Treating major depressive illness with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) magnetic fields is non-invasive and non-systemic. This method, often recommended when conventional therapies such as antidepressant treatment and talk therapy have failed, can produce significant relief from depression symptoms.Some patients undergoing TMS for depression may be reluctant to forego their antidepressant medication throughout the 6-week treatment…
What Is Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a treatment for depression. It is non-invasive, and it involves using magnetic fields generated by an electromagnetic coil placed on the patient’s head to stimulate nerve cells in their brain. The procedure is usually recommended when psychotherapy and medication have failed to address mental health issues like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. TMS involves delivering pulses of magnetic waves into the patient’s brain, so it is also known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).
How repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation helps with mental health
An rTMS session involves an electromagnetic coil being placed on the patient’s scalp right next to their forehead. The coil delivers magnetic pulses that stimulate cells in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that regulates mood and the symptoms of depression. This stimulation increases activity in these areas, reducing symptoms of depression.
While much remains to be learned about how these magnetic waves increase brain activity, the procedure does help improve mood. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the procedure as a treatment for depression.
The standard treatments for depression are psychotherapy and medication. However, these treatments do not always create positive results. Some people have treatment-resistant depression that does not respond to conventional treatments. TMS is usually recommended when other treatments have proven to be ineffective.
TMS is a non-invasive procedure, and it does not require surgically placing electrodes in the patient’s brain, as is the case with other alternative treatments, like electroconvulsive therapy. The procedure does not require anesthesia, and it typically does not have significant side effects besides scalp discomfort, lightheadedness, or headaches.
TMS is typically performed in a psychiatrist’s clinic. It often requires multiple treatment sessions to be effective. The average patient gets about five treatments per week for up to six weeks.
At the start of the treatment, the psychiatrist will measure the patient’s head and determine the best area to place the electromagnetic coil. The psychiatrist will also determine the correct dose of magnetic energy that the patient needs. This initial appointment can last up to an hour. Here’s how the treatment works:
- The patient is taken to a treatment room where they sit on a reclining chair
- The patient is given earplugs to protect their ears from the clicking sounds made by the magnetic pulses
- An electromagnetic coil is placed on the patient’s forehead and switched on and off repeatedly to create pulses
- The patient might feel a tapping sensation on their forehead while this goes on, and they will hear loud clicking noises made by the pulses
- The psychiatrist will slowly increase the magnetic energy being delivered into the patient’s brain until it is enough to make their finger twitch; this is the patient’s motor threshold and serves as a reference point for how much magnetic energy is used
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An alternative way to treat mental health disorders
Transcranial magnetic stimulation can give you relief from the symptoms of mental health issues like depression when other treatments have failed. Call or stop by our New York clinic to set up an appointment with our psychiatrist.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is fast becoming a popular non-invasive depression therapy. With TMS, electromagnetic pulses help stimulate nerve cells without causing any damage to the cells themselves. It has the potential to alleviate the signs of mental and neurological problems. Patients suffering from depression may respond well to this treatment. This article focuses on…
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) might be an effective option for people whose depression does not respond to medication, or who want to avoid medication side effects. Mental illness is more common than people think, and depression is one of the most prevalent forms of it. Traditional treatments, such as medication or talk therapy, are often…