Magnets Relieve Depression

FRESNO, Calif.

Melissa Schultz enjoys spending time with her two best friends. But at one time, just playing a game of fetch with dog, Ava, was too much for her to handle.

"You just feel like you're up to your knees in mud," Schultz told Ivanhoe.

She felt the first symptoms of depression at just 12 years old. At 33, an accidental sleeping pill overdose landed her in the hospital for several days.

"What we find is if someone's had one episode of depression, there's a 50-percent chance of it coming back," H. J. Schulte, M.D., FAPA, a board-certified psychiatrist and board-certified addictionologist from the Schulte Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz., told Ivanhoe.

Now, a one-of-its kind treatment is offering hope by zapping the problem away.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is FDA-approved to treat patients who have failed on anti-depression medication -- like Steve. He was diagnosed three years ago after realizing the disease was ruining his life.

"Everything I looked at, I just hated. I wanted nothing more than to die. The sooner, the better," Steve told Ivanhoe.

Sick of medications that didn't work, Steve decided to try something new. TMS works by placing a magnet about the size of a hockey puck over the left front part of the brain. Four seconds of pulses per minute -- for 37 minutes a day -- of rapid electricity is pulsed to the magnet, creating a cascade of electrochemical changes in the brain that help to heal depression. "Now, we have a consistent way of finding the right spot of how much energy we give, and over what time," Dr. Schulte said.

Patients need to have the treatment five days a week for four to six weeks. The long process didn't stop Steve -- who hopes this treatment will help him improve his mood and ease his depression.

TMS is not FDA-approved for bipolar depression. A small percent of those who have tried it have suffered seizures as a result of the treatment.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marsha Hitchcock at

Henry J. Schulte, MD
TMS of the Valley

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