Traumatic Brain Injury and Depression

Minimally Invasive and Complex Spine Neurosurgeon, Neurosurgery & Complex Spine & Complex Brain Neurosurgeon located in Houston and San Antonio, TX and Upstate New York, Syracuse, NY

Depression services offered in Houston and San Antonio, TX and Upstate New York, Syracuse, NY

Depression is a disabling psychiatric disorder with significant links to chemical imbalances in the brain. If you suffer from depression and medication or therapy isn’t helping, visit Board-certified and fellowship-trained neurosurgeon Yan Michael Li, MD, PhD, of the Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Institute. At their offices in Houston and San Antonio, Texas, and Upstate, New York, Dr. Li and his colleagues offer innovative transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to restore brain function. Call your nearest office today or book an appointment online for FDA-approved depression treatment.

Depression Q & A

What is depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) affects how you feel, think, and see the world. You become increasingly sad, despairing, and weary, weighed down by problems you can’t overcome. Nothing you do lifts your mood, which gets worse as time passes.

Common depression symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Appetite changes
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping (or sleeping too much)
  • Irritability
  • Self-loathing
  • Weeping
  • Loss of interest in life
  • Poor work performance

The negative emotions depression triggers can overwhelm you, making you wonder if it’s worth going on. Sadly, many people lose their lives to depression — in 2020, almost 46,000 Americans committed suicide.


What causes depression?

Depression’s causes aren’t easy to understand. Many people develop depression after a life-changing event, for example:

  • A loved one’s death
  • Divorce or relationship breakdown
  • Job loss
  • Severe injuries
  • Chronic or life-threatening disease
  • Childbirth
  • Relocating
  • Trauma
  • Assault or abuse

These events trigger depression in some people, but not everyone who experiences them develops depression. You can also become depressed without an apparent trigger, where it just arrives out of the blue when everything seems fine.

Research indicates that the underlying cause of depression is a problem in your brain’s communication networks. Your brain uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to enable its cells (neurons) to communicate. This creates connections (synapses) that you need for healthy functioning.

People with depression usually have low neurotransmitter levels in their brain’s mood center. The neurons can’t make connections, so activity slows, sometimes dramatically. Boosting levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine with antidepressant medications is one of the primary depression treatments alongside psychotherapy.

Unfortunately, some people have treatment-resistant depression, which doesn’t improve with medication and therapy. The Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Institute offers transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to patients with treatment-resistant depression.


How does TMS help with depression?

TMS uses magnetic energy to stimulate the areas of your brain where neurotransmitter levels are low. The magnetic energy reboots inactive brain cells so that they can communicate again and build networks. This has a similar effect to taking antidepressants, but TMS can work even when medication doesn’t.

TMS is a noninvasive treatment requiring no sedatives or anesthetics. You wear the magnetic coil on your head, positioned over the brain’s mood center. Then you sit back while the magnetic energy does its work.

You might hear some clicking sounds and feel a tapping sensation, but you shouldn’t experience any pain. A slight headache afterward is the only side effect of TMS.

Call the Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Institute today or book an appointment online to see how you can overcome depression with TMS.