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Now that Christmas is over and the last of the decorative lights has been packed away, those dark evening commutes and imminent credit card bills can seem darker still. Thankfully these are normal post-holiday blues that everybody is susceptible to. But what happens if you are feeling more stressed than normal and unable to shake these blues off? What if your sleep pattern is disturbed or you are more tearful than usual? Could you be depressed? How would you know? It turns out that this is sometimes a difficult question to answer, but there are some useful clues to watch out for and a revolutionary new treatment to overcome it.

Depression is a complex illness that affects every system of the body not just one’s mood. Studies have demonstrated that in depressed people sounds are not as sharp, colours not as bright, and food not as flavourful. In addition, one’s energy, concentration and interest (including sexual interest) can degrade, and constipation is common. Many psychiatrists, myself included, believe that the most important feature in depression is anhedonia or loss of pleasure in life. This one feature alone can undermine life engagement or work performance, and if pronounced, can escalate risk. The good news is all of this is usually treatable, and a new treatment called TMS is offering more hope than ever.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or rTMS for short is a Health Canada, NICE UK, and FDA approved treatment for depression. Harnessing long established scientific principles, TMS produces a magnetic pulse that stimulates brain cells under active in depression. By so doing, these cells become stronger, more responsive, and depressive symptoms improve. TMS holds two key advantages over conventional treatment. First, where three or four different medications may need to be prescribed over an eight to ten week period before people begin to feel better, with TMS people can feel better within a short number of days of commencing treatment. This ‘induction course’ involves 30 twice daily 3 minute sessions over 3 weeks, in an out-patient setting without any anaesthesia or sedation required. As a result, no recovery time is needed after each TMS session and one can immediately resume normal daily activities including driving. Secondly, TMS has no systemic side effects such as weight gain or sedation, and has no adverse impact on memory function.

In time, given its effectiveness, safety, and lack of side effects, it is anticipated that TMS will become a first line treatment for depression to help people recover and re-engage with their lives more quickly.

Neuromed Clinic now has advanced TMS treatment (Thetaburst), which is the most up to date technology in treating depression, anxiety and migraines. Reduce dependency on medication, and rediscover yourself with non-invasive TMS treatments for depression, anxiety, and migraines. Don’t just take our word for it, read our customer testimonials here. If you have any questions about TMS, please call us at (587) 860-1880 or email lisa@neuromedclinic.com. We can also be contacted through Facebook and Instagram.

Dr. Ivan Murray is a consultant psychiatrist with over twenty years of experience. He has completed TMS fellowships in both Harvard and Duke Universities, and is the clinical director of Neuromed Clinic, Edmonton’s first TMS clinic. To date Neuromed Clinic has successfully treated over 200 patients with depression.

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