Anxiety can be extremely hard to deal with, but there are psychiatry treatment options that can significantly help people who suffer day to day from feelings of anxiousness or fear. Psychiatry is a field of medicine that focuses on diagnosing, managing and treating behavioral, mental and emotional disorders. High levels of anxiety fall under the…
What to Know About Psychiatric TMS Depression Treatment
You need psychiatric care if you have severe or treatment-resistant depression. Psychiatrists typically recommend psychotherapy and medication as the first line of defense when treating mental health disorders like depression. However, some patients do not see a reduction in their symptoms after trying these two approaches. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) provides an alternative that the Food and Drug Administration approves to treat depression. The FDA also approves TMS therapy as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Getting TMS therapy as part of psychiatric care
TMS therapy is a non-invasive psychiatric care treatment that involves sending magnetic waves into a patient's brain. The treatment targets areas of the prefrontal cortex that control emotional regulation. The magnetic waves are converted into electrical pulses in the brain, stimulating increased activity. It often leads to a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression.
During the treatment, quick bursts of magnetic pulses are repeatedly sent into the patient's brain. The procedure is sometimes called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.
TMS therapy does not cause any pain so sedatives or anesthetics are not needed. The only things patients feel during the treatment are tapping sensations caused by the magnetic waves entering their brains and the loud clicking sounds of the magnetic coil used for the treatments.
Magnetic resonance imaging might be used to scan the patient's brain. The map of the patient's brain is used to determine the best areas to target with TMS therapy.
What to expect at a TMS appointment
An appointment for TMS is not complicated and should be over quickly.
- The patient is given earplugs to protect their ears from the loud sounds made by the magnetic coil. The patient stays seated for the treatment as the coil is placed on their head. Magnetic pulses are sent into the patient's brain whenever the coil is turned on
- If it is the patient's first session, the psychiatrist will establish their motor threshold. It sets a limit for the intensity of the magnetic pulses used for the treatment. The psychiatrist does this by increasing the intensity of magnetic waves sent into the patient's brain until it makes their hands or fingers twitch
- Once the patient's motor threshold is established, magnetic waves below their threshold are repeatedly sent into the patient's brain. An average session can last up to 40 minutes
The patient should be free to drive themselves and return to their regular activities after the treatment. Side effects are rare and mild with TMS therapy. The most common ones include headaches, nausea, and scalp irritation. Seizures can be a side effect of TMS therapy in extremely rare cases. TMS therapy is typically not recommended for people who have a history of seizures.
People who get TMS therapy often experience positive results within two weeks of starting their treatments. About 50 percent of patients continue to enjoy the benefits of TMS therapy a year after completing their treatment.
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