This 59-year-old patient who simply wanted to be called "Jerry" for the purposes of this story says he’s struggled with depression most of his adult life. And he’s tried more medications than he can count to treat it.
"Jerry", who’s being treated for depression said, “They either don’t work at all or work for some period of time as little a few weeks or a few months but after that the depression creeps back and overcomes the positive effects the meds had.”
But his psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Manevitz with New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center says more patients like him have been getting the help they need with newer technology, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS therapy.
Dr. Manevitz said, “This was developed originally for treatment of resistant depression for patients who failed with antidepressants. It has been found to be highly effective in patients at this point in time who failed at least one treatment of antidepressants.”
The machine works by sending magnetic pulses to stimulate key areas of the brain that control the mood.
Dr. Manevitz said, “What we found is that using a combination of the TMS and cognitive behavior therapy along with medications, we have been able to show a result of 90% response rate and 70 to 80% remission rate in our patients.”
And for those patients that result seems to be truly life-changing.
“It was to the point that I couldn’t get out of the house to go to the supermarket, it was a daunting task. Now I am awake. I can get up in the morning, stay awake, be alert, be functional,” said Jerry.
The cost of treatment does come with a hefty out-of-pocket price tag, about $350 for each procedure over a course of four to six weeks, racking up to about $10,500. Some insurance companies are covering the treatment through appeals, but doctors and patients are hoping more will hop on board.