TAMPA, Fla — They say a picture is worth a thousand words but for Bay area nurse Telicia Schroeder, the difference between her "before and after photos" for TMS therapy can be summed up in about 20.
"I felt much better. I felt, I felt like 'wow. I actually have a drive to go for a walk in the neighborhood,'" she said.
Schroeder used TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapyto treat her depression and PTSD.
"We've tried several different medications none of them were working, none of them were making me feel better, I didn't have good days at all," she said.
The FDA-approved therapy uses magnetic waves to stimulate a part of the frontal lobe, in 20-minute sessions, to help wake up the parts of your brain that help regulate your mood.
"We want to activate a 'sleepy brain' so you want to do it with consistency so we have a lasting effect over time," Dr. Khaled Borwarshi said.
Dr. Borwarshi is Schroeder's doctor and the founder of the Florida TMS Clinic in Wesley Chapel. He told ABC Action News that standard depression treatments don't work for a third of patients, but often they don't know about things like TMS.
"In my opinion, any psychiatric clinic they should have that option available," he said. "It's not informed consent for patients if you don't know your treatment options."
He added that since the pandemic started and more people began struggling with depression his practice has seen a rise in demand.
"My practice was at one treatment chair when we opened before the pandemic and now we have four treatment chairs," he said.
The treatment is typically done five days a week for six weeks and then tapered off. While every insurance provider has different rules on who qualifies for coverage, Schroeder advised looking into TMS, if you feel like you need it, is worth a try.
"It sounds like TMS therapy in some ways kind of gave you your life back. Is that fair to say?" ABC Action News reporter Rochelle Alleyne asked.
"Yes. Yeah I would say that's fair to say," Schroeder replied.