Did you know that over 250 million adults in the US suffer from depression each year? With such a large portion of society affected by mental health conditions, it’s important that those suffering from depression know their treatment options. There are many avenues for depression treatment but unfortunately, the primary methods of treatment don’t always work for everyone.
A less widely known treatment for depression is a method known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. TMS treatment uses an FDA-approved device to send energy pulses to the brain’s prefrontal cortex, revitalizing areas of the brain responsible for mood control while improving communication within the central nervous system.
The good news is that TMS therapy offers promising results for those who choose to leverage it, even when other methods of treatment have not worked for them in the past. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about TMS therapy in order to be fully informed on the available treatment options for depression and treatment-resistant depression alike.
What Is TMS Therapy?
TMS therapy is a non-invasive method of treating depression and similar mental disorders. TMS treatment uses a series of magnetic pulses to stimulate the areas of the brain that are responsible for mood regulation. This stimulation can help to alleviate the symptoms of depression and improve overall well-being.
TMS therapy is administered through an FDA-approved device that is placed against the scalp and near the forehead, in order to stimulate the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for mood regulation.
It can also help manage depression in patients who have not had success with other treatments. TMS trials have shown to produce lasting, positive effects on brain function in people who have otherwise experienced a form of treatment-resistant depression.
What Are the Risks of TMS Therapy?
TMS Therapy is a non-invasive in-office procedure, lasting as little as 30 minutes, depending on the frequency, intensity, and range of stimulation needed. No post-treatment recovery time is required and patients are able to return to daily functions immediately following a session.
Unlike other forms of brain stimulation such as electroconvulsive therapy, TMS does not require surgery, sedation, anesthesia, or the implantation of electrodes. TMS treatments do not affect one’s memory or cognition. Additionally, instead of electric currents, TMS therapy works off of the same type of magnetic energy pulses used in MRI machines to safely activate areas of the brain that control one’s mood.
Patients have reported fewer side effects from TMS than those experienced as a result of medication. Whereas antidepressants circulate throughout the bloodstream, affecting other areas of the body, TMS is a non-systemic form of depression treatment. The most common side effects of TMS therapy are minimal and may include:
- Scalp discomfort
The good news is that the side effects associated with TMS therapy are typically mild, making TMS therapy a highly effective, safe form of therapy overall.
What Should I Expect During a TMS Therapy Session?
TMS therapy sessions typically last for 30-60 minutes and are to be done daily over a period of four to six weeks.
During this time, you will be seated in a comfortable chair with the TMS device placed near your head and are given earplugs while a physician maps out the best possible placement of the machine. Patients may hear clicking sounds as the machine produces stimulating pulses. The appropriate frequency and dose of magnetic energy can be adjusted depending on one’s symptoms and side effects. You will not feel any pain during the treatment as the magnetic fields used are not strong enough to cause discomfort. Some people experience a tapping sensation on their scalp.
TMS treatment does not require any form of sedation. Afterward, you can drive yourself home and continue with your day as normal.
What Is the Cost of TMS Therapy?
The cost of TMS therapy will vary depending on a number of factors. These include the number of sessions required, the location of the treatment center, and whether or not your insurance will cover the cost. You can get in touch with a treatment provider in order to learn more about what to expect.
Is TMS Therapy Legitimate?
Yes, TMS therapy is a clinically proven and FDA-approved form of treatment for depression. Many patients report long-lasting relief from depression as a result of TMS Therapy. That being said, the decision to try TMS therapy should always be made in consultation with a mental health professional.
What Are the Benefits of TMS Therapy?
TMS therapy offers a number of potential benefits for those suffering from depression and other disorders.
Let’s explore some of the most notable.
Relief from Symptoms of Depression
The most well-known benefit of TMS therapy is that it can offer relief from the symptoms of depression.
Many patients with major depression experience a reduction in worry, lethargy, and overall feelings of stress and unease. For many people, this relief is enough to improve their life significantly.
No Need for Medication
Another potential benefit of TMS therapy is that it eliminates the need for medication.
This can be appealing to those who don’t want to rely on medication to manage their depression. It can also be helpful for those who have tried medication in the past and found it to be ineffective.
Minimal Side Effects
As we mentioned earlier, TMS therapy is generally very well tolerated by patients and comes with minimal side effects.
Patients have reported fewer side effects from TMS than those experienced as a result of medication. This is due to the fact that it is non-invasive and non-systemic, making it a safe and effective option for those looking for an alternative to medication.
Improved Quality of Life
Finally, TMS therapy can improve your quality of life.
TMS therapy can improve symptoms of depression and help you to feel better overall. When your depression is under control, you’ll be able to enjoy your life more fully. This can result in improved relationships, increased productivity, and overall better mental and physical health.
You Shouldn’t Overlook This Form of Treatment
If you’re struggling with treatment-resistant depression, it’s time to consider TMS therapy. Want to learn more about what we have to offer? We encourage you to get in touch with us and start feeling better today.