According to the CDC, 8.1% of Americans over 20 have experienced a period of depression lasting at least 2-weeks. This study surveyed the prevalence of depression during 2013-2016.
Depression is a common mental health disorder characterized by symptoms like mood changes, cognitive symptoms, and physical changes. Although it is a mental health condition, major depressive disorder can affect physical health as well. Major depression is known to impact other health conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis.
There are several options available to treat depression. The most well known of these treatments are antidepressants and talk therapy. However, for some people, these treatment options do not provide adequate relief.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy is another treatment option that physicians are using to combat treatment resistant depression when the traditional forms of treatment have failed.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy is a less familiar treatment option to many patients. If you’re wondering about TMS and how it can help your depression, keep reading to learn more.
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy?
TMS is a FDA-approved, non-invasive treatment method for major depression and other mental health disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Despite its complicated name, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy is a relatively straightforward brain stimulation treatment to treat depression symptoms.
When your are depressed, the neurotransmitters that carry emotion signals through your brain become inactive. It’s as if they are clogged, making it impossible for you to feel normal. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation 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. During TMS treatment sessions, a doctor will use a magnetic coil to apply short, repeated bursts of magnetic stimulation to parts of your brain. These deep brain stimulators will in turn stimulate the areas of your brain that store emotions.
You may be wondering, “Does this treatment hurt?” The answer, thankfully, is no. These magnetic pulses are the same type of pulse that an MRI scanner produces. In other words, you won’t feel them at all. You shouldn’t experience any pain during the TMS treatment process.
Another frequently asked question is how long you’ll undergo this treatment. Generally, TMS patients receive this treatment daily for 4-6 weeks.
What To Expect During TMS Treatment
There are a few things to prepare for when you begin Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy. First, understand that TMS is an outpatient procedure. Outpatient procedures mean that the treatment occurs in a medical facility, but patients can return home on the same day.In other words, you won’t have to stay overnight in a hospital to receive this treatment. After your treatment there is no down time and you are free to drive yourself home.
Patients may not wear metal items during the treatment process. The list of items that are prohibited include:
- wedding rings
- credit cards (they contain traces of metal)
- belts and belt buckles
- coins (in pockets or wallet)
The TMS device makes noise as it applies the pulses, so doctor will also provide earplugs for the patient to wear in order to protect their ears from any damage. Ensure you have well-fitting earplugs and that you insert them properly.
Preparation for TMS
There are a few things patients must do to prepare for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy. First, you’ll attend a session where the TMS physician measures your head. These measurements help them find the best-sized coil for your treatment.
Next, the TMS physician will measure your motor threshold. This threshold is the minimum amount of power necessary to make a person’s thumb twitch. Different people’s thresholds can vary significantly.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy patients will need to complete a course of treatment lasting, on average, four to six weeks.
During the course of treatment, doctors aim to deliver 20-30 sessions. These sessions involve administering high-frequency TMS at roughly 10 Hertz. Each treatment session lasts between half an hour and an hour.
The TMS treatment usually takes about 37 minutes. During this period, the patient will receive the magnetic pulse approximately 3,000 times.
Why Choose Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy for Depression?
So, why choose Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy to treat depression? After all, wouldn’t antidepressants be enough to see improvements?
Sometimes, traditional treatments are not enough for depression patients to see improvements. The same holds for talk and behavioral therapy. Sometimes these solutions just don’t provide the results patients need.
In cases of Treatment Resistant Depression like these, doctors may recommend Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy. Depression research shows that TMS therapy is effective for Treatment Resistant Depression and can achieve long-lasting results for patients. These results occur because this treatment directly affects the parts of the brain that regulate emotions.
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is the portion of the brain involved in cognitive processes, memory, mood regulation, and conflict management. This part of the brain is where doctors focus their efforts in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulationtherapy.
When people become depressed, it can dysregulate this portion of the brain. As a result, people face more difficulty making decisions, thinking clearly, and managing emotions. This difficulty is a partial cause of the lethargy that many depressed people experience.
Many depression studies indicate that Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy can leave patients with lasting results for up to one year.
Are There People Who Shouldn’t Receive TMS Therapy?
There are some people who should avoid Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy. The following factors could make TMS therapy unsafe:
- facial tattoos with magnetic ink
- metallic implants in the eyes and ears
- bullet or shrapnel fragments
- aneurism clips and coils
Other factors can also make it risky to pursue this therapy. For example, those with risk factors for seizures should also avoid this treatment.
Find a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatment Center
TMS therapy is an effective, advanced, and direct method for treating depression. It’s a painless procedure that can produce long-lasting results.
If you are struggling with treatment resistant depression, contact Oasis TMS today. Our clinic has locations in Kentucky and Indiana, each capable of providing the treatment you need. Visit us at www.oasistms.com or request an appointment here!