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After spending an entire year “walking a tight rope” trying to find an alternative treatment, Susan finally settled on a cocktail of 3 antidepressant medications which helped, but did not lift her depression.
Susan had once been an extrovert, with thriving friendships and close family ties. But, despite her medications, she now had gotten to a point where she didn’t care about going anywhere or doing anything. She was fearful of going out at night by herself or driving. She couldn’t even pick up the phone and talk to someone.
An R.N. for four decades, Susan was no stranger to the world of medicine. She began reading up on transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a treatment option brought up by her psychiatrist. TMS is noninvasive and involves the application of magnetic pulses to the scalp, targeting an area of the brain involved in depression. TMS has only minor side effects. For Susan, this seemed to be the best next-step treatment option.
Susan’s research led her to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. It was at that university two decades earlier that Dr. Mark George, now a distinguished professor and member of the BBRF’s Scientific Council, pioneered methods that led to F.D.A. approval of TMS for treatment-resistant depression. Dr. George performed his early work with the help of BBRF Young Investigator Grants.
Susan recently finished her course of TMS treatment, and she reports that it has completely transformed her life.
“I feel like the joy has returned in my life. I feel like I’m back where I was years ago,” she says. She can once again enjoy going out and seeing friends and family.