How Effective Is TMS Therapy In Depression Treatment?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Depression is a serious health concern that affects how you feel, how you act, and your thinking. Depression causes both emotional and physical problems; it affects a person’s ability to function at home or work. A few significant symptoms of depression are loss or gain of weight, poor sleeping habits, and suicidal ideation. If you are struggling with major depressive symptoms despite trying various forms of treatment, TMS therapy may be right for you.

What is TMS

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive depression treatment method that uses magnetic force to stimulate specific nerves in the brain. 

How does TMS Work

TMS uses a series of magnetic pulses to stimulate the underactive nerves in people who are experiencing depressive symptoms. TMS is administered to the brain’s left prefrontal cortex with plays a role in mood regulation. The magnetic pulses stimulate nerves in the brain, reduce depression symptoms, and may improve a patient’s quality of life over time.

History of TMS

Transcranial magnetic stimulation was first applied in a research setup to study depression in 1985. However, the physics behind the technique was discovered in 1881. The method has been adequately researched and proven to be an effective treatment for mood disorders.

What happens in a TMS session?

A typical TMS session involves placing a magnetic coil against the scalp near the forehead and delivering painless magnetic pulses into areas of the brain that are involved in mood regulation. In the first TMS session, an assessment is done to determine the amount of therapy required and establish its starting point. The first session is usually the longest as the patient’s pain tolerance, comfort level, and brain mapping are done. Basepoint Psychiatry offers TMS therapy, and treatment sessions last about 20-40 minutes.

What is the cost of TMS therapy?

The actual cost of TMS sessions is difficult to discern, as some insurance companies are still gathering information on this type of treatment. If your insurance cannot cover the cost of treatment, patients can expect to pay $400 to $500 per session. TMS is an essential treatment for people who do not respond well to psychotherapy and antidepressants.

The success rate of TMS therapy

TMS for depression

TMS therapy has a 30% success rate, slightly lower than common depressants treatments, which often have a 50% success rate. To maximize the health benefits, TMS therapy is often administered repeatedly over a course of six weeks and may be  given in conjunction with traditional depression medication. Regular consistent treatment plays a major role in how successful TMS therapy will be.

TMS for anxiety disorders

The application of low-frequency TMS has proven to be effective in the treatment of anxiety and disorders such as PTSD and OCD.

Medication and TMS therapy are effective in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Ongoing research on the effectiveness of TMS therapy in treating post-traumatic disorder has shown positive results.

Side effects of TMS

Like many other treatment methods, TMS therapy has a few mild side effects. Temporary loss of memory may occur, but this symptom usually dissipates after a few days. You may experience tingling on the forehead or mild headaches after a therapy session that could last an hour or two. If you experience mild headaches that linger for several weeks, it is recommended that you consult your doctor.

 Is TMS worth the trouble?

It is important that you understand that TMS therapy is not a miraculous cure for all symptoms of depression. However, the approach has proven to be effective and beneficial for many people who have not responded well to other forms of depression treatment. TMS is also useful for patients who are not comfortable with talk therapy as it sometimes involves recalling bad memories. It can also help patients who suffer severe side effects after taking standard antidepressant drugs.