What is TMS Therapy?
Depression can be a complicated condition to treat due to the myriad of ways it affects different people. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for depression and different treatments must be used in order to find an effective solution to help treat a patient.
The most common forms of treatment include medication, but these can prove to be ineffective on certain patients. If a patient has tried two or more different treatments but has seen no improvement, then their condition may be classified as treatment-resistant depression. In this situation, the patient may have alternative treatment options, one of which is TMS therapy.
What is TMS Therapy?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive procedure used to treat symptoms of depression. TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate the nerve cells in our brain and is used when other depression treatments have been ineffective.
How Does TMS Therapy Work?
TMS therapy involves delivering repetitive magnetic pulses to sustain the positive benefits. As such, it’s often known as repetitive TMS or rTMS.
During an rTMS session, the patient has an electromagnetic coil pressed against their forehead that delivers repeated magnetic pulses. This process is painless and serves to stimulate the nerve cells in your brain. It specifically targets the region that is involved in mood control and depression to serve as a depression treatment.
What are the Benefits of TMS Therapy?
The main benefits of TMS therapy include alleviating depression symptoms and also dealing with conditions such as OCD, anxiety, and PTSD. It has also been shown to improve motor dysfunction, making it a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke rehabilitation.
rTMS is also a non-invasive treatment to treat depression. Since it does not require surgery and is well-tolerated by patients, it doesn’t require anesthesia and can be performed comfortably without major side effects that concern patients.
TMS and Depression
TMS is typically used to treat major depressive disorder which is often shortened to just depression. It’s often suggested for those with treatment-resistant depression which is approximately 30% of those that are diagnosed with depression.
TMS stimulates the nerve cells and increases activity in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is associated with depression symptoms such as low energy levels.
TMS and OCD
TMS is an innovative approach for dealing with OCD. Due to many conventional treatments being ineffective, patients and doctors have turned to TMS as a much more promising alternative that is non-invasive and has few side effects.
The FDA approved the use of TMS for OCD in 2018. It has since been recommended to people with OCD that do not respond to typical medication.
TMS and Anxiety
Some research has shown TMS to also be effective at treating generalized anxiety disorders. TMS is shown to potentially reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex which is common in those who experience anxiety.
TMS and PTSD
A 2019 study showed that TMS can be an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the treatment targeting the prefrontal cortex which regulates the body’s response to fear and worry.
Who is a Good Candidate for TMS Therapy?
TMS therapy is suggested for patients that are struggling with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or similar mental health issues and see limited or no benefit in taking medication. Alternatively, it can also be used by patients who are unable to take medication due to intolerable side effects.
WHo Should Avoid TMS Therapy?
TMS therapy is typically a very safe procedure due to it being non-invasive. However, it should be avoided if there is any metal in your head. For example, if you have a neck or brain stent, have facial tattoos with metallic ink, or if there are any shrapnel fragments and bullet pieces in your head, then it should be avoided.
You should also avoid TMS therapy if you have a history of epilepsy or seizures, are taking stimulants, or have a medical condition that could cause an increased risk of seizures.
Before you consider TMS therapy, it’s worth contacting a medical professional to help you identify if you are compatible with the treatment or not.
If you have braces or dental fillings, then you are still eligible for TMS therapy.
TMS therapy is an effective alternative treatment for those who have experienced little or no benefit from other forms of medication for their mental health disorders. Thanks to it being non-invasive and having few serious side effects, it’s a great option for anyone that is looking for an alternative treatment.