Research shows alternative treatment for depression can help improve symptoms

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Suffering from depression, Kevin Perkins felt guilt and felt like a burden on his family.

"It got to the point where I went down to part-time work because stuff like getting out of bed every day was one of the hardest things to do," said Perkins.

But speaking to a therapist wasn't helping and taking medicine caused terrible side effects.

"I realized I couldn't keep going the way I was," said Perkins. "I couldn't live the rest of my life like that, so I had to do something."

His UT Health doctor decided it was time to take a different approach.

Dr. Sudhakar Selvaraj introduced Perkins to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

"It uses magnetic pulses in a specific part of the brain, transmitted to the brain. It's a non-invasive procedure," said Dr. Selvaraj. "Magnetic pulses are sent through the head, through the brain and that stimulates that brain region."

Perkins says it doesn't hurt. He describes it as a light tapping that isn't painful. And it's not time-consuming either.

He had to go into the clinic for treatment every day for about a month, but each session only lasts 20 minutes.

It worked, and now he's back to work.

"To not carry that weight, it's a relief. I feel like I have my life back in a way I wasn't sure I would ever get again," said Perkins. "And I'm extremely thankful for that."

Dr. Selvaraj wants everyone battling depression to know this treatment is available.

"I want to see that happen to more and more people that I see," said Dr. Selvaraj. "That motivates me to continue this work."

After the treatment, patients can get back on their feet right away and do everything they would normally do.

New research shows even just a few minutes of TMS a day can make a drastic improvement in depression symptoms.

Follow Katherine Marchand on Twitter and Facebook.
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.