CADIZ, Ohio (WTRF) – What would you do to change your life?
For the far too many veterans and first responders caught in the struggles of PTSD, the answer is just about anything.
Last year 7News brought you to a small room inside the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department where a ground-breaking treatment was pulling people away from the lingering trauma of military service and towards a new-life. And because of the life-altering success, the program is expanding across Ohio.
I just reached the point in my life, you know, I couldn’t stand what I was doing. I tried to commit suicide once. My daughter just ran to the basement screaming ‘no daddy no’.Terry Wildman, Veteran
For 50-years, Marine Corps veteran Terry Wildman carried what happened in the jungles of Vietnam with him.
He sought treatment, and it helped, but it wasn’t enough. Then Wildman found TMS in Harrison County.
A lot of guys are coming in here having post-traumatic stress to severe levels, I mean, to where they’re thinking about doing bad things and this gives them hope.Dirk Harkins, Veteran
Dirk Harkins has faced his own struggles with PTSD.
He too had TMS treatment change his life, but had to travel to Texas for it.
To know that I had brothers and sisters back here in Ohio struggling from the same thing that didn’t have the ability to get this like I did, the fight was on.Dirk Harkins, Veteran
The fight continues to expand the treatment in Ohio, but it’s getting easier.
First, this program was made possible through a collaboration with Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. It allowed the TMS treatment to come to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department for veterans.
When that contract ended; Harkins, Ohio State Senator Frank Hoagland, and others got to work grying to get funding from the state. They did, and now TMS will be more widely available; not just to veterans, but first responders too.
You may be able to be better focused, better response times. We work with people all over the country and we hear ‘my wife likes me again’, ‘my children tolerate me again’, ‘I’m able to sleep better, focus better, concentrate’. Then, how does that impact your work?Joe Charles, Project Manager, eTMS Ohio Project
TMS treatments work with magnets. As Harkins describes it, it re-boots the brain.
There are two types of TMS treatment, and what a veteran or first responder needs is determined by medical experts and an initial EEG.
Currently, sTMS is what’s available at the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department. It’s 30-minute sessions, five days a week for 30-days. With this new program, eTMS will be a possibility. It’s 100-times the output and lasts about 14-16 minutes at a time, with one session a day for 30-days.
Some parts of the program may also pair counseling with TMS treatments.
The treatment is FDA approved for migraines, anxiety and OCD, but it’s also helping participants with a critical basic function.
They go from restless nights to a more sound sleep.
I haven’t slept for 50-years. Every night of my life I’m back in the jungle. Something’s wrong. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.
I couldn’t believe what was happening (after the treatment). I thought my God, where has this been years and years ago.Terry Wildman, Veteran
While the treatments are five-days a week for 30-days, the initial results come fairly quickly.
Even after you’re done, the program has a way to make sure the benefits of TMS And eTMS don’t wear off.
Charles’ company developed technology that works like a watch, to track data and notify doctors when a veteran may be slipping backwards.
Let’s say in a couple months your sleep starts going down. We are notified by our technology and the doctors are notified. The peer support people are notified. We’ll give you a call and say ‘is something going on in your life?’.Joe Charles, Project Manager, eTMS Ohio Project
Harkins calls it a “quality of life machine”.
He explained all it takes is commitment to the program to get life-changing results.
We’re seeing that it’s reducing opioid cravings, alcohol, it’s relieving pain, mobility. It’s amazing some of the things I’m seeing how it’s working.Dirk Harkins, Veteran
TMS treatments will be available in Barnesville, New Lexington, Columbus and Youngstown at the end of this month.
The initial center at the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department will be there too.
Veterans or first responders who think they could benefit from this treatment can call Dirk Harkins at 740-491-7125.
There will also be a website up and running soon where veterans and first responders can sign up for the TMS program. When it’s active, 7News will be sure to link it here.