ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) -Studies from the University of Washington show that Utah suffered the nation’s highest rate of major depression in 2017. Two Southern Utah providers are now looking to change that.
Dr. Denim Slade and Dr. Brian Nyberg, co-founders of TMS Success in St. George, are providing patients an alternative treatment for depression when antidepressants and therapy aren’t doing enough.
“It gives hope to people who have traditionally been without hope and have been struggling for a long time,” said Slade.
TMS patient Brookelan Bulloch suffered depression since she was a teen and suffered the loss of her mother to suicide. Bulloch said the day she first received treatment was the first day of the rest of her life.
“It was kind of like starting over and getting my brain to do what it was supposed to do from the beginning,” said Bulloch.
TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a safe, non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. Bulloch says that her mood and energy improved within just a week of treatment, even improving her relationship with her daughter.
“Since I’ve been doing treatment and I haven’t been so teary-eyed and I can do the things that I need to do, she can focus more on being a kid,” Bulloch said. “Her overall happiness seems to be doing better too.”
TMS had only previously been offered at the University of Utah, so it’s a first of its kind psychiatric treatment in Southern Utah.
Dr. Slade said that treatment lasts approximately 20 minutes and is done five times a week for six weeks. Slade said that in one 20-minute session, the brain is stimulated 3000 times.
“Something started to come on in their eyes,” Nyberg said. “Even though there were challenges with their therapy and other complex issues in their life, it was like they were better able to handle them.”
Dr. Nyberg said that while anti-depressants work, most long-term users experience multiple side effects such as weight gain and fatigue and face withdrawal symptoms after quitting.