For anyone searching for an alternative treatment to depression, transcranial magnetic stimulation may just be the solution. Although fairly new to the mental health field, this treatment is continuously proving to be successful and life-changing for many suffering from the debilitating effects of depression. In order to acquire a deeper understanding, here’s a TMS overview. We have provided you with a brief rundown on how TMS treatment operates, what one can expect from TMS, as well as a bit of background and history on TMS.
Brief Overview of TMS
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment used to help improve and alleviate the symptoms associated with depression. The cause of depression has not yet been entirely proven; however, an imbalance of the chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells is the ruling scientific theory. This theory is the driving force behind the procedure. TMS delivers repetitive magnetic pulses to regions of the brain thought to regulate mood. More specifically, it targets areas of the brain that may be considered underactive through the process of stimulating nerve cells using these magnetic fields.
Unlike ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), it is noninvasive in that it doesn’t require surgery, anesthesia, or implantation of any kind. It is often used for patients who have found standard treatments, such as antidepressant medications and/or talk therapy, to be insufficient. Furthermore, studies have also shown success with TMS when used in conjunction with medication and therapy. Medication/therapy are also used as effective and beneficial ongoing treatments once the TMS treatment ends.
TMS was introduced in 1985 by Anthony Barker and his fellow colleagues. However, the initial physics behind the technique can be dated all the way back to the late 19th century. Michael Faraday discovered the ability to create a magnetic field by running electricity through a simple coil. Similarly, during the TMS process, an electromagnetic coil is placed on the forehead around the scalp. The neurons are then influenced by the field permeating the brain. When the magnetic field is strengthened or augmented, the neurons become depolarized, causing them to release the neurotransmitters associated with managing certain brain functions.
What To Expect From TMS Treatment
Many studies have been conducted on the effects of TMS in relation to depression since the mid-1900s, and it eventually became FDA approved as of October 2008. Since then, TMS providers are finding significant success rates. About 70-80% of patients are finding substantial improvements and about 50% are finding complete remission. Symptoms of depression in these 50% are eradicated after just one course of treatment. These sessions are typically implemented five times a week over a four to six-week period. If depression symptoms reoccur, treatment may be repeated. This is referred to as reinduction and many health insurance companies cover this cost.
A physical exam and psychiatric evaluation are generally scheduled before the first session to determine if it’s ultimately the right choice for each particular patient. The initial appointment typically lasts about 60 minutes. A magnetic coil will be placed at the forehead and the patient will feel a slight tapping sensation. A clicking noise will accompany this sensation, so earplugs may be provided for a more comfortable experience. A specific dose will be tailored to the patient during this appointment. This dose is determined by finding the motor threshold, which is found by increasing the magnetic dose until the fingers and hands twitch. The stimulation may be altered throughout the treatment depending on any possible side effects.
Side Effects of TMS Overview
Fortunately, common side effects tend to lean on the mild to moderate side. These may include headaches, tingling, and/or lightheadedness. Additionally, there is essentially no downtime. Driving home or back to work immediately following each appointment is a practical and viable option. However, some patients may opt for a ride to their first appointment just as a precaution.
A Promising Treatment
Transcranial magnetic stimulation continues to provide hope and newfound relief for those suffering from depression. For those who have reached the end of their rope when it comes to current standard treatments, this may be the key that’s been missing. With many insurance companies on board, it’s proving to be an attainable alternative option. As more research develops and continues and more treatments are being performed (currently sitting at approximately one million), the results become more refined and TMS is gradually becoming accepted with open arms. A bright future awaits both TMS and the patients opting for it.
TMS Institute of Great Plains Mental Health
Paula Whittle, PMHNP, and Dr. James Sorrell believe that mental health should be considered as a primary driver for one’s overall wellbeing, both physically and mentally. At TMS Institute of GPMH, we want to make sure your connection to the world you live in is addressed – to change the order to … SPIRIT, MIND, and BODY. As a result, we believe when people are treated in this order they feel better, more at peace, and much stronger to face life’s challenges. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS therapy), the most advanced form of depression treatment, offers us the ability to enhance our patient outcomes following our philosophy of a holistic approach to treating mental health conditions. Request a free consultation today.