A brain stimulating helmet has recently shown promise as a new alternative to medication for those suffering from depression. This new treatment known as Deep TMS, is FDA-cleared to treat patients for depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. The FDA also cleared it in 2020 as a treatment for short-term smoking addiction. As of 2021, it is available to select medical providers across the U.S.
Dr. Raymond Cho, a Houston-based psychiatrist for Houston Mind and Brain has been specializing in neurostimulation for years. Dr. Cho stated that the results he has seen have been astounding, citing that he has witnessed “success story after success story of people who have been frustrated with other treatment for one reason or another.” Dr. Cho also notes that while there is no cure for anxiety and depression, the treatment has long-lasting effects that can manifest 6 to 12 months after treatment.
Deep TMS treatment involves the patient wearing a helmet which creates a magnetic field pulsing through the skull, targeting certain areas of the brain. Different parts of the brain are targeted based on the condition doctors are trying to treat, whether it be depression, OCD, or smoking addiction. The depression treatment plan consists of 20 minute sessions, five days a week for the first month of treatment. Sessions taper off to twice a week for the subsequent two months. Clinical trials uncovered that the treatment is “60% effective in helping people with treatment resistant depression.”
Richard Felty, a patient receiving Deep TMS treatment in Houston, reported that he has struggled with depression for the past 10 years. He stated that after just 15 days of treatment, he had felt the best he had in as long as he could remember. Felty called the treatment “life-changing” and hopes that others will consider the treatment as well, given the significant improvement he has experienced in his depression.