How Common is Depression and TMS Therapy in America?

The World Health Organization tells us that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In 2017, approximately 17.3 million adults (age 18 or older) in the US experienced a major depressive episode. 

Depression is not simply feeling sad or down. When someone feels sad for a prolonged period of time and these feelings of sadness interfere with their ability to go to work and function normally on a daily basis, they might be depressed.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?

The National Institute of Mental Health defines the symptoms of depression as the following:

  • Persistent sadness

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Decreased energy and/or fatigue

  • Difficulty making decisions or concentration

  • Change in appetite

  • Irritability

  • Feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness

  • Thoughts of death and/or suicide

An individual is said to have depression when these symptoms persist for two weeks. The symptoms experienced will differ for each individual — some people will only experience a few of these symptoms, while others will experience more.

How is Depression Treated in the United States?

No one treatment works for every individual with depression. It may take several weeks of collaboration with a physician to find the treatment that works best. 


There are a few different types of antidepressant medications that are used to treat depression. Each type of antidepressant uses a different mechanism to interact with neurotransmitters (chemicals that allow brain cells to communicate with one another) in the brain and ultimately alter mood.

Psychotherapy (talk therapy)

Talk therapy has been proven to help individuals with depression. When combined with antidepressants, it can have a stronger impact on patients than when used alone. Talk therapy helps patients cope with the symptoms of depression, identify and manage stressors, and can even help motivate them to stick to treatment. 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, oftentimes referred to as TMS therapy, is an FDA-approved therapy used to treat individuals with treatment-resistant depression. When a person tries two or more antidepressants, and has also undergone talk therapy, and does not see relief from depressive symptoms, this is referred to as treatment-resistant depression. 

TMS therapy is a treatment that works by stimulating nerve cells in a specific part of the brain associated with mood. This is achieved by emitting magnetic fields from a coil that sits above the head.

How TMS Therapy Can Change the Future of Depression Treatment

TMS therapy offers additional treatment options for those who do not see relief of symptoms with antidepressants, or those who wish to avoid the side effects associated with antidepressants. It also opens the door to continuing research and investigation for alternative treatments for depression. 

Dignity Brain Health in Boston Is Here To Help

If you have any questions about depression and how TMS therapy can help relieve depressive symptoms, know that you can contact our caring and attentive staff at Dignity Brain Health in Boston. We’re here to answer questions, help with treatment, and most importantly, serve as a support system for your depression treatment with TMS therapy.