Long Beach, CA
Treatment for mental health patients to expand at Community Hospital
Posted: 07/31/2013 08:30:00 PM PDT
Updated: 07/31/2013 08:35:50 PM PDT
L-R: Employees at Community Hospital demonstrate the newly installed Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) machine. This will allow a noninvasive method to cause depolarization or hyperpolarization in the neurons of the brain to treat qualified patients for depression. This machine has yet to used on any patients at Community but is expected to be in the near future. (Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer)
LONG BEACH - Community Hospital has launched a new outpatient psychiatric clinic to provide evaluations and treatment for those with mild to moderate depression and other mental health illnesses.
The program -- part of the MemorialCare Center for Mental Health & Wellness at Community Hospital Long Beach -- introduces a new, noninvasive treatment for depression, called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.
Dr. Todd Hutton, a psychiatrist at Community Hospital, said the TMS procedure is more humane than shock treatment.
"It's nice to have another treatment to offer," said Hutton, explaining that medications don't work for all patients.
The TMS system delivers pulses to the brain in an effort to activate areas of the front lobe that are not functioning. The treatment -- giving the patients sensations of tapping -- could span from 20 to 30 sessions, Hutton said.
There are an estimated 3,000 pulses administered to the patient within a 40-minute session, TMS technician Angela Clark said.
The new changes have expanded the hospital's mental health services, and it now includes an outpatient psychiatric clinic and a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program.
With the new clinic, Community officials said each patient's needs will be assessed by a team of psychiatrists and social workers.
Treatment may include medication management, along with individual, group, family and couples therapy.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health website.
Each year about 6.7 percent of U.S. adults experience major depressive disorder, it reports, adding that women
Yesenia R. and Angela C. employees at Community Hospital demonstrate the newly installed Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) machine. (Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer)
are 70 percent more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetime.
The average age of onset is 32 years old. Additionally, 3.3 percent of 13- to 18-year-olds have experienced a seriously debilitating depression.
The chronic illness affects more than 21 million people annually and it's the leading cause of disability in those age 15 to 44, according to Mental Health America. Lost production time among U.S. workers is estimated to be above $31 billion per year.
Despite solid gains, the level of unmet need for treatment remains high, according to MHA, adding that those affected live with depression for nearly a decade before receiving treatment. Less than one-third of people seeking help receive minimally adequate care, according to MHA.
Community's new clinic adds on to the hospital's 28-bed psychiatric acute inpatient treatment program, which provides a secure environment for assessment, intensive observation and treatment for acute psychiatric patients unable to care for themselves, hospital spokesperson Beatrice Jimenez said.
"The patient can be transitioned from hospital-level care to outpatient care, and vice versa based on patient's diagnosis and outcomes," said Dr. Cliff Feldman, Community's medical director.
Community Hospital Long Beach joined the MemorialCare Health System in 2011.
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