Harmony and ROOTS discuss technological advancements for patients

By Tiffany Morgan, The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Harmony and ROOTS psychiatric practice is “a clinic dedicated to the treatment of mental illness and restoration of balance and mental well-being.”
Recently, there have been two major technological advancements for patients. One treatment is for patients who are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and the other is specifically for those who have struggled with opioid addiction.
TMS for depression
Dr. Ryan Wakim, founder and president of GRW Inc., has seen the depression treatment to be highly effective, with a 70 percent success rate for individuals who previously had medication as prior treatment.
“It’s been very refreshing and rejuvenating in my own personal professional life to see people truly get better,” Wakim said. “When you spend your whole career trying to fail less, actually succeeding feels pretty good.”
The treatment that helps those with MDD is known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). What is unique about the treatment in particular, according to Wakim, is that it is a pinpoint treatment on the brain. The pinpoint treatment uses small magnetic waves to activate or inactivate certain areas of the brain.
“We know that in depression, there’s a specific area that is classically inactive or underactive, and what this technology does is utilizes the magnetic wave to pinpoint and activate that specific area of the brain,” Wakim said.
Wakim added that the method of pinpoint treatment has far more positive effects than systemic treatment, with little to no side-effects.
“Once you complete a series of treatments, if you look a year later without any other changes, those patients are actually getting better,” Wakim said. “It not only treats depression at that time and at a pinpoint/microscopic level, but it also maintains that benefit without any further treatments or medications for a year or more.”
The reason for TMS’s gain in popularity, according to Wakim, is that more insurance companies are starting to cover it, and although an expensive treatment, it is highly effective and beneficial to the patients who have the treatment.
Wakim said the treatment takes place over four to six weeks, a total of two hours a week. Before the treatment begins, Wakim gives patients a free consultation to confirm that they fit the criteria to receive the treatment. For patients to be eligible for TMS, they must have a reasonable amount of therapy and have taken up to four types of medication for their depression.
“The idea that we can pinpoint this and come up with results that are vastly more superior than any medication, with almost no side-effects, if any, becomes quite appetizing for quite a number of patients,” Wakim said.
Wakim said that it is not necessary to be a patient at Harmony in order to get the treatment.
“We’ve had several patients who come from other therapists’ offices who don’t have this technology,” Wakim said. “We treat them, we follow them through that process and we send them back to their provider.”
ROOTS for addiction
In addition to the treatment of TMS, Harmony has added another individual establishment that specifically targets those with opioid addiction, which is Recovery-based Outpatient Opioid Treatment Services or ROOTS.
ROOTS was established five years ago, according to Wakim, but a new building was created to specifically help treat those who have struggled with opioid addiction.
According to Wakim, the goal of ROOTS is to “provide holistic, all-around recovery care,” by providing personal trainers, massage therapists and other stress relief that will help treat patients and teach them to cope with their addiction.
“Our goal is to use whatever means necessary to not only help with the addiction piece but also with treating the underlying cause that led people to this point,” Wakim said.
Wakim’s personal goal is to provide care for people who struggle with opioid addiction, with West Virginia having the highest rate of opioid-related overdoses.
“My goal is to be able to provide that care when someone needs it, where they need it, however they need it,” Wakim said. “If we can dedicate a center to addiction treatment and be able to provide walk-in services and ability to come get help when you’re ready for help, not when someone forces you into help, then we’ll be vastly more successful in reducing overdose deaths and improving healthcare outcomes.”