Help at hand for sufferers of depression

Revolutionary: Psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu Pothala demonstrates the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine, used in therapy for treatment-resistant depression at Toronto Private. Picture: Simone De Peak.SUFFERERS oftreatment-resistant depression can now access a revolutionary therapy in the Hunter that promises long-lasting results with minimal risk.
苏州美甲美睫培训

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is used to treat severe depression. It is usually recommended only after medication and psychotherapy have failed. Upuntil now, Hunter patients have had to travel to Sydney to access it.Toronto Private Hospital has begun offering rTMS therapy.

Consultant psychiatrist Vasantha Bhanu Pothala said it “filled the gap” betweenmedication and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

“Thisnew treatment is a good alternative for those people who are not responding to medication, and who experience side effects from the medication,” Dr Pothala said.

“ECT is for severe cases oflife-threatening depression, but it needs to be done under anaesthesia, and there are a number of risks associated with it, which is why it’s not suitable for everyone.”

Help at hand for sufferers of depression Revolutionary: Anna Campbell, executive assistant at Toronto Private Hospital, sits in to help demonstrate the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine used for treatment-resistant depression as psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu Pothala adjusts it. Picture: Simone De Peak.

Revolutionary: Anna Campbell, executive assistant at Toronto Private Hospital, sits in to help demonstrate the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine used for treatment-resistant depression as psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu Pothala adjusts it. Picture: Simone De Peak.

Revolutionary: Psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu and Jason Thomas, CEO Toronto Private Hospital, looking at the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine used for treatment-resistant depression. Picture by Simone De Peak.

Revolutionary: Psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu and Jason Thomas, CEO Toronto Private Hospital, looking at the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine used for treatment-resistant depression. Picture by Simone De Peak.

TweetFacebook When the drugs don’t work for depression, this might.Dr Pothala said rTMS therapy worked by using a magnet to target and stimulate specific areas of the brain.

Hesaid alarge number of studies had shown it to be effective in activating the parts of the brain that help to ease the symptoms of depression.

“It ismuch more suitable for people who cannot take medication, or do not respond to medication, and it is a treatment we can use without anaesthesia, with minimal risks,” he said.

“We target very specific areas in the brain that deal with depression and we activate them, and that helps to repair the neuronsto help the brain to repair itself. The effects are long lasting.”

During the sessions, an electromagnetic coil placed on the forehead sends pulses to a targeted part of the brain to stimulate nerve cells that can influence depression.

The hospital is offering the therapyto inpatients attending its Depression Management Program at no extra cost. Patients need private hospital cover for mental health admissions, or be prepared to self-fund.

Toronto Private Hospital chief executive Jason Thomas said the technology would supplement the services already offered at their Woodlands Mental Health Unit.