Several studies have indicated that the prevalence of depression in athletes is roughly in line with that of the general population, with estimates ranging from 10% to 30%. Additional Factors contributing to depression in athletes include the stress of competition, injury, performance expectations, and the pressure to balance sport and life responsibilities. In addition, there continues to exist the stigma that depression or mental illness represents an inherent weakness in the individual rather than a treatable mental health condition that impacts millions regardless of where they come from or who they are.
TMS is a proven treatment for treatment resistant depression in the general population. More than 3 in 5 individuals with treatment resistant depression achieve a clinically significant response after 30 treatment sessions. In addition to its proven benefits, TMS is particularly well-suited to athletes for 4 main reasons:
- No weight gain or systemic side effects. Unfortunately, almost all anti-depressant medications have been shown to have weight gain over the long-term. In addition, other side effects including fatigue or dizziness can impair performance.
- Rapid improvement in symptoms. Recent studies with accelerated protocols have shown promising acute treatment outcomes in as little as one week. This allows high-performance athletes to continue with their pursuits unimpeded. In contrast, therapy shows gains over months and years while medications start to show benefit within 4 to 8 weeks after reaching a treatment dose that is both therapeutic and well tolerated.
- No detriment to performance. If anything, TMS has shown preliminary outcomes to potentially improvement performance in terms of short-term memory tasks and focus. This is an un-intended by-product of TMS treatments but is in stark contrast to potential performance impedance from medications.
- No special authorization required. Unlike some other treatments, there is no concern around the use of TMS with respect to doping and therefore, no special requirements or burdensome paperwork and scrutiny is required.
In conclusion, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is making a significant impact for individuals with depression. It is an ideal treatment for both recreational and high performance athletes given its efficacy and favourable side effect profile. If you or a loved one is interested in this treatment, then please reach out to our clinic via e-mail at email@example.com or telephone: 613-383-2867. Our clinic is the first and only TMS Clinic in Ottawa that provides specialized care for depression, OCD and mental health disorders.