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New option for treating severe depression

By Dawn Burleigh

More than 3 million adults in Texas are living with a mental illness, and more than 700,000 have had suicidal ideation in the past year. During COVID-19, mental health symptoms have continued to increase, with depression rates three times normal levels due to the pandemic.

Beaumont Psychiatry is addressing the community’s mental health needs by offering BrainsWay’s FDA-cleared Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (Deep TMS) helmet to treat patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The treatment is noninvasive and has seen clinically proven results for the 40% of those diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression.

Treatment is for those patients who have shown their depression is resistant to antidepressants or on two or more antidepressants and showing failure to respond to treatment.

Dr. Mensah

Dr. Jason Mensah, of Beaumont Psychiatric Clinic, opted to give the device an opportunity in 2017 and has seen positive results.

“The data for trying it was compelling,” Mensah said. “It is for treatment resistant depression and 70-percent who have used it have had a positive response.”

Typically, patients who are referred to the unique helmet, are not able to work or function in daily activities due to the severity of their depression.

“At least 50-percent of patients showed a decrease in depression,” Mensah said. “And 50-precent have shown to be in remission which means there are no signs of the depression.”

Beaumont Psychiatric Clinic treats patients from all over with some traveling from Lake Charles and California.

Several of the patients are from the Orange County area.

Deep TMS uses a cushioned helmet to safely administer electromagnetic waves – similar to those used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems – into the deep structures of the brain. The treatment typically requires eight to 12 week, 20-minute sessions for patients with major depressive disorder. Deep TMS’ ability to reach the brain’s deeper brain structures directly helps prevent a decrease in the magnetic field’s intensity. This helps maintain the field’s effectiveness without needing to increase the intensity to a level that risks causing undesirable side effects.

Patients can return to their daily activities and drive immediately following the treatment, there is no need for anesthesia.

“When I started Beaumont Psychiatric Clinic, I wanted to give a quality of care so people would not feel they needed to travel to Houston for treatment,” Mensah said.

Deep TMS offers that quality of care.

“It is an in-office treatment,” Mensah said. “You can drive to treatment, receive the 20-minute treatment and then drive yourself home.”

While the treatment is typically, eight -12 weeks, Dr. Mensah said it is preferable to receive the treatment five times a week.

“I typically like to do five treatments per week because the treatment changes the neurocircuitry of the brain,” Mensah said. “The electromagnetic waves directly stimulate the prefrontal cortex of the brain and when that area is understimulated it is highly correlated with people who have symptoms of depression.”

When Mensah opened the clinic in 2017, he wanted to offer a ‘one-stop’ shop to help his patients.

“We offer medication management, psychotherapy, Spravato and Ketamine Infusion Therapy and Deep TMS,” Mensah said.

Spravato is a fast-acting, FDA-approved nasal spray that uses the S-enantiomer of ketamine — esketamine to relieve symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. It may or may not be combined with other antidepressant medications, and many patients notice an improvement in their symptoms in as little as 24 hours, according to Beaumont Psychiatric Clinic website.

The U.S. FDA approved SPRAVATO® to be used in combination with an oral antidepressant to treat adults with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and depressive symptoms in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) with acute suicidal ideation or behavior, according to http://spravatomedia.isebox.net/spravato/spravato-esketamine-ciii-nasal-spray

During Deep TMS treatments, one will rest in a comfortable chair with the Brainsway helmet positioned on one’s head. One may notice a tapping sound or sensation during the procedure. It’s not painful and doesn’t cause any side effects.