The Cairns Clinic
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Ramsay brings new depression treatment to far north patients

Oct 04, 2019

A treatment for depression that focuses a magnetic field to stimulate the brain is now available to people in Cairns for the first time.

The Ramsay Health Care Cairns Clinic is the only facility in the region to offer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a treatment for depression in patients who have not responded to conventional medicines.

In the lead up to Queensland Mental Health Week (October 5 – 13), The Cairns Clinic psychiatrist Dr Christine Kilcawley said eligible patients in Cairns have started to TMS treatment for depression.

“People suitable for TMS are those who have not responded to traditional methods of treatment for depression such as medication,” she said.

TMS uses localised magnetic fields to stimulate parts of the brain in patients with depression.

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.

Dr Kilcawley said the treatment was non-invasive and was delivered while patients were awake and fully conscious with minimal discomfort.

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.

“Some of our patients report that they are feeling different within about two weeks of the treatment,” Dr Kilcawley said.

“It is important that a through psychiatric evaluation is undertaken for each patient to determine if TMS is a suitable treatment,” she said.

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

Ramsay brings new depression treatment to far north patients