When Drugs Fail, This Helmet May Help Those with Severe Depression

Tests are currently underway to see if it can also apply to OCD, bipolar disorder, and PSTD.

By Alain StephensJuly 7, 2016 1:28 pm, ,

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says 14.8 million American adults – about 7 percent of the population – are believed to be living with clinical depression. It’s a problem that costs the U.S. approximately $210 billion annually – stemming from treatment to missed work days. The solution might be better technology.

Digital Savant Omar Gallaga, of the Austin American-Statesman’s 512 Tech, has the scoop on what one device can do to alleviate depression.

Gallaga says that when he was first introduced to the Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (Deep TMS) Helmet, he thought it was just a piece of fringe technology. But he quickly found out that it’s a legitimate device – and FDA approved – for people who aren’t responding to the normal pharmaceutical solutions.

“It stimulates the primary motor cortex, and basically kind of rewires the way we handle emotions,” he says. “It’s not quite as effective as electro-convulsive therapy- what we call ‘shock treatment’ – which has very severe side effects. But in some cases it actually works better than a lot of pharmacological solutions.”

What’s unique about this helmet is that doesn’t send shocks – it sends magnetic waves.

“It is an actual helmet that’s put on the head,” he says, “and it sends a pulse for two seconds and then 20 seconds of rest…that goes for about 20 minutes. Patients go in every day for five days a week through a course and then tapers off after nine weeks. And they’re getting good results.”

Listen to the full interview in the player above.