TMS center. The device they’re using to treat patients comes from Israel-based company Brainsway. The technology uses deep magnetic stimulation to treat depression and obsessive compulsive disorder over numerous sessions.

While many are celebrating increased access to TMS treatment, some psychiatrists, like Dr. Adam P. Stern at Boston’s Beth Israel Medical Center, question if there should be more oversight and regulation of what is still a relatively new treatment method.

“Now it is doubly important that we make sure that providers are doing an adequate job of protecting patients, offering evidence-based treatment and really not putting any patients at risk,” said Dr. Stern. 

Known side-effects include headaches and, in rare cases, seizures. At Pinnacle, some major insurers cover treatment, if patients haven’t found success through medication. The general consensus right now is that treatment is relatively low-risk, and as access expands, so should education for both patients and providers.