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'Their life totally changes' | One-of-a-kind TMS training facility to help treat people with major depression

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved non-drug option working to reduce depression and hopefully save lives

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Those suffering from major depressive disorder are receiving new hope with the opening of a new training facility in Uptown Charlotte that's focused on transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and its effect on improving mental health.

Neurostar is leading the effort and wants to help spread the word about TMS by inviting people all over the country to learn more and receive training on this non-drug option in treating depression.

If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.

“Our mission here is to try and broaden awareness that there is a non-drug alternative and our focus of the company is to focus on reducing that number of patients that are thinking of suicide," Neuronetics President and CEO Keith Sullivan said. 

Charlotte-area Navy veteran Daniel Cooke is one of those patients who was diagnosed with depression and PTSD.

Credit: WCNC Charlotte

“It was like death creeped in," Cooke said. "I’ve had five suicide attempts, I’ve been hospitalized five times, and I lost hope.”

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Cooke says several different types of medication became ineffective for him. Then the VA recommended he check out TMS Of The Carolinas and that's when he began treatments.

“Weeks five and six I started to feel it and by week nine it was like the depression disappeared it was a like a magic trick it went away," Cooke said.

TMS works as a magnetic pulse is delivered to the brain through the skull. That works to control your mood and energize a specific area of the brain to help relieve depression. The treatment is FDA-approved and patients describe it as a tapping sensation on your skull with no pain or discomfort.

Sessions take less than 20 minutes and are completed over the course of several weeks for a total of 36 sessions. For many patients, the TMS treatment is life-changing.

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“When you see them shift and their life totally changes they go out and they’re our best advocates and they’re telling everybody," TMS of the Carolinas Co-Founder Terry Wise said. 

Already Neurostar says they've treated 134,000 patients. With more training and awareness, the goal is to treat more than 166,000 patients within five years, and based on the current suicide rate that means about 3,325 lives could be saved.

“Never give up and I would just tell people there is always something out there," Cooke said.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  

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