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Magnetic therapy dispelling patients’ depression

Updated: 01/19/2015 8:04 PM | Created: 01/19/2015 6:30 PM | By: Elaine Houston

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Mary Haskins celebrated her late parents’ January birthdays last week in a way that wouldn’t have been possible a year ago. Since 2003, Haskins has lived with severe clinical depression that made normal life a struggle.

“I was absolutely and utterly hopeless that there was anything that would ever make me feel better in my whole life,” Haskins said. “I was in bed and I was crying all day. I couldn’t focus or concentrate and I lost two jobs because of it.”

She said the emotions would cause her to spiral into a pit of depression that would last for days, weeks and, sometimes, months.

“It was really harmful to my family because they couldn’t count on me,” Haskins, who has been married for 25 years and has three children, two step-children and a grandchild. “The kids had to take on more responsibility and my husband was doing everything around the house. I would make meals reluctantly because it interrupted my sitting around the house feeling horrible.”

But in recent weeks things have been different. She celebrated her parents memory with activities that helped her relive the fondest moments of her childhood.

Haskins credits the turnaround to completing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy — a six-week treatment that uses highly focused magnetic pulses to stimulate key neurons in the brain and clear the dark clouds depression. TMS is a non-invasive office procedure with no anesthesia — the patient sits in a chair while a small a magnetic field generator or “coil” on the scalp targets the precise location in the cortex that controls mood.

Haskins first heard about the treatment on a visit to her psychiatrist. She was browsing through brochures and saw a new procedure that lifted her spirits.

“I’ve been through many drug treatments of many different combinations. Sometimes they work and things would be better for a while, but inevitably they stopped working,” Haskins said. “There was an open house and I immediately came over to sign up.”

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