Making an Informed Decision about TMS
When I have a patient who is not responding to any traditional treatment for depression, I often prescribe TMS therapy. It’s a treatment that has grown in popularity for its effectiveness in helping those with treatment-resistant depression. This post presents the facts about TMS therapy, which we offer at both our Winston-Salem and Raleigh offices.
What is TMS?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive, in-office procedure designed to treat symptoms of major depression. The TMS treatment includes placing a coil is placed near the head, and small magnetic pulses are sent to the area of the brain where depression tends to occur.
The procedure is non-invasive and does not involve anesthesia. It also does not negatively impact cognition or memory. We sometimes hear that people are concerned that TMS is mind-manipulation. Well, it is, as is any other treatment working to help overcome a mental illness.
TMS is an FDA-approved treatment free from medications, covered by most health insurance, and is totally non-invasive.
How TMS Works
TMS works by sending magnetic pulses to the areas of the brain that affect your mood. These pulses stimulate the neurotransmitters that are found to be underactive in people suffering from depression. Each session lasts about 20 minutes, and you can expect to have four to five sessions per week for four to six weeks.
You start by sitting back and relaxing in a TMS chair, and the technician points the TMS machine to the right point in your brain, and the machine does the rest.
TMS has been carefully studied, and researchers have proven it as an effective treatment for depression and other psychiatric disorders, like OCD, PTSD, and anxiety. The FDA is looking at TMS as an approved therapy for these and other mental health issues.
Does it Work?
Here are the facts:
- We’ve seen significant improvement in depression symptoms in over 80% of our patients.
- We have seen relapses in approximately 20% of our patients after about six months and often prescribe additional treatment that offers improvement of symptoms.
The most common side effects we hear from patients are headaches that dissipate reasonably quickly and also some irritation on the scalp at the stimulation site. Otherwise, most patients resume their regular daily activities after every treatment. Since we started using TMS, I have seen tremendous benefits in patients who otherwise may not have realized any benefits from traditional therapies.
If you’ve tried every other means of overcoming depression, look to TMS as an alternative that will help you realize real results.