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Family 411: Unique treatment for when medications for depression don’t work

by Tara Morgan |Thursday, October 13th 2016

© 2016 Sinclair Broadcast Group

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(WSYX/WTTE) — Depression is more than a rough patch, it’s a serious mental health condition. There are signs families should look for and a unique treatment when medications just don’t work.

Barb Blaschke is beaming over a trip of a lifetime.

family depression

“The wedding was in France,” said Blaschke.

A family vacation to watch her son walk down the aisle. One she knew she had to find a way to enjoy.

“I think I’ve probably had depression all of my life,” said Blaschke.

Major depression with a steady grip.

“I have been so depressed where I couldn’t even get out of bed,” said Blaschke.

Blaschke says aside from her husband and mother, there wasn’t a lot of understanding in the home.

“They look at it as a choice if you just look at the bright side of things your day would go better,” said Blaschke.

OhioHealth psychiatrist Megan Schabbing says more than half of people depression have not been diagnosed.

“Certainly major warning signs for depression would be any kind of thoughts of wishing you were dead even if they’re passive thoughts,” said Dr. Schabbing.

There are risk factors like divorce, death of a loved one or job loss. For some it’s hereditary.

“A person can develop depression regardless out of the blue,” said Dr. Schabbing.

Blaschke’s depression worsened with menopause. Medication wasn’t working anymore.

“I was just tired and down to my last line,” said Blaschke.

Dr. Schabbing says many people don’t respond to typical anti-depressants or tolerate the side effects. Some even build up a resistance.

“This is the TMS machine the patient sits here in the chair,” said Dr. Schabbing.

TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation is an FDA approved alternative.

“It’s very non-invasive and very localized,” said Dr. Schabbing.

The machine sends magnetic pulses to the brain on and off for nearly 40 minutes.

“If the mind is being actively engaged during treatment the treatment will be more effective,” said Dr. Schabbing.

“I had never heard of it didn’t know it existed,” said Blaschke.

Dr. Schabbing saw a world of difference in Blaschke in just a couple weeks.

“I wanted to do things again I really had a genuine interest,” said Blaschke.

The fog lifted revealing a new life.

“Oh and I love this picture,” said Blaschke.

Her son saw a big difference.

“He was thrilled he said it’s like I have my old mom back,” said Blaschke.

Blaschke encourages families to ask questions and seek new treatments when they feel like all hope is lost.

“Don’t feel like you have to rely on the medication because those may not be the only way or the best way,” said Blaschke.

Dr. Schabbing says TMS has an 80 percent success rate. Patients will remain on some medication for depression.

She says the same treatment is now being studied for use in pain, dementia and anxiety.

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