Shepparton Private Hospital
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Ramsay announces new depression treatment in Shepparton

Oct 04, 2019

A treatment for depression which focuses a magnetic field to stimulate the brain will soon be made available to people in Shepparton.

In the lead up to Mental Health Awareness Week (October 5-11), Psychiatrist Dr Vijay Raj, revealed Ramsay Health Care’s Sherbourne Clinic, at the Shepparton Private Hospital would offer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) from early next year.

Dr Raj said the clinic had already ordered the equipment and anticipated it would be installed early in 2020.

The state of the art TMS equipment will be used on patients who have not responded to conventional medicines for depression.

“It will also be available for those patients who want to treat their depression without medication,” Dr Raj said.

“We already offer a number of highly effective treatments for depression including medication and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), but these can come with side effects that some patients find difficult to tolerate.

“While we will still need to do a thorough psychiatric assessment to ensure TMS is suitable for individual patients, for many it will be a less invasive way of stimulating areas of the brain which regulate mood.”

According to the Black Dog Institute, TMS is now an approved treatment for depression in countries including Australia, the United States, Canada, Israel and the United Kingdom. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists considers TMS to be an effective treatment for both non-treatment resistant and treatment resistant depression.

Patients sit in a chair similar to a dentist’s chair with a magnetic coil placed just above the pre-frontal cortex. Each session takes about 40 minutes and patients typically receive 20 - 30 sessions on consecutive days.

More than 7 million Australians aged 16 to 85 will experience a common mental health disorder during their lifetime.

Ramsay Health Care Mental Health Chair Kevin Cass-Ryall said there has been a gradual increase in the number of older people (65+ years) and younger people (16+ years) seeking assistance for a mental health condition.

“Patients want more specialised treatment and a more holistic approach to their recovery, along with a care regime that draws on a multidisciplinary team,” he said.

Ramsay Health Care, Australia’s largest private provider of acute mental health services has compiled a list of its five most commonly treated mental health disorders to help raise awareness of the conditions:

1. Mood disorders Comprise 45 per cent of all patients treated.
Includes depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia and other disorders characterised by the elevation or lowering of mood.
2. Addictions Comprise 25 per of all patients treated.
Physical and emotional dependence on substances or behaviours which may include drugs, alcohol, gambling and/or gaming.
3. Anxiety Disorders Comprise 15 per cent of all patients treated.
Symptoms can include muscular tension, heart palpitations, inability to concentrate, sleep or undertake normal activities and a feeling of intense fear and persistent and excessive worry.
4. PTSD
(Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Comprise 10 per cent of all patients treated.
A set of stress reactions in response to experiencing witnessing a life-threatening event such as an attack or assault, wartime conflict, natural disaster or serious accident. Symptoms may include re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance of any reminders, hyper-vigilance and feeling emotionally numb.
5. Psychotic Disorders Comprise 5 per cent of all patients treated.
An impaired interpretation of reality commonly associated with hallucinations and delusions

Source: Ramsay Health Care