If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, there's a new treatment option that's showing promise: transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It's still relatively new, but initial studies have shown that it can be an effective treatment for depression. The FDA has approved TMS for the treatment of depression, and it is currently being studied as a potential treatment for other conditions such as anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In this post, we'll take a closer look at what TMS therapy is and how it works.
How TMS Works
TMS therapy is based on the principle of electromagnetic induction. This is the same principle that's used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. When an electric current is passed through a coil of wire, it creates a magnetic field. If this coil is placed near the head, the magnetic field can induce an electrical current in the brain.
TMS therapy uses this principle to target specific areas of the brain that are thought to be involved in depression. The most common target is the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is believed to play a role in mood regulation. TMS therapy involves placing a coil on the head and passing an electrical current through it.
What happens after TMS?
TMS therapy is non-invasive and does not require anesthesia, making it a safe and effective treatment option for many people. TMS therapy is usually performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that patients can return home after each session. Most TMS courses consist of 30-37 sessions, and each session lasts for 30-60 minutes. After TMS therapy, patients may notice a decrease in symptoms, and some patients may even experience complete remission. TMS therapy can have a lasting effect, but it is important to note that symptoms may return if treatment is discontinued.
What are the Benefits of TMS Therapy?
TMS is well tolerated by most people and has few side effects. The most common side effect is headache, which can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medication. TMS therapy is also non-invasive and does not require anesthesia, making it a safer treatment option than some other depression treatments such as Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). TMS therapy is an outpatient procedure that can be done in a doctor's office or clinic. The treatment therapy is covered by many insurance plans. TMS therapy usually takes 30-60 minutes per day, 5 days per week, for 4-6 weeks.
Is TMS Therapy Right For Me?
TMS is usually only recommended for people who have tried other treatments, such as medication and therapy, and have not had success. In order to be a candidate for TMS therapy, you must be 18 years or older and have a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. You must also be medically stable and not have any contraindications to TMS, such as certain medical conditions or implanted metal devices. If you are considering TMS therapy, talk to your doctor to see if it is right for you.