TMS Depression Treatment: What You Need to Know

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Depression can be a serious medical condition that affects a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Fortunately, it can be treated with TMS depression therapy, which is an effective alternative treatment for those who do not successfully respond to conventional therapies. TMS can be used alongside medication and psychotherapy, or as a one-dimensional approach.

What is depression?

Feeling depressed after an upsetting or stressful event, such as a relationship ending or losing a job is very common. Usually, the feelings pass, and life returns to normal over time. However, when depression is present, the emotions persist despite positive changes. Every element of life, including academic achievement, work productivity, relationships, and social engagement can be significantly impacted by depression.

What are the common symptoms of depression?

If symptoms persist for longer than two weeks or if you feel unsafe as a result of them, you should seek medical attention. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Constant feelings of sadness with no interest in or enjoyment in normal activities
  • Irritation or agitation
  • Fatigue and insomnia
  • An increase or loss of weight
  • Lack of concentration
  • Decreased sex drive
  • People with depression frequently experience anxiety and symptoms of both can coexist.

What is TMS therapy for depression?

Brain stimulation therapy is referred to as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). It is a non-invasive procedure for TMS depression treatment that stimulates nerve cells using electromagnetic pulses, which may lessen the symptoms of neurological or mental health conditions. The main purpose of TMS is to alleviate depression. People who do not respond to antidepressant medication and psychotherapy have had high success rates with TMS therapy.

What does a TMS therapy session for depression look like?

Before you start TMS depression therapy, you will go through a physical and psychological evaluation to see if TMS is the right course of treatment for you. TMS is typically advised for patients with significant depressive disorders or those who have not responded to medications.

Location of treatment

TMS therapy can be carried out at a medical clinic or in a hospital as an outpatient procedure. There is no surgery, anesthesia or recovery time involved. Patients can drive themselves home after the treatment session.

Disclose all medical information

It is important to let the TMS clinician know if you have a seizure disorder or family history of seizures, and if you have any metal implants, such as stents, or implanted cochlea. List any medications you are currently taking and inform the doctor if you are pregnant or planning on falling pregnant anytime soon.

Prepare for a therapy session

There are a few things that can help with getting ready for your first TMS treatment appointment. First, include any questions you may have regarding the procedure and the therapy. Next, be sure to ask for assistance from your support network. TMS is a non-invasive therapy, and many patients experience minimal to no adverse effects. However, since this is a new process, you should be ready to ask for help if necessary.

What to bring to therapy

Bring anything you require to feel comfortable throughout the session on the day of your treatment. Many patients bring headphones and use them while receiving TMS to listen to music or podcasts. You might also want to bring some medicine and a bottle of water in case you develop a headache. 

The first treatment session

All throughout the therapy, you remain awake and attentive. TMS therapy is also non-systemic, so unlike antidepressants, it has no impact on other parts of your body. The clinician will apply an electromagnetic coil to your head, and they will determine where to put the magnets and how much magnetic energy is appropriate for your treatment. The doctor will then activate certain areas of your brain using magnetic fields. Most likely, you’ll experience a light tapping against your forehead and hear a loud clicking sound.

Subsequent treatment sessions

A typical session can last about 30 minutes and follow up appointments are similar to the first session. Remember that it can take your doctor a few visits to identify the optimal parts of your brain to stimulate and establish the ideal magnetic energy level.

After treatment

Once treatment is completed, depressive symptoms should noticeably dissipate or disappear. There are low risks in developing side effects, but if they do occur, they are generally mild and temporary. After symptoms have subsided, some people continue TMS therapy to stop their depression and any associated symptoms from returning.

Possible side effects

TMS typically doesn’t have any significant adverse effects, in contrast to other therapies for major depressive illnesses. Some patients report feeling a moderate headache and some minor discomfort along their scalp during and right after the procedure. It is crucial to discuss your medical history with the TMS therapist because seizures might happen in extremely rare circumstances.

How many sessions should you visit to get a result?

Depression is a complex condition. How long the TMS outcomes will persist is a question that cannot be answered with certainty because there are numerous variables that affect each person’s level of depression. Most patients who finish the entire course of therapy see an improvement in their symptoms. 

In some cases, patients start to notice an improvement in their mood and symptoms after the first few sessions. Clinical experience concurs in proposing at least 20 sessions over a four-week period, which is extended depending on the severity of symptoms.

Does TMS therapy work for treating depression? 

The TMS depression effectiveness is high, and it is distinct from other therapies that treat depression in several respects. Since TMS is non-invasive, there is no need for a surgical procedure before treatment. This procedure lowers any associated health hazards and enhances the therapy’s overall level of comfort.

When treatments have failed to benefit a patient, TMS is usually employed. Severe depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction issues, and other mental health conditions can be successfully treated through TMS therapy. Depending on the patient’s treatment plan, medication and psychotherapy may be used in conjunction with TMS.




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