Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS treatment, is a non-invasive method of mood regulation. It uses magnetic energy to excite target neurotransmitters responsible for mental disorders like depression. Understanding what this treatment is about can help you prepare for it. Here are the details about what happens during a TMS treatment.Talking to the doctor before the…
Advantages of TMS Depression Therapy
Depression therapy might be exactly what you need if you find yourself dealing with treatment-resistant depression. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, it is the leading cause of disabilities in adults, affecting about 16.1 million people each year.
Talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes are the first line of defense against depression. These treatments effectively reduce most patients' symptoms, but about 30% of patients do not report noticeable improvements after starting treatment. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) serves as an alternative treatment for depression when standard treatments like medication have failed.
TMS depression therapy involves stimulating areas in the brain that regulate mood – like the prefrontal cortex – with magnetic pulses. These magnetic waves are converted into electrical charges when they reach the brain, increasing neuro activity in the areas targeted and reducing the symptoms of depression.
The benefits of TMS depression therapy
Transcranial magnetic stimulation provides psychiatrists with a non-invasive way to improve the brain chemistry of people with depression and other mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
The treatment often involves patients getting up to five treatments per week for up to six weeks. Most patients report a reduction in their symptoms in as few as two weeks.
A magnetic coil is placed on the patient's head during each treatment session. Brain scans are typically performed ahead of this to determine the best areas of the brain to target with the treatment. The procedure does not cause any pain, but patients might feel a light tapping sensation on their heads as the magnetic waves penetrate into their brains.
The coil used for TMS treatments makes loud clicking sounds just like the ones made by the machines used for magnetic resonance imaging. Patients are given earplugs to protect their ears from the noise during their treatments. The main benefits of choosing TMS treatments over other alternative treatments for depression include:
1. Fewer side effects
Antidepressants are a class of medication that includes serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). These drugs are typically an effective way to reduce the symptoms of depression, but some people do not notice any significant reduction in their symptoms after taking them.
TMS provides an alternative to medication, and it can be combined with them. Side effects are mild, and most patients can drive themselves home after each treatment. Some of TMS therapy's more common side effects include low libido, nausea, headaches, dry mouth, dizziness, and scalp irritation. These side effects often go away as the patient gets more treatments under their belt.
2. Effective on treatment-resistant depression
TMS therapy provides relief from depression for those who cannot get it from medication. It also makes antidepressants more effective.
3. Allows psychiatrists to treat severe depression without drugs
TMS therapy can be used as a standalone option for treatment-resistant or severe depression. It also has a limited impact on the patient's life since its effects linger after the completion of TMS treatments.
Put depression behind you
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