Many people of different ages and lifestyles struggle with chronic depression. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a modern depression treatment that is often used when depression medications and other treatment methods haven't produced the desired effects. Here are some facts about TMS therapy that can help you decide whether this treatment for depression is right for you.
Magnetic fields are used during treatment
TMS therapy is a technologically advanced form of depression treatment that involves the use of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells inside the brain. By placing an electromagnetic coil against the scalp and forehead, doctors can transmit the magnetic fields to cells that are in areas of the brain that are responsible for controlling feelings of emotion. When the brain cells in these regions are targeted, they can often develop new patterns that are known to be effective in combatting depression.
Treatment is painless
TMS treatment is completely non-invasive, which means that no cutting or injections will be needed to access the targeted areas of the brain. The magnetic fields that are used in treatment don't cause any pain, which can be especially good if your depression is triggered by anxiety that you might feel over the thought of pain. You'll likely feel a sensation of someone tapping on your head as the energy pulses are emitted.
Equipment testing will be conducted prior to treatment
At your first session, the technician will test the equipment on you so that it can be used in the most effective way to give you results. Measurements of your head will be taken so that the electromagnetic coil can be placed correctly to target the areas of the brain that need to be stimulated for treatment. A few energy pulses will also be emitted as a test to make sure that the magnetic fields will be strong enough for you without being too intense.
Multiple treatment sessions will be needed
To experience results, you may need to schedule multiple treatment sessions over a four- to six-week period. During the treatment period, you may need up to five sessions per week. Each treatment session will take around 30 to 40 minutes to complete.
TMS therapy may be helpful for treating other conditions
TMS therapy is mainly used to treat depression, but the treatment is sometimes effective in treating other psychiatric conditions as well as some medical conditions. Some of the other conditions that sometimes respond well to TMS treatment include:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Alzheimer's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Chronic pain
- Stroke recovery
If standard depression treatments haven't given you encouraging results, TMS therapy may be your best line of defense against depression. A treatment center that offers this therapy can conduct a thorough screening to determine if you're an ideal candidate for this type of care.