covid

TMS is a natural way to deal with depression in pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed and affected the way we go about our daily lives. Before the virus became widespread, parties, festivals, and work went on unabated. Hardly would you find anyone with a mask on. Now, we all move about with facemasks and hand sanitizers, constantly washing our hands and avoiding interpersonal contact. Whilst we’ve managed to move work, businesses, education, healthcare, and even religion online, an unexpected offshoot of the virus is fast spreading. Its name, depression.

Keeping things in check during a pandemic was always going to be hard. Particularly with the restrictions put in place on human interactions. Earlier this year, the United States had to enforce lockdown measures in a bid to limit the spread of the virus. This was because it was fast becoming the epicenter of COVID-19 cases. Many businesses and schools that could afford to, responded to this by moving their activities online. However, several individuals, companies, and organizations were affected. Many of them had to close up shops and lay off workers causing loss of jobs and other employment benefits.

A study by the University of Boston during the lockdown period showed that depression rates among American adults shot up by 100%. That is, the number of people suffering from, and likely to be diagnosed with one form of depression or the other had doubled. This isn’t far fetched as many went out of job, had financial worries, health insurance problems, and also faced food insecurity. In sharp contrast to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2017/18), which recorded 8.5% depression rates among American adults, the University’s study showed a worrisome 27.8% rate, which is more than thrice the figures pre-pandemic.

Amidst these uncertainties, depression, and anxiety are certain to kick in, even as the cases continue to rise. Luckily, there are several vaccines available now, but the effects of the COVID-19 virus are far from gone. Speaking with Dr. David Penner of OlympiaTMS, the Harvard trained psychiatrist highlighted the possible measures for combating these depressive symptoms.

“Social contact is fundamental to being human.  I recommend as much as possible reaching out to those you are close to, regular zoom calls, distanced gatherings maintaining 6 feet apart while wearing a mask outside.  Also as the days blur together during this pandemic as much structure to your daily life as possible, scheduled activities and even mealtimes to recreate as much as possible a normal progression of a day.”

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-intrusive treatment administered to patients suffering from major depressive disorders. TMS works by stimulating the prefrontal cortex of the brain to enhance mood and help patients go about their daily activities with more zeal. This form of treatment is recommended for patients who haven’t responded positively to therapy and medication. The procedure lasts between 3 to 19 minutes, without the need for any forms of anesthesia and fewer side effects. TMS is approved by the FDA and also recommended by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Olympia residents with depressive symptoms can book an appointment by filling a form online to see if they qualify for TMS treatments. More details and updates on TMS treatments in Olympia are available here.

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