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Correctional Medical Care's Mental Health Tech Week IV

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Most people may not know what Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is, or understand how and why it works. Correctional Medical Care explains a little more about it.

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Correctional Medical Care's Mental Health Tech Week IV

  1. 1. Mental Health Technology Correctional Medical Care Week Four: TMS/Fisher Wallace
  2. 2. A note from Correctional Medical Care: For the past few weeks on CorrectionalMedicalCare.net, we’ve decided to use this platform to outline and highlight recent and ever­ evolving methods of mental health care. The topic of technological advancements can polarize an audience; some believe that with each step forward technology takes comes a coinciding step forward for mankind. Others believe that we’ve become too reliant on technology, citing our seeming dependence on smartphones, television and tablet computers.  To view our blog posts, visit CorrectionalMedicalCare.net
  3. 3. What is TMS? Don’t let the overly­scientific sounding mishmash of words in this treatment’s title fool you: transcranial magnetic stimulation (or TMS) is simply a headpiece (or headband in some instances) that magnetically stimulations certain regions of your brain to help with the treatment of major depressive disorder.
  4. 4. While TMS has been around for quite some time–it was theorized in the early 1900s and studied more extensively in the 1980s–recent adaptations and changes have standard TMS practices both in function and results. In traditional TMS treatments, a coil is placed near the head of the patient experiencing symptoms. The coil, which is connected to a pulse generator, creates a small electrical current near the head via induction. Traditional TMS
  5. 5. Why Does TMS Work and Is it Safe? This electrical current can help stimulate areas of the brain into creating more serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes mental well­being and better sleep patterns. Serotonin is the primary beneficiary of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor), a common form of antidepressant. Unlike antidepressants, however, TMS does not come with an incredibly lengthy list of potential side effects; the most prevalent being rare cases of fainting and slight discomfort.
  6. 6. What Can TMS Treat? As of right now, TMS is only FDA cleared to treat major depressive disorder, but a new treatment option that closely aligns with the core concepts of TMS features a wider array of options.
  7. 7. The Fisher Wallace Stimulator The Fisher Wallace Stimulator operates in a similar manner to standard TMS procedures, albeit at a significantly cheaper price. While the two are both non­invasive brain stimulators intended to treat mental illness without medication, they do carry with them some differences. Because of the simplicity of the Fisher Wallace Stimulator (batteries instead of a magnet, a headband instead of a coil), the device is available at a notably smaller price and for use at your own home.
  8. 8. TMS vs. Fisher Wallace Stimulator Perhaps most importantly is the variety and validity of the uses of the Fisher Wallace Stimulator. Instead of TMS, which is FDA cleared only for treatment of major depressive disorder, the Fisher Wallace Stimulator has been cleared to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia and pain via the same means. Multiple studies have confirmed the validity of the ability of the Fisher Wallace Stimulator to treat these diseases. An added benefit of opting for the Fisher Wallace Stimulator, which has been around since the early 2000s, is the lack of side effects. One out of approximately 450 can experience headaches, but no other side effects were reported in a Harvard study.
  9. 9. Fisher Wallace Now, and in the Future Though it may not be “new” in the conventional sense, the Fisher Wallace Stimulator and TMS as a whole have been pushing their way into the medical field as a valid means of non­medicinal treatment. The stimulator has even been shown to have the potential to be more effective than classic SSRIs, lending credibility to a device that some may feel is unproven.  Undoubtedly, more testing and development of devices like the Fisher Wallace Stimulator will occur in the near future as our technology continues to grow.

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