ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from depression — and that includes many veterans.
Recently, many are trying an alternative treatment in Rochester that doesn’t involve medication — there’s no cocktail of pills.
The treatment is called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS. It’s been FDA approved for years but it’s now catching on.
“Through a combination of pharmaceuticals and therapy, I was supposed to see an uplift in my life and the ability to function again,” Veteran Mike Drake said who has dealt with a major depressive disorder.
“14 to 15 years of going on that roller coaster, I saw absolutely no results. It was medication trial after medication trial, therapy after therapy, with no results.”
In 2014, Drake got treatment at his local VA for a second time, when bi-polar medications were introduced. Drake said he was hospitalized eight times between 2014 and 2018 due to the side effects.
“During those years from 2014 to 2018, with those medications, I had suicidal ideation twice. I was in a loss state, and I was desperate.”
It was through a therapist where he learned about TMS therapy which is noninvasive and uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the mood regulation cells in the brain.
“When you see people in that state of health getting better, it is very rewarding to see them getting better,” Psychiatrist Dr. Mahipal Chaudhri said.
Doctors say there’s no down time and patients can go about doing their normal routines right after. There’s only one doctor’s office that uses this technology in the greater Rochester area. He says it’s been successful among his patients especially veterans who suffer from major depressive disorder.
“It is very noninvasive like I said, it doesn’t have any side effects to speak of and is effective or more effective say with medications.”
Chaudhri said the treatment works well for all people who suffer from depression, but to consult with your primary physician first before giving this method a try.
“I’ve been able to reengage in life, involved in a serious relationship now, which I couldn’t have done before,” Drake said.
“I own my own business now, I travel, the sky is blue again, the birds chirp. That was all lost for 18 years.”