The benefits of visiting Northshore TMS for treatment.
My name is Dr. Andrea Carlsen and my practice is Northshore TMS in Huntington, Long Island. I’ve been practicing for TMS since 2010. I’m boarded in child adolescent and adult psychiatry. I had been hearing about TMS in my training and I was fascinated by the idea of that. So when I found out it was FDA approved, I continued to research it and then opened the practice here in 2010.
TMS is an amazing technology. I still think it’s incredible that we can change people’s brains, change the way they feel and the way they interact with the world. I think it’s just such an advance compared to the systemic medications. Of course, there will always be a role for medications but because TMS is brain focused, we don’t have to worry about any of the side effects of weight gain or fatigue. I see a lot of young women and men in my practice. Weight gain, sexual side effects and fatigue is a big concern for them.
Are there any specific protocols, for example, that you’re treating other than the standard depression protocol – which is the 10 Hertz, 26 seconds off, 4 seconds on, over 19-minute protocol, which is also the standard now? Are there any other protocols you’re using for things like anxiety or OCD?
We do. So we always start with the FDA approved protocol. We use the 19-minute protocol, which people really like. They are in and out in less than 30 minutes. Most people find it very comfortable but we also treat different anxiety disorders – generalized anxiety disorders, PTSD and OCD – with either using the right dorsolateral or the right/left OFC, so it really depends on the comorbidities that people have.
What other tools do you have in your toolbox for treating patients here at Northshore TMS, besides TMS?
TMS is part of the program and it’s a very important part of the program. What I like about it, is that it gives Danielle, Christina and I an opportunity to be with patients over a six-week period. My background is also in functional medicine so we were really looking to find out, not only the depression that they live with but who are they and who do they want to be once the depression is gone.
So finding out; what do they eat? What do they like to do for exercise? What are the relationships like? What is their spiritual life? What supplements do they take? It gives us an opportunity to do genetic testing if needed, provide meal plans if needed, do lab work, provide appropriate supplements.
So if people are ready for that – and not everybody is – we can layer on that program in a very focused way, and in a very supportive and consistent way. I think the other piece too, is this is also about relationships. It’s about people coming in and feeling settled and cared for. And that’s something that Daniella and Christina do really well. That is something that I really enjoy – being able to see people and work with them in a consistent and more intensive way.
You mentioned functional medicine. Can you tell a little bit more about what functional medicine is, for those who might not know? How long has this been a specialty or a name? What is functional medicine? What’s the history of it and how long have you been using it to treat patients?
Functional medicine started 2530 years ago. It really is looking at the upstream causes – the underlying causes for chronic illness – and really looking at the body, not only based on biologic systems but what the underlying chemistry and physiology are that contributes to this constellation of symptoms we call depression. So we know that, not only are there changes in the brain, there are changes in gut health. There are changes in hormones. There are changes in inflammation. There is immune dysregulation. All of those factors contribute to this idea we call depression. So it can be a very effective and gradual intervention and approach that incorporates the whole person.
Tell us what makes Northshore TMS different.
From my perspective, I think we really care about the people that we work with and we want them to be well. So they come in with depression but they are not their depression. They are people that haven’t known us who are looking to get well. So I think keeping it very patient-centered, and really seeing people as complete beings – both physically, emotionally and spiritually – we try to provide a careful and comprehensive approach, and we really care about people.