If you have ever encountered depression or anxiety, you will know regaining your emotional strength can take some time.
You should also know that you’re not alone, because one person in five in the UK experiences one or both conditions. Above all, you can rest assured that in the care of proficient, sympathetic professionals, you have every chance of recovery.
Traditional treatments may entail medication, talking therapies or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. However, last February, up here in the North West, a new light appeared at the end of the tunnel. Senior consultant psychiatrist Dr Nikhila Deshpande opened the Tranquil TMS clinic in Cheadle, introducing a tried, tested, non-invasive and time-saving therapy she first heard about ten years ago and kept in mind.
Presently available in only four NHS trusts, Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – or rTMS – was developed in 1985 in Sheffield by Professor Anthony Barker and uses a magnet to target and stimulate specific areas of your brain. There’s no anaesthetic andfew known side-effects. Proven successful for the treatment of depression, anxiety and indeed other conditions too, rTMS will not disrupt your routine but enable you, within weeks, to resume your normal way of life. In fact, you can drive yourself to and from the clinic.
Founder-director Dr Deshpande says, “I care deeply for my patients. I believe in this treatment because I have seen its results and its positive impact upon patients, carers and families. Hearing someone state, ‘This is the first time my mind is clear’ was unforgettable. You see, rTMS is another arm to treat someone already on medication, someone unresponsive to other therapiesor someone averse to anti-depressants and their side-effects. It may also prevent a patient descending into severe depression. But, I must add, if you have schizophrenia, psychosis or epilepsy, rTMS is not for you.”
So, what actually happens? Firstly, you can refer yourself to Tranquil TMS or be referred via your GP for an in-depth, two and half hour consultation with Dr Deshpande or her co-director, Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Babu Nayar.
Dr Nayar explains,“To evaluate if our treatment is right for you, we need to know your psychiatric history, diagnoses, medications and any therapies and healthcare professionals previously involved. If we’re sure rTMS is appropriate, we take you through the process and procedure, decide how often you need to attend, and have you meet the team. Then, you decide.”
It’s important you are comfortable. Tranquil TMS’s psychiatric nurses settle you into a recliner and place an H-shaped magnetic coil, firmly secured onto a disposable swimming-style cap, on your head. The coil relays magnetic pulses to your brain, targeting under-performing areas related to depression, anxiety or both. The aim is to stimulate your brain cells, so their functioning improves.
The Tranquil TMS course comprises four to six weeks of five weekday sessions, each lasting up to 45 minutes. Obviously, recovery is entirely individual but the hallmark of rTMS is its immediacy. Dr Nayar recalls, “For one lady, our treatment succeeded so quickly, she was back at work long before completing our course. In fact, squeezing in her remaining sessions was quite a struggle!”
When treating depression, the magnet lies to the left of your head, for anxiety it’s to the right. For both conditions, the magnet covers both areas. Meanwhile, you can simply chat, chill, listen to music or doze off as the magnet-coil pulsates, tapping gently onto your head. Should you experience any abreaction, treatment is immediately stopped.
Lesser known here but used in the USA since 2008 and now in Europe, Scandinavia and Asia, rTMS gained FDA authorisation in 2008, NICE approval in 2015 and in 2017 was endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Treatment is covered by some health insurance companies.
Compassionate and dedicated to their profession,Drs Deshpande and Nayar topped up their 40 years’ joint experience in over-18s’ mental health with specialist rTMS training. Clinical TMS Society member Nikhila concludes, “In medical science, there are no 100% guarantees. But, I’d love to see greater use of rTMS for depression and anxiety, as it would benefit patients, carers, employers and families. Emotionally, financially, communally and time-wise, it’s an all-round cost-cutter and, above all else, will help you recoup your mental health.”
“It’s like someone brushing the brain gently.” “It’s as if someone is pouring milk on the acid.”
rTMS is effective for:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
rTMS may also relieve:
Depression in fibromyalgia
Depression in cancer
Depression in chronic pain
Cheadle Royal Business Park
Stockport SK8 3GP
Consultation rooms at Kenmore Medical Centre,
60-62 Alderley Road,
Call: 0800 246 1412
Author : Emily Fitzgibbons
Editor at The Glossy Magazine | Journalist & Office Manager at Salutions Limited