CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Lucelia Lima is among the 14-million Americans who suffer from depression.
"If you can imagine a paralysis of your body," says Lima. "I used to be very outgoing, always wanted to do something and I just changed, wanted to stay home, I didn't want him to go out."
Now she's turning to new technology to help treat the problem: "Transcrancial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy," also known as TMS. It was recently approved by the FDA and now available at one Chattanooga office.
"The TMS gives magnetic pulses to the prefrontal cortex that cause the prefrontal cortex to light back up and turn back on," says Psychiatrist, Dr. Tim Jennings.
Nationwide, 4.6% of the population suffers from depression, but in Tennessee, the rate of depression is more than twice the national average at 9.8%.
In Hamilton County, an estimated 33,000 residents have recently experienced a major depression episode.
"This is a normal brain, bright activity and this is a depressed brain, circuits of the brain are not active like they should be," says Dr. Jennings.
This non-invasive procedure is providing an alternative for patients like Lima who no longer want to take medications.
"You're alert, you're awake, you sit in a chair in my office, you get a magnetic pulse and it reblances the neural circuits and treats depression," says Dr. Jennings.
For Lima, after just over half an hour, her session is done. And more importantly...
"I have noticed a difference in my willingness in the morning to get up," says Lima.
Depression is a life-long commitment. In most cases, for the first 4-6 weeks, patients come Monday through Friday. Then, some transition back to medication, while others continue the TMS therapy and taper their treatment to once a month.