TMS Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
TMS Therapy is a cutting-edge, non-invasive treatment for depression and other mental health conditions that can make life challenging. TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and employs magnetic fields to target nerve cells in the brain.
As a TMS therapy patient, you are seated in a comfortable chair, and a cushioned device is placed on your head. TMS uses magnetic fields, much like an MRI, to stimulate specific areas of your brain. A session lasts about 20 minutes, and no systemic side effects prevent you from continuing your daily routine. Clinicians recommend that you attend all sessions to relieve depression symptoms.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is safe and is endorsed by major institutions like Harvard, The Mayo Clinic, and Cleveland Clinic. It has been cleared by the FDA to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and has been used in Europe for decades to treat various other conditions. Further, in most cases, TMS therapy is well tolerated by patients.
Unlike more invasive options, TMS requires no anesthetics and doesn’t induce seizures. During the TMS session, the patient will be awake and alert. The patient can feel safe and secure utilizing TMS therapy because it has treated over 100 thousand patients.
Deep TMS is a patented technology where the magnetic pulses cover more regions of the brain and reach deeper levels than standard transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy. According to a 2019 study, Deep TMS Therapy can result in much higher levels of effective treatment through brain stimulation than standard TMS.
In using TMS for depression, drastic improvement is reported by 68% of patients and 45% report total remission from depression. Most patients notice significant improvement after 2 weeks of treatment.
Patients relax in a treatment chair while awake. A Deep TMS cushioned helmet is placed over the head to deliver pulses to specific regions of the brain, which feel like little taps on the scalp.
Because the magnetic fields stimulate nerve cells, some people may feel mild scalp discomfort or a mild headache during treatment, but these quickly dissipate and diminish with further treatment. Side effects reported are far fewer and less severe than antidepressant medications. While there is a small risk of seizures to all forms of TMS, it is less than or comparable to seizure rates experienced with antidepressant medication.
Research studies demonstrate that approximately 3 in 4 patients with depression experience a relief in symptoms after receiving TMS treatment. Additionally, 1 in 2 patients receiving Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation achieves remission.
Patients living with obsessive-compulsive disorder can also benefit from TMS. Roughly 1 in 2 patients experiencing the condition respond consistently to treatment. Lastly, TMS has been shown to help almost 1 in 3 smokers quit for four or more weeks when used for cessation.
TMS Therapy is a painless, non-invasive and FDA-cleared treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) and other issues. It has been effective in treatment-resistant cases where antidepressant medications have reached limits. Using TMS for depression has been practiced in Europe for over 30 years and in the U.S. for over 12 years.
The number of sessions required for most TMS patients will depend on the individual’s condition and circumstances. In most cases, a typical course of treatment consists of 5-6 sessions weekly for 4-6 weeks.
There are no systemic side effects from transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy. After a session, patients can return to their normal activities without impairment.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) involves applying direct electric currents to a patient’s head. While research shows the effectiveness of ECT vs. TMS to be essentially the same, ECT has caused many serious side effects, where TMS patients have only experienced mild discomfort at times.
In many cases, A patient’s insurance plan covers TMS treatment. However, coverage does depend on the individual’s specific plan.
The FDA approves Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to treat anxious depression, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and smoking. Studies are determining if TMS can treat other conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A TMS session lasts around 20 minutes.
While some people report mild discomfort around the scalp or treatment site, most patients do not consider TMS painful.
Yes, psychotherapy can be used in combination with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.
Yes, ECT and TMS therapy can be employed together.
Individuals with specific kinds of metal implants, a history of seizure, pregnancy, or medical conditions like those involving heart pacemakers are not standard candidates for TMS treatment.
The effects of TMS therapy will always vary on the individual. In most cases, upon completing treatments, the benefits of therapy can last for weeks to months.
Currently, TMS therapy is not approved for treatment in teenagers and children.
While the elderly population may benefit from Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, it is considered more effective in younger adults
Currently, TMS therapy is not FDA-approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder. However, studies are being conducted to understand TMS’s potential benefits for bipolar disorder.
The FDA does not currently approve TMS for the treatment of schizophrenia. However, research is being conducted to determine the possibility.
Although the FDA has not approved TMS for PTSD, the research is promising!