Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning individuals (LGBTQ+) span across several diverse communities. While this may be a large community of individuals, the LGBTQ+ community has been routinely, and unfairly marginalized in society. While societal attitudes have grown and improved, this marginalized group still experiences depression at a higher rate than the heterosexual population due to still existing negative attitudes. Depression affects millions of people, but the LGBTQ+ community experiences depression (and depression symptoms) at a disproportionate rate. Misplaced, and antiquated cultural stigmas can make non-heterosexual individuals targets of bullying, abuse, and assault because of their sexual and gender expression.
Hostile environments can cause several challenges for many LGBTQ+ youth and adults, increasing the chances for an individual to experience depression and anxiety. With this in mind, it is important to create systems of support and develop coping methods. For some LGBTQ+ individuals, their depression may be rooted from trauma experienced due to their orientation. The victimization they experienced as youths can establish itself as treatment resistant depression. And this is how TMS can help.
TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation is an ideal treatment method for LGBTQ+ individuals who suffer from lingering and severe depression. When anyone experiences persistent depression, the body becomes accustomed to receiving a constant release of anxiety and depression signals from the brain. TMS stimulates the areas of the brain that have been inactive, and thus unable to release the serotonin that can combat the depression signals. It is absolutely critical to note that TMS is NOT ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). Establishing this distinction is important because of the fraught history of ECT being used to “treat homosexuality.” Shock therapy was cruelly used on LGBTQ individuals as a means to “cure them.” While society has grown and the DSM has been updated, this collective memory still exists in the community. The electromagnetic stimulation that TMS provides is to provide relief from treatment resistant depression. TMS can begin alleviating the heavy veil of depression and anxiety, helping patients begin living full lives.