When TMS Treatment Is Recommended for Depression
TMS treatment is an alternative option for moderate to severe depression. It is an outpatient procedure that involves stimulating a patient’s brain with magnetic waves. These magnetic waves penetrate into the skull and convert into electrical charges, stimulating the production of neurotransmitters and activating deactivated regions of the brain.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is also used to treat mental health disorders like anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
During TMS treatment sessions, a magnetic coil is placed on the patient’s head and used to create magnetic waves that penetrate the skull. The procedure is painless, which negates the need for sedatives or anesthetics. Patients who get TMS therapy can return to their regular activities after their treatment sessions. They get about five of these sessions each week for as long as six weeks. Each session lasts around 20 to 45 minutes.
Reasons a psychiatrist might recommend TMS treatment
Some of the reasons transcranial magnetic stimulation might be recommended for a patient include:
1. The patient has treatment-resistant depression
Antidepressants and talk therapy are the first treatments recommended for people with depression. However, about a third of patients who take antidepressants do not experience positive results.
Depression is classified as treatment-resistant when a patient has taken antidepressants for more than six weeks without seeing any significant improvements. Alternative treatments like transcranial magnetic stimulation are often recommended at that point. TMS treatment can be combined with medication for faster results.
2. The patient reacts negatively to antidepressants
Antidepressants are an effective way to treat depression, but they are not for everyone. Some people experience good results from taking antidepressants, but they suffer serious side effects like irregular heartbeat, headaches, or suicidal thoughts.
The benefits derived from taking antidepressants are not worth dealing with some of these side effects. When that is the case, TMS therapy is typically recommended.
3. The patient prefers a medication-free approach
Some people would rather not take any drugs to deal with their depression for personal reasons. Psychotherapy can be effective as a standalone treatment for depression, but some patients do not experience significant improvements, particularly if they have mild to moderate depression.
Such patients can benefit from using TMS therapy as a standalone treatment. It can be more effective than antidepressants, and patients start noticing improvements as early as two weeks into their treatment.
Once a patient has been cleared for TMS therapy, a psychiatrist starts the process by using magnetic resonance imaging to map out the patient’s brain. The patient’s motor threshold is determined during their first session.
The patient remains seated throughout the treatment, and earplugs are provided to protect against the clicking sounds made by the magnetic coil. The intensity of the waves is gradually increased until it makes the patient’s hands twitch. This sets their motor threshold.
The patient then undergoes a 20- to 40-minute treatment session that sends magnetic waves into the brain. They typically have to get about five of these sessions each week for the length of their treatment, which can be up to six weeks.
Get past depression
Getting the symptoms of depression under control restores your quality of life. Give us a call or stop by our New York clinic to set up an appointment with our psychiatrist.
Request an appointment here: https://www.hopetmsofny.com or call Hope TMS and Neuropsychiatric Center at (646) 578-8152 for an appointment in our New York office.
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