Every year, more than 17 million individuals in the United States deal with depression. Depression, characterized by disruptions in a person's emotions, behavior, and thoughts, deprives a person of their ability to experience pleasure in life. Patients often experience a state of near-total numbness or persistent grief. The psychiatrist will typically recommend the proper treatment…
TMS Depression Treatment From a Psychiatrist
Many psychiatrists use TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) depression treatment on their patients. Some patients remain unresponsive despite the conventional treatments available. That is why psychiatrists search for alternative ways to treat this condition. One such treatment is TMS. This is a novel technique that yields positive results in patients with depression. If you want to understand how TMS helps patients with this condition, here are the facts.
A TMS treatment will start after a thorough psychiatric evaluation. It begins with the careful placement of an electromagnetic coil on the patient’s skull. The psychiatrist will position the coil near the patient’s forehead. Then, the psychiatrist will concentrate on the patient’s left prefrontal cortex. Short, powerful magnetic pulses from the coil will reach this part of the brain.
The human brain is full of interconnections. Electromagnetic pulses excite the neurons. These neurons trigger the activity of other neurons. The repetitive, intense magnetic pulses change neural activities. Psychiatrists can use TMS to affect the brain’s activities, as well as its neural pathways.
A patient that suffers from depression needs brain stimulation. Even so, TMS is not intrusive. This new method is not like other treatments such as deep brain stimulation. The treatment is different from ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), as well. Patients do not need sedation before sessions. Seizures after treatment sessions are non-existent.
An acceptable depression treatment
Many studies support the effectiveness of this psychiatric treatment. Findings show that the treatment is also harmless. Brain stimulation can help patients come back after depression. TMS provides relief for those who do not respond to conventional depression treatments.
Psychiatrists have been using TMS for at least 30 years. Back in October 2008, the FDA approved it for the treatment of depression. Since the FDA’s approval, this method is now common. The situation allows health insurance plans to cover this treatment.
Psychiatrists use various TMS devices. One is the rapid theta burst (TBS) therapy device. This is a standard device for treating major depressive disorder. As the name suggests, this device can complete a session in three to six minutes. The usual length of a treatment session is 20-40 minutes.
A dTMS or deep transcranial magnetic stimulation device has a bigger H-coil. This allows the magnetic energy to reach the deeper parts of the patient’s brain. It can go up to 1.6 inches underneath the skull. Another one is the surface transcranial magnetic stimulation. This uses an infinity-shaped coil. It can go up to 0.6 inches underneath the skull.
TMS is a non-invasive method of alleviating depression. It works for those who do not respond to psychotherapy or medications anymore. Since this treatment delivers relief from the outside of the body, the effects do not last forever. Patients should have maintenance therapies that can help improve symptoms for longer.
Going through TMS is a non-intrusive way to stimulate the brain. It is a good repetitive treatment for depression. The patient does not need to go through surgery. The doctor will not implant electrodes in the patient. The patient will not need sedation or be at risk for seizures at all.
The side effects
Side effects are only mild to moderate. They improve after one session. These side effects reduce over time. The doctor can adjust the intensity of the stimulation to reduce the symptoms. The patient may also take over-the-counter pain relievers before treatment. Below are some of the common side effects of TMS:
- Discomfort at the site of stimulation
- Spasms, twitching, or tingling of the facial muscles
Depression symptoms may fade or improve if TMS works for the patient. The results become evident after a few weeks of regular sessions. The doctor will determine how many more sessions the patient needs to achieve the desired results. The patient will have TMS on ideal sites of the scalp.
The doctor may recommend psychotherapy and conventional medications to help the patient during the ongoing treatment after TMS. Some healthcare providers recommend consistent treatments even when the patient becomes symptom-free. This may help prevent the depression symptoms from returning. The patient also has the choice to return later, only after another episode occurs.
TMS is an effective treatment for depression
The FDA has cleared TMS depression treatment. This alternative method is non-invasive. There is no form of surgery at all. Your psychiatrist has various choices of devices. These systems can deliver magnetic energy in various depths and durations. Each patient has different needs during and after TMS. A psychiatrist can tailor-fit each session for every patient. Discussing your therapy with your psychiatrist can maximize the desired effects.
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