Edward Fruitman, MD
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Depression Sufferers Turn to TMS

San Diego News-Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) does not require anti-depressants, and patients only need to relax in a chair while magnetic pulses are sent to key neurons in the brain.

Sonja Tanner, who is currently using TMS to treat her depression, has battled it for 25 years. “It’s been the battle of my life,” Tanner said.

Tanner has been on and off medication, but she recently turned to the Botkiss Center for TMS Therapy in Del Mar. She receives treatment by sitting in a chair, five days a week for 40 minutes, while pulses stimulate the parts of her brain that controls mood.

In about three weeks, she said she saw dramatic changes. “My focus was better, my memory was better, my anxiety was better,” Tanner said.

Dr. Philip Botkiss understands why some who have never heard of this may be skeptical. “Anything that’s new and different is going to be scrutinized in the psychiatric community and even by patients,” Botkiss said.

Tanner admitted she did not believe it would work either.

“I was the biggest skeptic, I really was … I have 25 years of non-effective treatment,” Tanner said.

The treatment has been approved by the FDA, and the American Psychiatric Association recently included TMS in its depression treatment guidelines.  ”It’s still relatively new so I think the challenge will be to find where it fits in our entire set of tools,” said Dr. Catherine Moore, a longtime psychiatrist and past president of the San Diego Psychiatric Society.

”TMS has been a lifesaver for me,” Tanner said.

About the Author
Dr. Edward Fruitman graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He went on to receive his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine. Dr. Fruitman completed his residency at Einstein/Montefiore. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.