Sound Mind TMS offers Cullman new solutions in mental health treatment

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(Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman native and familiar face Dr. Robert Smith opened Sound Mind TMS Therapy Clinic, located at 1809 Dahlke Dr. and adjacent to Cullman Regional Medical Center, earlier this spring.

Enthusiastic about the potential impact of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy among the growing population of those seeking treatment for mental health issues, Smith opted to further his education after over 35 years in family and emergency medicine. Once completing his TMS fellowship at the esteemed Duke University, Smith knew that bringing the innovative treatment to his hometown of Cullman was imperative.

“We have so many people suffering these days and just not enough treatment providers in our area. I am happy to make a new option for mental health treatment available in Cullman.”

Diving into the nitty gritty, Dr. Smith shares, “The left prefrontal cortex of the brain is where you are, where you are listening, making decisions and you’re also thinking about what you’re going to have for supper today. It’s where your personality is, your opinions, your tastes. It’s where YOU are.”

“In severely depressed people, this area of the brain looks like North Korea at nighttime, little activity on an MRI. It’s dim without a lot of neural activity which makes sense with the symptoms of depression being what they are. We are basically able to massage that area of the brain with an electromagnet.”

Requiring little investment of time and minimal, if any, side effects, Dr. Smith’s regimen involves 36 total treatments, enabling patients to come in over their lunchbreak if needed.

He continued, “You can come in from work or school and drive yourself without a chaperone. There’s no anesthesia and you’re not asleep at all. From the time a patient comes in the office until they leave after their session is only 30 minutes.”

The patient is seated comfortably in a chair and supplied with a pillow and blanket if desired. The helmet, which transmits the magnetic field, is positioned and the 20-minute session begins.

Approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to treat patients diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) since 2008, TMS is generally recommended for treatment-resistant depression, meaning patients who have not responded well to medication therapy and/or cognitive behavior therapy and other forms of psychotherapy. Smith noted that outcomes can more positive if a patient is currently on a medication regimen and/or psychotherapy, and TMS therapy is incorporated to work in conjunction with those modalities.

More recently, the FDA has approved TMS for patients with an anxiety disorder comorbidity. Those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder and nicotine smokers have also benefited from TMS treatment episodes.

The efficacy rate for mental illness sufferers is approximately 67% with one-third of patients entering remission from their illness for 10-12 months and another third experiencing a marked, measurable improvement of their often-debilitating symptoms. Smith’s current caseload reflects those numbers. He also makes a point to note that the side effects from his treatment is far less than those associated with medication treatment. Among the side effects of medication can include weight gain, dehydration and decreased libido.

Currently approved by Cigna and Optum Insurance, more companies are expected to jump on board in the coming months. Private pay options are available as well.

To schedule an appointment or to learn more about TMS treatment, please contact Sound Mind TMS Therapy at 256-735-9475 or visit their website at https://www.soundmindtms.com/.

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