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From darkness to light

High-tech depression treatment may help when other options fail.

Article Author: Beth Stambaugh

Article Date:

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For decades, depression was David Ellis’ constant companion. The downward dips left him feeling sad and hopeless, making it hard for him to do everyday activities.

During the day, Ellis was exhausted. At night, he struggled to fall asleep. He overate to try to make himself better, but it made him feel worse. He lost interest in his favorite hobby – restoring his old car. His world felt dark. Sometimes, he even thought about taking his own life.

Ellis tried medications and counseling to treat his depression and was even hospitalized a couple of times. Those treatments helped a little, but the results were only temporary.

“I tried pretty much everything that was available and nothing really helped,” he said. “I would get partial relief, but the depression still affected me every day.”

A pulse of hope

Ellis was referred to Baptist Behavioral Health for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a noninvasive outpatient treatment that uses magnetic fields to improve depression symptoms. Most people get TMS therapy when other treatments have failed, or haven't worked well enough.

TMS is delivered using magnetic pulses through the scalp, stimulating nerve cells in areas of the brain affected by depression. Sessions take less than 30 minutes and are spaced out over several weeks. Patients can resume normal activities immediately after each visit.

“I had tried everything else, so I thought I’d give it a shot; it couldn’t hurt,” said Ellis.

Within a few weeks, his symptoms started to improve. Ellis noticed he was feeling more hopeful and positive. He began sleeping better and looked forward to each new day.

A new outlook

By the end of his two-month treatment, Ellis felt like a different person.

“I was in pretty bad shape before – I was suicidal,” he recalled. “At the end of treatment, I felt better than I had in a long time, and that feeling has lasted. TMS has helped me so much.”

Ellis is much more light-hearted these days and is even enjoying a new hobby. He works on carburetors, a car part that mixes fuel into the air entering the engine.

“I’m doing so much better now. I’m on an even keel, that’s the best way I can describe it,” he said. “I’m doing OK and I’m not worried about the future.”

For more information about TMS or to request an appointment, click here or call 904.376.3800.

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