Anxiety, Depression

Decoding Neurohealth and Its Relation To TMS Treatment

You may have heard of transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, before. It’s a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate the brain. 

But what you may not know is that TMS is rooted in neuroscience—the study of the nervous system. In this post, we’ll explore what neuro health is and how transcranial magnetic stimulation can help improve not only your mental health but your entire life.

cropped view of senior man playing with puzzles

What is Neurohealth?

Neurohealth is a branch of neuroscience that focuses on the relationship between the nervous system and full-body health. 

Neuroscientists who study neurohealth aim to understand how the nervous system affects our physical and mental health, and vice versa. By understanding this relationship, we can develop new treatments for conditions like depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and more.

To put it simply, neuro health is a state of well-being that is achieved by maintaining healthy brain function. This can be accomplished through lifestyle choices, diet, exercise, and mental stimulation. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors:

Lifestyle Choices

Your lifestyle choices have a direct impact on your neuro health. Things like smoking, drinking, and drug use can all lead to negative consequences for your brain health. Additionally, chronic stress can also take a toll on your cognitive function. On the other hand, things like getting enough sleep, managing stress, and socializing can all help improve your neuro health.

Diet

What you eat also plays a role in your neuro health. A balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is ideal. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for maintaining healthy brain function. You can get omega-3s by eating fish or taking a supplement.

Exercise

Exercise is not only good for your physical health but it’s also good for your brain health. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps to reduce inflammation. It also helps to reduce stress and improve sleep quality. All of these things are important for maintaining a healthy brain.

Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation is also important for keeping your brain healthy. Activities like reading, puzzles, and crosswords can help to keep your mind sharp as you age. Challenging yourself with new activities can also help to keep your mind active and engaged.

What Does TMS Do?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate the brain. During a TMS session, a coil is placed against your head near your forehead. The coil produces brief magnetic pulses that pass through your skull and stimulate the neurons in your brain.

How Does TMS Work?

TMS is thought to work by sending electrical currents directly into targeted brain regions. These currents then adjust the activity of neurons in the area, which can lead to changes in brain function. 

For example, TMS has been shown to increase blood flow and neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain responsible for higher-order cognition and executive function.

TMS is usually given five times per week for four to six weeks. Each session lasts about 30 to 60 minutes, during which time the patient sits in a chair and wears a helmet that delivers the magnetic pulses. There is no anesthesia required and most people report no side effects.

While TMS is most commonly used to treat depression, it has also been shown to be effective for a variety of other conditions, such as OCD, PTSD, and chronic pain. In addition, TMS is being investigated as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.

How does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Tie Into Neuroscience?

As we mentioned before, TMS is rooted in neuroscience—the study of the nervous system. By understanding how the nervous system works, we can develop new and effective treatments for conditions like depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and more.

In other words, transcranial magnetic stimulation is a neuroscientific approach to treating mental health conditions. The goal of TMS is to stimulate the neurons in the brain in order to improve mood and alleviate symptoms of mental illness. Through research, TMS has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

 If you’re interested in learning more about neuro health and TMS, please contact us today. 

How Can TMS Help My Mental Health?

TMS is a breakthrough treatment for depression because it offers hope to people who have not been able to find relief from other treatments, such as therapy and medication. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, TMS has been found to be an effective treatment for major depression that has not responded well to other treatments. 

The electrical pulses delivered through TMS have the ability to directly target specific areas of the brain in ways other treatments simply can’t. Many patients find relief from their depressive symptoms within the first few sessions.

Researchers are also studying whether TMS can be used to treat other conditions like anxiety, OCD, PTSD, migraines, and more. While more research is needed, preliminary studies suggest that TMS may be an effective treatment for these conditions as well. 

Neurohealth and TMS Go Hand In Hand:

In conclusion, neurohealth is a branch of neuroscience that focuses on the relationship between the nervous system and health. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate the brain and it is rooted in neuroscience. 

TMS is FDA-approved to treat depression that has not responded to other treatments like medication or therapy but researchers are also studying whether TMS can be used to treat other conditions like anxiety, OCD, PTSD, migraines, etc. 

If you want to learn more about neuro health or TMS please contact our TMS Doctor today at 301-363-1063

Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1024oO_mxcFgE3Gsuo8ZogD-jnoEi_ixEWS_3tayc7gg/edit?usp=sharing

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/about/pac-20384625

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Anxiety, Depression

Is There a Link Between Anxiety and Depression?

When you think of anxiety, what comes to mind? Probably something related to a heightened state of arousal (due to adrenaline pumping through the body). 

Now, when you think of depression, what comes to mind? Depression symptoms often look like fatigue, burnout, or an overall state of apathy. 

Despite anxiety disorders being considered a ‘high energy’ condition, and major depressive disorders being considered a ‘low energy’ condition, these two mental illnesses actually have quite a bit in common. 

If you feel as though you’re experiencing both, you might be overwhelmed by your treatment options.

Let’s talk about the relationship between depression and anxiety and what you can do to gain control over your mental health. 

What Causes Anxiety?

There are various forms of anxiety however the most common and broad diagnosis given to a majority of patients is generalized anxiety disorder

This type of anxiety is characterized by a chronic state of fear, worry, or stress about everyday life. In some cases, their anxiety may be triggered by seemingly nothing at all!

Since every person’s experience with anxiety is unique, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes it. However, there are a few known reasons anxiety can occur:

Past or Childhood Experiences:

Childhood is an extremely sensitive stage in life, and going through any sort of trauma during these developmental years can follow you into adulthood. Many people that suffer from anxiety have a history of physical or emotional abuse, neglect, bullying, or racism. 

Current Situations:

Ongoing problems in life can also cause anxiety to form. These events can include (but are not limited to):

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Exhaustion 
  • Burnout
  • Stress
  • Sudden change 
  • Financial problems 
  • Losing someone 
  • Abuse 

Other Causes:

Here are other common reasons anxiety may begin to take over:

  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Other mental illnesses (such as depression) 
  • Genetics
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Diet
  • Certain medications
  • Physical health problems 

What Causes Depression?

Depression is known as a chronic low mood made up of feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, frustration, guilt, and despair. Many people that experience depression may not know exactly why they feel depressed, they just know they do. 

Depression can make an individual lose sudden interest in things that once made them happy, while simultaneously avoiding social events and gatherings that may have previously attended. 

Thankfully, much research has been done on why depression occurs. These factors can vary greatly from person to person, and some people have more than one. Just with anxiety, depression is unique from person to person however common similarities remain. 

Past or Childhood Experiences:

Early trauma can become integrated into our subconscious, making us view the world in a cynical, negative manner even if we don’t remember the event as an adult. 

Experiences of abuse, neglect, assault, or unstable family life can all contribute to depression later on. 

In addition, children that experience many smaller challenges in life are more at risk for developing depression than children who only experience one or two stressful events. 

Current Situations:

Large changes in day-to-day life as an adult can make you feel completely overwhelmed, and cause your body to shut down. This can cause feelings of depression and hopelessness. 

Circumstances include:

  • Losing a job 
  • Unemployment 
  • Financial burdens 
  • Death of a loved one
  • Marriage 
  • Divorce 
  • Abuse or assault 
  • Bullying 

Other Causes:

Just like anxiety, there are other reasons depression may occur such as:

  • Genetics
  • Other mental illnesses (such as anxiety)
  • Physical health problems 
  • Diet
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Alcohol and substance use

Looking At The Connection Between Anxiety and Depression:

Now that we’re clear on what causes anxiety and depression we can see a direct connection between the two. These two mental illnesses, while anxiety and depressive symptoms differ - have the same causes. This is why depression and anxiety often occur simultaneously in many patients. 

The relationship between anxiety and depression is cyclical. This means one can easily cause the other. 

Anxiety disorders cause more than just fear and worry. They can cause an internal battle of low self-esteem, disgust, and negative thoughts. All of these can trigger depression. 

Nevertheless, depression is more than just feeling sad. It can bring about feelings of losing control, restlessness, or irritability. All of these can increase stress and cause anxiety to form. 

This cyclical relationship is even more prominent if either disorder is left untreated. Unmanaged anxiety can turn into major depressive disorder as each day seems like a never ending internal battle. On the other hand, unmanaged depression can manifest into anxiety as an individual may begin to feel completely overwhelmed with day to day life. 

Are Medications The Best Treatment For Anxiety and Depression?

Many people will tell you to turn to medication for your anxiety and depression. While medications have been used for decades with success, there are many harmful side effects that can occur. 

Some of the most common include:

  • Shakiness
  • Feeling nauseous 
  • Indigestion 
  • Diarrhea or constipation 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss or weight gain 
  • Dizziness 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Dependence 

If you feel as though you need medication it’s often highly encouraged to engage in another form of treatment such as therapy. While medications may work in the short term, they aren’t a long-term solution nor do they get to the root of the problem. 

In addition, antidepressant medications may not be recommended for use with other prescriptions, while pregnant, or while breastfeeding. This means you may find yourself having to quit cold turkey at some point in the future, which can lead to even more problems. 

What Is The Best Treatment Option For Anxiety and Depression?

Here at Gemini TMS we desire to heal your mind from the inside out. Instead of pushing potentially harmful medications and sending you on your way, we work to provide relief from anxiety and depression without risky side-effects. 

But how do we do this?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is how. TMS is an FDA-approved, long-lasting treatment option for patients with both anxiety and/or depression. It’s a non-invasive way to target the centers of the brain associated with both mood and mental illness. 

TMS is an excellent option for residents of Elkridge, Maryland who feel as though their anxiety and depression have become unresponsive to other forms of treatment, or who are searching for an alternative to traditional antidepressant medication.

If you struggle with the debilitating impact anxiety and depression have on your life, TMS may be the key. Finding freedom and healing from mental illness is possible. In fact, it just may be the best decision you ever make.

Sources:

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A women suffering from depression side effects
Anxiety, Depression

Side Effects Of TMS Therapy

An estimated 21 million adults in the United States suffered from at least one major depressive episode in 2020. 

While many are prescribed antidepressants, there are alternative treatments with promising results gaining popularity among sufferers.  

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an alternative brain stimulation therapy. It can improve symptoms of neurological or mental health disorders, including major depression

But what are the side effects of TMS therapy? 

Learn more about TMS therapy's side effects before weighing up your treatment options. 

What Is TMS Therapy?

TMS therapy is a noninvasive procedure. The technique uses magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in a specific brain area. It is a treatment designed for people with severe depression who haven't had any success on antidepressant medication. 

While TMS has shown great promise with major depression, it is also a possible treatment for schizophrenia, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

In 2008, the FDA cleared TMS therapy for treatment in depressed adult patients when antidepressants have failed to work. Although it was developed in the 1980s, relatively few know about TMS's advantages and disadvantages. 

How Does TMS Work?

TMS works by treating the underactive areas of the brain that are responsible for your mood with mild magnetic pulses that stimulate cells and improve brain function.

These pulses encourage the cells to re-activate and release mood-enhancing signals throughout the body, relieving stubborn depression symptoms. 

During a TMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against the patient's head. The coil directs a concentrated magnetic field to pre-determined mapped areas on the brain. It encourages the brain to produce serotonin improving mood and relieving symptoms. 

As the magnetic pulses are delivered into the brain, it will make a clicking noise, and a patient may also feel a tap on their head with each pulse. This is entirely normal. While earplugs are provided, many choose to listen to music through earbuds or headphones.  

Treatment sessions vary in length. This typically depends on the number of pulses delivered. For most patients, treatment lasts around 40 minutes. Once finished, patients are welcome to resume their everyday duties. 

Is TMS Therapy Safe? 

Yes. Unlike other invasive treatments, TMS does not require surgery and is considered safe and well-tolerated.

Some of the benefits of TMS include:

  • Noninvasive 
  • FDA-approved 
  • Promote improved sleep 
  • Elevate mood
  • Provide long-lasting relief from depression
  • It does not require anesthesia 
  • Improve mild anxiety  

Many patients who receive TMS therapy report several improvements in their depression symptoms. They include an elevated mood, decreased feelings of sadness, and a renewed interest in hobbies.

Side Effects of TMS Therapy

As with any treatment, it's important to understand the pros and cons. While the negative side effects of TMS therapy are minimal, knowing what to expect will help you decide whether to go ahead with the treatment. 

The following are possible transcranial magnetic stimulation side effects that patients may experience during treatment. 

Mild Headaches

Mild headaches are one of the most common side effects patients report when undergoing TMS therapy. Headaches during and after TMS are not uncommon and are typically resolved with over-the-counter pain relief. Patients are more likely to experience headaches during their first session, but the frequency decreases with subsequent sessions. 

-

Scalp Pain

While the pulses are emitting, patients may experience mild scalp irritation. This is caused by the light tapping sensation on the scalp. The few who experience scalp pain often find it improves over time as they get used to the tapping sensation. 

-

Neck Pain

It is not uncommon for patients to experience mild neck pain during and after their treatment session. The pain tends to diminish throughout treatment. However, adjustments can be made in coil repositioning and stimulation settings to reduce discomfort. 

-

Tingling

Most TMS patients experience no side effects, but some report tingling sensations in the jaw, face, and scalp. However, most find the tingling sensation decreases within a few weeks after the completion of treatment. 

-

Facial Twitching

Because TMS utilizes magnetic waves to stimulate peripheral nerves, patients may experience mild facial twitching. While it may feel odd, it is normal to feel your face twitch during treatment sessions. They are harmless and nothing to feel concerned about.  

-

Low Risk of Seizures 

The vast majority of patients who undergo TMS will not experience seizures. However, there are several factors that can impact the probability of seizures.

Factors include patients with:

  • Epilepsy 
  • Traumatic brain injury 
  • Excessive alcohol use 
  • Sleep deprivation

Healthy patients with no preexisting conditions have an extremely low risk of experiencing seizures due to TMS therapy. A recent study found that the risk of TMS-related seizures is <1% overall. 

-

Time Commitment 

Depending on how you respond to the treatment, TMS therapy can last for about 4 to 6 weeks with five sessions per week. This requires a significant time commitment that not everyone can achieve.

However, TMS therapy does not require sedation that can interfere with the ability to work or drive. Once your session is over, you can resume normal activities. 

Depression Medication Side Effects

Antidepressants are the most common medicine prescribed to treat major depression. They aim to correct chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain. 

Unfortunately, antidepressants can cause unpleasant side effects. The following are possible antidepressant side effects that patients may experience.

-

Nausea

Nause is a common side effect during the first few weeks of taking the medication. As your serotonin levels increase, the stimulation can cause GI-related symptoms such as nausea. Patients may also experience nausea when treatment is stopped too suddenly. 

-

Weight Gain

Weight gain is an unpleasant side effect of nearly all antidepressant medications. Some patients are unfazed by weight gain as it outweighs their symptoms of depression. While others, especially younger individuals, are more affected. 

-

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a typical side effect of many antidepressants. That's some because antidepressants have an inhibiting influence on saliva production. This may lead to a dry mouth. 

Many patients find sipping water regularly, and chewing gum are strategies to reduce dry mouth. 

-

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is not an uncommon side effect for patients taking antidepressants. Select SSRIs such as Prozac and Lexapro can affect the muscle function of the eye and make it difficult to focus on objects. Depression medications may also increase the risk of developing cataracts in order patients. 

-

Serotonin Syndrome 

While uncommon, serotonin syndrome is a severe set of side effects linked to SSRIs and SNRIs. It occurs when your serotonin levels are too high. Symptoms may include: 

  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Muscle twitching
  • Sweating
  • Shivering

More severe serotonin syndrome symptoms include seizures, arrhythmia, and unconsciousness. 

-

Suicidal Thoughts 

The ultimate goal of antidepressants is to reduce the symptoms of depression. In rare cases, patients may experience suicidal thoughts and a desire to self-harm. This typically occurs in patients under 25. 

Those who experience suicidal thoughts on depression medication should reconsider their treatment options. 

Who Cannot Get TMS Therapy?

TMS therapy isn't for everyone. While it is considered safe, some people should avoid this treatment. 

You cannot get TMS therapy if you have the following: 

  • Metal devices or objects implanted in your head  
  • History of epilepsy or seizures
  • History of substance abuse 
  • Facial tattoos with metallic ink 
  • Stents in the neck or brain

Since TMS has a strong magnet, patients with any form of a metal non-removable head implant are advised not to pursue this treatment. The magnet can make implants move or heat up, causing severe head trauma. 

Who Will Benefit From TMS Therapy?

TMS doesn't work for everyone. But when it does, symptoms of depression can improve significantly. In some cases, they may go away completely. 

To benefit from TMS therapy, you will need to be the right candidate. You may be able to have TMS therapy if you: 

  • Have a major depressive disorder diagnosis 
  • Traditional medications have failed to work
  • You're not satisfied with the results from traditional medication
  • You can't tolerate the side effects of medication 
  • You have an illness that restricts what types of medication you can take
  • Your depression continues to interfere with your day-to-day life

During your initial consultation, your physician will review your history and conduct an assessment to determine if TMS therapy is right for you. 

Invigorate Your Life With TMS Therapy 

When you consider the side effects of TMS therapy, it's important to weigh them up against other forms of treatment, including antidepressants. 

At the end of the day, TMS has advantages and disadvantages. While antidepressants may provide short-term relief, some people need to take them long-term to experience continued success. Coming off can also cause withdrawal and set you up for a relapse. 

On the other hand, TMS therapy works relatively quickly with a high success rate for treating depression. While you may experience symptoms, these are generally mild and will go away after several treatments. 

If you're suffering from severe and debilitating depression, TMS therapy may be right for you. 

Contact of TMS office in Mt. Airy Maryland to schedule a consultation today. 

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Anxiety, Depression

Alternative Treatments for Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are some of the most common types of mental health disorders found in people today. Approximately 40 million US adults have an anxiety disorder and an estimated 16.1 million US adults are struggling with depression, with it being the number one cause of disability. Depression and anxiety are typically treated with medication or a type of therapy or a combination of both. However, if these methods have not worked for you then there are alternative treatments that you can try. 

 

Overview of Depression and Anxiety 

Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, is a mood disorder that is recognized for causing a persistent feeling of sadness and a potential loss of interest in the things a person previously took joy in. Depression can cause several emotional and physical problems and can make it difficult for people to function in their daily lives, sometimes even leaving them bedridden. Aside from sadness, depression symptoms can manifest as guilt, hopelessness, apathy, irritability, restlessness, loss of interest in activities, insomnia, loss of appetite, inability to focus, and fatigue. 

Anxiety is a normal response to stressful situations, such as public speaking, but the body can get trapped in the stress cycle and develop an anxiety problem. Anxiety is part of the body’s fight or flight response to what it perceives as danger and has a physiological effect as a coping mechanism. Anxiety can leave a person with intense and excessive levels of worry, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling restless and tense. Anxiety attacks, which are sudden episodes of intense anxiety, can be a common occurrence. Anxiety can be a serious disruption to a person’s life and daily activities. 

Many people can experience anxiety and depression together and both conditions usually require treatment for a person to get back to the sense of normalcy that they had before.  

 

What are Alternative Treatments? 

In cases of depression and anxiety, the standard practice is to prescribe antidepressants and psychotherapy. Alternative therapies for depression and anxiety are not considered to be first-line treatments and are usually referred to when a person does not respond well to medication and/or therapy. The good news is that there are several alternative treatments that have been shown to have a positive effect on people with depression and/or anxiety. Some alternative treatments have been FDA-approved specifically for treating depression. 

 

Alternative Treatments for Depression and Anxiety 

Usually, those with depression and anxiety are treated with a classification of medications known as antidepressants. One of the most common complaints of these medicines is the side effects and the way they leave a person feeling. Your depression and/or anxiety may also not respond well to an antidepressant. If that is the case, and talk therapy has not been effective either, then here are alternative treatments that you might look into. 

IV Ketamine Infusion 

Intravenous ketamine infusion therapy is a groundbreaking treatment used for a variety of psychiatric disorders and chronic pain conditions. Ketamine has been around for decades and was originally used as an anesthetic drug for soldiers around the 1960’s-1970’s. Now, IV ketamine infusions, that have removed the anesthetic component, have been found to be able to help relieve symptoms in severe cases of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.  

The ketamine infusion is administered through a slow IV (a needle inserted into the vein) drip to deliver quick and long-lasting relief. The ketamine works by providing therapeutic effects to the areas of the brain that control mood. During the treatment, the patient is allowed to sit and relax while the medicine is slowly flowing into the body through the IV, and a sense of calm should kick in during treatment. Patients may notice an immediate difference, but it usually takes a few hours for the medicine to fully take effect and have a true, noticeable difference. The IV ketamine infusion is not considered a cure for depression or anxiety and will require further infusions on an as-needed basis to maintain the effects. However, it is not like typical antidepressants that have to be taken every day. 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) 

Also known as TMS therapy, this treatment is a non-pharmacological option for depression and anxiety and is FDA-approved for depression. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a noninvasive procedure that has been shown to be highly effective for treatment-resistant depression and some evidence supports its efficacy for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. TMS effects on anxiety does vary depending on a patient’s exact condition and the level of magnetic pulses, along with other factors.  

TMS works by having an electromagnetic coil or cap placed on a patients head, near the forehead, which generates a magnetic field to create a small electrical current that pulses through the scalp. These electromagnetic pulses target a specific area of the brain that controls mood, which is mapped out before the procedure begins, and stimulates the nerve cells. This increases activity in that part of the brain, which is linked to contributing to depression, so that mood is lifted and depression symptoms cease. If anxiety is present along with depression, then anxiety symptoms should also improve with the depression symptoms. 
 

Vagus Nerve Stimulation 

While vagus nerve stimulation is primarily used to treat epilepsy, it was approved in 2005 by the FDA for treatment resistant depression. This is a surgical procedure where a pacemaker-like device is implanted in the body and is connected to a wire that threaded along the vagus nerve. The device send electrical pulses along the nerve to stimulate it for a set period of time. The stimulation seems to change brain waves and depression symptoms can be relieved. 

 

Stellate Ganglion Blocks 

This treatment is often used for chronic pain, but is also a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and related depression and anxiety symptoms. Stellate ganglion blocks, or SGB, is an injection of local anesthesia that is administered to the ganglion nerves. The ganglion nerves are part of the sympathetic nervous system, which are nerves that supply the arms and the face. The blocks disrupt sympathetic activity along these stellate ganglion and turns off the body’s fight or flight response, which allows the brain time to reset and escape the stress cycle so that PTSD and comorbid anxiety and depression symptoms cease. 

This procedure uses fluoroscopy, which uses x-rays to create a real-time video, to help guide the healthcare professional so they will give the injection in the correct place. The effects should kick in within a half hour and the stellate ganglion becomes numb. The whole procedure takes maybe 15 minutes. SGB can help lower stress hormones from being produced, which contributes to anxiety and depression. 
 

Spravato 

This is a brand name medication that is FDA approved to treat major depressive disorder and treatment resistant depression. Spravato contains esketamine and comes as a nasal spray. The dosage and how often it should be used will be determined by the prescribing doctor. 

All of these treatments are painless and considered to be safe to use. If you have treatment resistant depression and/or anxiety then talk to your doctor about any possible alternative treatments that may work for you.  

Our office at Gemini Health is happy to be offering alternative treatments for depression and anxiety, including stellate ganglion blocks as a new service, and want to work with you to help you get back to leading a happy, fulfilling life. We understand how important emotional health is and strive to assist you in achieving your goals. Our partnering office at Pain and Spine Specialists, who we collaborate with to provide patients chronic pain management, is also happy to work with you to give you access to these treatments. 

 

Looking for Therapy Options? 

If you are looking for therapy services for mental health concerns, or if you have any questions regarding our services, call Gemini Health today! Our highly skilled mental health professionals are experienced in treating various mental and behavioral health concerns. They offer both individual and group therapy. Plus, there are no wait times to join groups. Call (301) 363-1063 and speak to our staff to schedule your appointment today! 

 

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Anxiety, Depression

Causes of Brain Fog

Brain fog can be experienced as confusion, lack of mental clarity, inability to focus, and forgetfulness. For some individuals, they may experience feeling disoriented or distracted, or regular daily tasks may take longer to complete. These experiences of brain fog are a common characterization of this state.

What Is Brain Fog? 

Experiencing brain fog can be a scary occurrence. Especially if it seems to be happening frequently. You may begin to worry about the impact it has on your day-to-day life. Many people use the phrase “brain fog” in different ways, but what is it? Brain fog is not a medical condition but can be a side effect from other underlying conditions.  

Brain fog can be experienced as confusion, lack of mental clarity, inability to focus, and forgetfulness. For some individuals, they may experience feeling disoriented or distracted, or regular daily tasks may take longer to complete. These experiences of brain fog are a common characterization of this state. 

If you find yourself overworking, persistently stressed out, or have a lack of sleep, you may be laying the ground work for brain fog to manifest itself. When evaluated from a biological stance, brain fog may also be due to a cellular change in the body. High levels of inflammation and hormonal changes that determine mood and focus may contribute to your brain fog. Individuals may also be susceptible to other conditions once brain fog is present, such as obesity, hormonal imbalances, and diabetes.  

What Causes Brain Fog? 

Brain fog can be disorienting and frightening. Your ability to think clearly becomes impaired and the effects on your cognitive function become apparent. Because brain fog is typically a symptom of another condition, this type of cognitive dysfunction may have several explanations. Some potential causes of your brain fog may be: 

Depression: Depression is a mental illness that can take a significant toll on your thinking, behavior, and mood. As mental health conditions/concerns increase, the more likely you are to experience brain fog. Your ability to think clearly becomes affected because your brain functioning changes. These changes impair the brain and prevent it from working as effectively as it could.  

Sleep Deprivation: Lack of sleep, whether it’s one day or several days can negatively impact your ability to think clearly or focus. You may be suffering from insomnia (which may require medical supervision) and find yourself becoming easily confused. Poor sleeping habits can increase your feelings of disorientation, distraction, and fogginess. 

Anxiety/Stress: When you experience anxiety and stress, your ability to focus becomes negatively impacted. The anxious anxiety that may consume you also exhausts your brain. Your cognitive energy becomes hyper focused on what is stressing you out, and you begin to lose your present focus. This creates mental exhaustion. When you are mentally exhausted, your memory suffers, your ability to focus suffers, and your mental health suffers. If you find your mental health degrading, it becomes harder to think, reason, and focus. This will only compound your daily confusion.  

Hormonal Changes: Shifts in hormones can greatly impact your physical and emotional health. When your body experiences high levels of anxiety and stress, your brain also releases “stress hormones.” The brain releases cortisol, and elevated cortisol levels impact your cognitive functioning negatively. This feeling of “burn out” occurs from the weakening connection in the brain due to these stress hormones. Also, elevated estrogen and progesterone that naturally occurs during pregnancy causes noticeable shifts, colloquially referred to as “pregnancy brain.” And attention to details and focusing on tasks begins to feel impossible.  

Diet: The brain (just as the rest of your body) requires proper nutrition and care. If your diet is composed of unhealthy food that do not support cognitive functioning, your ability to maintain mental clarity is impacted. It is critical for your brain to receive nutrients such as iron and vitamin B-12. 

Medications: It is not uncommon for some people to experience brain fog from certain medications. These prescriptions may have side effects that include cognitive disfunction. Your medication may cause you to be confused or have an inability to focus. You may find yourself experiencing increased fatigue. It is critical that you discuss any of these side effects experienced with your doctor. You may need to adjust the dosage of your medication or change it entirely.  

What Does Brain Fog Do To Your Mental Health? 

Mental clarity and the ability to focus are interconnected to brain health. Sometimes, it may also feel like a “chicken and the egg” situation. If you suffer from a mental illness, your risk for brain fog increases. And with the inability to concentrate or finding yourself unable to complete daily tasks, you may become disheartened and find your mental health deteriorating. Dark thoughts and cloudy thinking become intertwined.  

Your cognitive disfunction can have an impact on your mental health. Sometimes the causes of your mental illness and your brain fog may be triggered by the same catalyst. High levels of stress, poor diet, and hormonal imbalances can lead to an increase of brain fog and exacerbated symptoms of mental illness.  

Interestingly enough, a common cause for both mental illness and brain fog can be traced to brain inflammation. Inflammatory responses in the brain foster depression symptoms, anxiety, and exhaustion. And the way inflammation manifests in the brain, so does cognitive dysfunction. When the brain’s ability to produce neurons becomes affected, communication between the cells becomes difficult. These responses are so similar it may make it difficult to determine which symptom is caused by what.  

How To Treat Brain Fog 

Determining how to treat your brain fog is contingent on determining its cause. Some minor and moderate lifestyle changes can significantly improve your brain fog and its related symptoms. Some changes that may help your cognitive dysfunction are: 

  • Diet Change: Improving your diet with healthier food choice encourages brain health 
  • Meditation: Decreasing your stress levels can encourage positive thinking 
  • Sleep: Enough sleep and rest will support brain health 

Other options to foster a healthy brain environment and improve brain function would be the incorporation of vitamins and supplements. Some vitamins to consider incorporating in your daily routine are: 

  • Ginseng: Helps regulate the body’s immune responses and stress induced hormonal changes 
  • Fish Oil: The omega 3 fatty acids improve brain function, vision, and motor skills 
  • Ginkgo Biloba: The anti-inflammatory effect improves mood, increases energy, and improves memory. It can also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Vitamin B Complex: These vitamins encourage your body to make and store energy from your food and red blood cells. They also assist in proper bodily functions and the digestive system.

What To Take Away 

While brain fog can be frustrating and inconvenient, there are things you can do to improve your brain’s ability to function. The important thing to do is not ignore symptoms, regardless of how mild they may appear. If left untreated the quality of your life may be negatively impacted. Relief from brain fog is possible.  

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Depression Therapy
Anxiety

Therapy for Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are some of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions. Millions are affected globally. Daily stressors and difficult life experiences cause many to suffer from anxiety and depression. Anxiety is the body’s inherent reaction to stressful or fear inducing situations.  TMS therapy for depression

When anxiety becomes so heightened that it becomes debilitating, it is considered an anxiety disorder. 40 Million adults suffer from anxiety or an anxiety disorder every single year.  

Many people who are diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety (and vice versa). These mental health conditions can, and do, occur simultaneously. When the brain circuits that regulate the emotions connected with fear and apprehension, begin to fail, anxiety disorders start to manifest.  

Treating anxiety can vary for many. Sometimes medication and talk therapy can prove successful. But when people experience cooccurring mental health conditions, it may not be enough.  

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an FDA approved treatment for chronic depression. The region of the brain that controls depression symptoms also control anxiety symptoms. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been recognized by clinicians as a promising treatment for individuals suffering from anxiety.  

Many have begun incorporating TMS treatment as part of their anxiety management.  

What Is Anxiety?  

When anxiety is experienced consistently it can greatly hinder your daily life. Anxiety may manifest different depending on the person experiencing it. However, there are several common symptoms of general anxiety. They can include: 

  • Rapid breathing 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Difficulty with concentration 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Restlessness 

What does anxiety do to the brain? The region of the brain that controls your response to a stimulus fails to function appropriately. This region also controls depression symptoms experienced by an individual. A small event may be experienced disproportionately.  

The brain begins releasing “fear” chemicals through the body, causing the body to respond viscerally. Anxiety can be overwhelming and overpowering on your rational thought process.  

Types Of Anxiety 

Anxiety disorders are not limited to one sensation or one environment. There may be specific “triggers” that induce an anxious reaction. Some common types of anxiety disorders are: 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A disorder that is characterized by its chronic reoccurrence. Manifests persistent and excessive anxiety and worry that is disproportionate to the circumstances surrounding the feelings. 

Specific Phobias: A disorder that produces major anxiety when exposed to a specific situation or object with a deep desire to avoid it.  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): An anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a traumatic or frightening event. Events or individuals that remind the person of the initial trauma may “trigger” an anxious outburst or response. 

Social Anxiety Disorder: A disorder that is characterized by excessive self-consciousness in normal every day social situations. It may be limited to public speaking or attending parties. But it may also encompass all types of social interaction.  

What Is TMS? 

If you are suffering from anxiety and looking for an effective treatment, TMS can help. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (or TMS) is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation. The nerve cells that are connected to anxiety and depression are stimulated, effecting and altering the brain’s neurotransmitter levels.  

TMS therapy is an intensive approach which has shown to activate regions of the brain that have become dormant. The treatment requires several sessions over a period of time, with relief being provided after a few.  

TMS is a a non-drug treatment that helps provide relief from severe depression and anxiety without the physical side effects associated with medications. This therapy is an outpatient procedure that allows patients to maintain their daily routines while receiving treatment for their anxiety.  

Patients are not prevented from participating in their daily routines from their TMS treatment for anxiety. Patients can utilize TMS treatment for anxiety by itself or in conjunction with a medication regimen and talk therapy. Each person is different and the nature of their anxiety can vary.  

TMS Therapy For Depression 

TMS has proven to be an effective tool in psychiatry. Initially TMS was incorporated as a mental health tool for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Many who have utilized TMS as part of their depression treatment have experienced largely positive results.  

But because so many people who experience depression also experience anxiety, TMS treatment for anxiety also provides a new hope for these individuals. This brain stimulation encourages the anxiety-inducing region of the brain back to health by activating the same neural networks.  

The brain circuits that are activated when experiencing anxiety cause a “fight or flight” response in the corporal body. The different regions of the brain communicate and release these “fear hormones” and produce anxiety symptoms.  

TMS concentrates its magnetic field treatment to specific regions of the brain. These targeted areas are responsible for these fear symptoms. TMS manipulates the neural activity that releases these anxiety hormones.  TMS therapy for depression

The mental health professionals who conduct the therapy will determine the strength of the magnet and identify the most effective way to target this treatment to the brain’s specific nerve cells. Many patients experience a mild tapping on their scalp from the magnetic impulses, but the sensation is not a painful one.  

By increasing the neural activity an individual can begin to experience relief from their crushing anxiety symptoms. TMS therapy for anxiety has proven successful for many. This stimulation-based therapy helps improve the brain’s functionality and ability to regulate emotions.  

Is TMS Therapy For Anxiety Right For You? 

If you are suffering from anxiety that interferes with your life it is important to consult with a mental health professional. They will provide you with an evaluation and provide you with recommendations on how to treat and manage your symptoms.  

TMS therapy for anxiety can only be recommended by a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist will be able to thoroughly evaluate your mental health history and the effects of your anxiety symptoms on your life. If they determine you are an appropriate candidate for this treatment, they will be able to guide you in your individualized TMS treatment.  TMS therapy for depression

TMS is an innovative solution that provides individuals with tangible relief from their symptoms.   Patients experience the normalization of their neurochemistry and improvement in their anxiety. TMS is a non-pharmacological procedure that does not require any sedation and allows patients the freedom of being able to drive themselves home (before and after). The magnetic stimulation directly treats the “source” of your anxiety (i.e., your brain). Patients can utilize TMS as a singular treatment or combine it with their regular medication regimen and talk therapy. When traditional attempts at managing anxiety have not worked, you should consider incorporating TMS as part of your treatment. 

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