Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a painless and effective way to stimulate neurocircuitry. This “reboots” the wiring of the brain in a way that improves mood, even in patients who are resistant to other forms of treatment. The aim is to allow parts of the brain impacted by depression to heal.Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration since 2008, this treatment is widely used in Europe and Australia and is available in Johannesburg. However, Cape Town has been slow to catch up – until now.
Dr Marcelle Stastny, a Constantia-based psychiatrist in private practice, recently opened a TMS clinic in Wynberg to serve both her patients and those who are referred from other psychiatric practices. “TMS is an effective alternative treatment for patients who experience intolerable side effects to chemical antidepressants,” she says. “The treatments are painless, and unlike traditional shock therapy, and does not require general anaesthetic.”
The TMS treatment offered at the ReWire clinic (www.rewire.co.za) requires a time and financial commitment – a treatment programme consists of 30 sessions and South African medical aids are still debating the merits of covering the cost of them – but for those who struggle with resistant depression or the side effects of anti-depressant drugs, it’s an attractive alternative. “I grew tired of hearing of the amazing results delivered by TMS in other parts of the world,” says Dr Stastny. “I wanted my patients to have access to this revolutionary treatment too.”