Renewing Hope for Mental Health Patients
Photography by Jon Keeling
“Sometimes hopeless situations can have good outcomes,” says Jennifer Pierson, Director of Marketing and Outreach at the Lindner Center of HOPE.
Pierson is referring to patients who, after many failed attempts, have reached what may seem like the end of the road when it comes to finding effective treatments for conditions like major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In fact, the National Institutes of Health estimates that around 25 percent of major depressive disorder patients have tried multiple medications and psychotherapy over a long period of time without adequate results. At the Lindner Center of HOPE, treatments like Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), performed by experts in their fields, have emerged as promising alternatives for these patients.
Dr. Jonathan Cole, Adult Psychiatrist and medical director of TMS Services at the Lindner Center of HOPE, says major depressive disorder is the most common diagnosis in America. Most people with the diagnosis will find relief with medications and therapy, but for those who don’t, ECT and TMS may be the answer.
ECT has been administered for at least 80 years and boasts a 70 to 90 percent remission rate for patients with depression and is also used for conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Most insurance plans cover this treatment, which administers precisely calculated electrical currents to patients under general anesthesia in an outpatient setting. Patients can typically leave each session within 30 to 60 minutes, and often undergo a few sessions a week for 6 to 12 weeks.
TMS is similar in that patients receive the treatment in an outpatient setting over the course of several sessions, but it is less invasive and utilizes magnetic fields versus electrical pulses. It is used most often for treating depression. Dr. Nelson Rodriguez, Staff Psychiatrist and ECT and TMS expert, says that since patients are awake throughout the procedure, which does not require any anesthesia or sedation, they can typically return to work or their regular activity after leaving the facility. ECT is more akin to outpatient surgery and requires patients to be driven to and from treatments.
While TMS is a newer procedure, it is gaining acceptance throughout the medical community. Rodriguez says the FDA approves its use after just one failed antidepressant attempt. Insurance companies are covering the treatment more than in years past, as well, helping to bring the cost down for patients. Medicare was expanded to cover TMS treatment in 2014.
Both ECT and TMS are appropriate for a wide age range. Cole says the procedures are well tolerated in people from adolescence through geriatric ages.
Pierson says the Lindner Center of HOPE provides ECT and TMS treatment through the use of the latest medical technology available, which means shorter, more effective visits for patients. The facility has recently added an additional TMS treatment chair, opening up more capacity for this increasingly popular procedure.
The Lindner Center of HOPE is one of the top facilities in the country for the treatment of mood disorders, major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. “The Greater Cincinnati community has a valuable resource here,” says Rodriguez. “Not only do we have experts, but treatments. It’s very common that patients feel their treatments or meds aren’t working because everyone is different. Here, we have the ability to give people more hope.”
Cole encourages patients who have experienced treatment failures to strongly consider ECT or TMS, which are both recommended by the American Medical Association.
Rodriguez says some local patients and caregivers don’t wind up at the Lindner Center of HOPE until they’ve tried far-flung, out of state facilities. “But it’s available here,” he says. “People don’t have to live a life that is unsatisfactory. Positive changes can be made, right here.”
Lindner Center of HOPE Main Campus is located at 4075 Old Western Row Road, Mason OH 45040. Call 513.536.HOPE or visit lindnercenterofhope.org for more information.