Chicago nurse free of COVID-19-related PTSD, depression after electrical brain tapping therapy

0
2

Join Fox News for access to this content

Plus special access to select articles and other premium content with your account – free of charge.

Please enter a valid email address.

A Chicago nurse has been liberated from her own mind, thanks to a brain-tapping technology called deep TMS.

Gulden, who requested to omit her surname for privacy reasons, worked as a nurse for more than 40 years before COVID-19 rocked the hospital system and took a toll on her mental health.

The mother of four worked at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Illinois, as an ICU and ER nurse.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE NOT ALWAYS HELPFUL FOR REDUCING DOCTOR BURNOUT, STUDIES SUGGEST

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Gulden described the “massive chaos” that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic brought to the hospital.

“No matter what we did, it was like a failure,” she said. “We were not prepared [for] the onslaught of patients.”

coronavirus nurse changes bedding at chicago hospital

Housekeeper Tonia Harvey changes a bed in the Roseland Community Hospital intensive care unit after a COVID-19 patient passed away, April 17, 2020. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

“The predictable outcome of coming in through the ER and leaving in a body bag was just devastating.”

Despite her many years of medical work, New York City-born Gulden admitted that she “could not cope with it.” 

By Sept. 2020, she was a “different person,” she said.

“I was on autopilot. I lived at work and when I came home, I was not functioning … My organization and concentration skills were gone.” 

NURSES CALL FOR CHANGE AS MANY REVEAL THEY’RE ‘EXTREMELY LIKELY’ TO LEAVE PROFESSION: ‘EMOTIONAL, STRESSFUL’

“It was very, very unlike me, because I’m a single mom. I’ve raised four kids all by myself … but I started to notice that I could not let go of what had transpired during the day.”

Gulden told her primary care provider about her symptoms, including “horrible nightmares” that prevented her from sleeping and constant “weeping” that came “from her soul.”

gulden sitting in a chair

Gulden, pictured here, said that working in a hospital during the coronavirus pandemic turned her into a “different person.” (Melanie Eilers)

In the span of two years, the doctor prescribed Gulden eight different medications for sleep, PTSD and major depressive disorder, along with cognitive behavior therapy — but nothing worked.

Even after the pandemic began to slow down, the nurse described how she hit a “spiral” when she realized COVID-19 created a “chain reaction.”

AMERICANS NEED MORE SLEEP, LESS STRESS, EXPERTS SAY, AS GALLUP POLL REVEALS TROUBLING FINDINGS

“[There] was a 51-year-old who had bilateral tumors and needed a mastectomy,” she shared. “She’d gone through all her chemo and radiation, and she was ready for her mastectomy, but she had to wait like 11 months.”

Added Gulden, “By the time she came back, her tumors had grown back, and that’s when I was like, This is never going to be over.”

Gulden mentioned that screenings for major health complications were down at least 84% during the pandemic, feeding into a “ripple” of patients who received care too late.

a chicago nurse tends to a covid-19 patient in hospital

Tamara Jones gives antibiotics to James Davis as he recovers from COVID-19 in the intensive care unit at Roseland Community Hospital on Dec. 16, 2020, in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The nurse said through tears that she decided to leave the hospital and retire, since she “just couldn’t function there.”

After leaving, she fell into a “hibernation state” of sleeping 16 to 18 hours a day.

“The only reason I got up was to go to the bathroom,” she said. “And I’m embarrassed to say I would go weeks without showering.”

KETAMINE THERAPY SHOWN EFFECTIVE IN TREATING SEVERE DEPRESSION IN VETERANS, STUDY FINDS

“I lost 54 pounds — I got to the point where I couldn’t eat, because everything in the refrigerator reminded me of what was on patients’ trays.”

Gulden’s “incredibly vivid, horrible nightmares” continued along with other symptoms, including the inability to stay awake. She called it a “complete shutdown.”

gulden at relief mental health in orland park

Gulden received deep TMS treatment at Relief Mental Health in Orland Park, Illinois. (Melanie Eilers)

After Gulden spent three years in “hibernation,” a friend introduced her to a new type of mental health treatment called deep TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) — a magnetized tapping of the brain used to treat various disorders and diseases.

Gulden agreed to visit Dr. Teresa Poprawski, the chief medical officer of Relief Mental Health in Orland Park, Illinois, who helped “put the threads together” on what was triggering her PTSD and other symptoms.

What is deep TMS?

Dr. Aron Tendler, a psychiatrist and chief medical officer of BrainsWay, a brain disorder treatment company, discussed how the therapy works in an interview with Fox News Digital.

Tendler is based in West Palm Beach, Florida and was not involved in Gulden’s care. He said the brain is primarily an “electrochemical organ” that sends messages to different parts of the body.

‘PANDEMIC SKIP,’ A COVID MENTAL HEALTH PHENOMENON, COULD DELAY MAJOR MILESTONES, EXPERTS SAY

Most symptoms, including depression and anxiety, are controlled by changes in the brain, Tendler said, which can be treated electrically.

Deep TMS is a more “targeted” approach than electroshock therapy, he told Fox News Digital.

tired nurse during covid-19 next to a deep TMS patient

Gulden described the sensation of deep TMS as “tapping on specific parts of the brain.” (iStock; BrainsWay)

“Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses the principle of electromagnetic induction, where magnetic pulses induce an electrical current inside of neurons,” he said.

“Essentially, we are changing the electrical activity in a group of neurons in an area of the brain.”

COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS CAUSED ‘COLLECTIVE TRAUMA’ AMONG US ADULTS, NEW POLL SAYS

These magnetic pulses only stimulate a specific area of the brain for “a brief period of time,” he said, with treatments lasting anywhere from six to 20 minutes. Patients undergo treatments for a series of days, depending on what’s necessary.

Tendler described the therapy as a “learning experience” that changes “the state of the brain” through repetitive treatment.

patient sits for deep tms therapy

Deep TMS interrupts activity in the brain that is creating unwanted patterns, an expert said. (BrainsWay)

Gulden received deep TMS treatments for five days a week, for six to eight weeks. She described the sensation as “tapping on specific parts of the brain.”

After three weeks, she reported a noticeable difference in her cognitive state.

“I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s been three years since I’ve heard the birds,’” she said. “I see life again. I see my flowers. Before, I couldn’t even look at the flowers because they just reminded me of funerals.”

PASTOR BASED IN DALLAS SHARES DEPRESSION JOURNEY, URGES OTHERS TO SEEK HELP: ‘DON’T HESITATE’

Gulden described her quality of life as “just so much better” since receiving treatment.

She still attends cognitive behavioral therapy sessions to hone her coping skills, she said.

“And if I need deep TMS again, I will be back there in a heartbeat,” she added.

woman smiles while wearing deep tms helmet

Deep TMS is covered by “every insurer” across the country, according to one expert. (BrainsWay)

‘Very useful tool’

Gulden’s goal is to teach others to not feel ashamed about seeking help for their mental health struggles.

“I want people to know that there are interventions,” she said. 

“The meds did not work for me. Had I not had this treatment today, I don’t know where I’d be.”

woman receives deep tms treatment

Although deep TMS technology was developed in the 1980s, the first treatment application for depression was FDA-cleared in 2009. (BrainsWay)

Most patients experience a 40% to 50% improvement after four weeks of treatment, according to Tendler.

After completing a typical course of 36 treatments, patients have shown 75% to 80% improvement, he said.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

Deep TMS is “not a cure,” Tendler said — but many patients are able to regain normal function for months or years at a time.

The electrical therapy doesn’t have the potential side effects that antidepressants and other treatments can cause, Tendler said, noting that the brain manipulation is “temporary.”

gulden at relief mental health clinic

“Had I not had this treatment today, I don’t know where I’d be,” Gulden said. (Melanie Eilers)

“I know this might sound like a disadvantage, but it is also an advantage,” he said. “We don’t do anything to the person’s brain that’s permanent. We’re changing the state of the brain temporarily.”

He added, “Generally, we get you out of the state that you were in … and then nature takes its course.”

Deep TMS can also be paired with other medications, such as antidepressants, Tendler added.

Dr. Marc Siegel

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel cautioned that deep TMS could potentially cause some cognitive and behavioral changes, but called it a “very useful tool” overall. (Dr. Marc Siegel)

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel cautioned that deep TMS could potentially cause some cognitive and behavioral changes, but called it a “very useful tool” overall.

He told Fox News Digital that deep TMS is also “very useful for movement disorders like Parkinson’s, with a high rate of success.”  

“We’re changing the state of the brain temporarily.”

Siegel cautioned that deep TMS could potentially cause some cognitive and behavioral changes, but called it a “very useful tool” overall.

“[Deep TMS is] still being investigated for various purposes to interrupt aberrant nerve conduction,” he said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

For other medical professionals suffering from mental health issues, Gulden stressed the importance of having a “healthy health care team,” especially following the pandemic.

“I don’t care how tough you think you are,” she said. “You need to know what the signs are, and you need to know what treatments are available.”

For more Health articles, visit foxnews.com.com/health.