What You Can Expect During TMS Therapy

What You Can Expect During TMS Therapy from NYC Psychiatric Associates in New York, NYTranscranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment that stimulates the brain. Psychiatrists use the therapy to improve the outcome of mental healthcare, and physicians use it to improve the outcome of neurological disorders.

The most common use of TMS therapy is for treating depression, where it can serve as a standalone treatment. Mental health practitioners can also combine TMS with interventions like medication and psychotherapy. If you want to learn more about TMS therapy and how it works, keep reading.

TMS therapy in a nutshell

The nervous system works by transmitting small electrical impulses to and from the central nervous system. This is analogous to wiring that powers a machine or a house.

Placing a magnetic field near an electrical system will have an effect, a fact that holds true for the nervous system too. TMS therapy hinges on the principle of a magnetic field causing a change in the neural activity in the brain.

A certified doctor, psychiatrist, or TMS technician will point a magnetic field at a specific area of the brain. The magnetic energy then travels two to three centimeters into the brain, inducing an electric current. This current excites the nerves, effectively increasing the neural activity in a particular region of the brain. The result is an improvement in a patient’s psychological or physiological health. Here are the steps that an individual needs to undergo to enjoy the benefits of TMS therapy.

1. Screening and evaluation

A physician or mental health practitioner will recommend TMS if their patient fulfills certain requirements. For example:

  • Patients who are suffering from treatment-resistant depression
  • Patients dealing with neurological issues like stroke
  • Those over the age of 18
  • Patients with no history of seizures, which rules out those with conditions like epilepsy
  • Those who are free of metallic medical implants that could react to a magnetic field

A patient who gets through screening will then proceed to the next step of treatment.

2. Preparation

The magnetic field from TMS machinery takes the form of laser-focused pulses that target pinpoint sections of the brain. This means a doctor needs to identify the ideal location to apply the magnetic field from the TMS machine. The doctor will also calculate the intensity and frequency of the magnetic energy that their patient needs.

3. Procedure

First, the doctor or TMS technician has the patient wear a set of earplugs. These keep out the noise from the TMS machine. The doctor then calibrates the machine, setting the frequency and intensity of the magnetic pulse. They place a magnetic coil on the scalp, right on top of the target section of the brain.

Then, the doctor or technician starts the TMS system, which will create a magnetic field in the coil that sits against the patient’s scalp. The painless, non-invasive procedure takes between 30 minutes and an hour. The patient can resume their daily routine after leaving the doctor’s office. Side effects are minimal, with some patients reporting mild headache and scalp discomfort after the first few sessions.

4. Frequency and duration of treatment

TMS therapy typically requires five sessions a week, over several weeks. The effects of the treatment start to show after two to three weeks.

Patients who show significant improvements can stop treatment after a few weeks. Their doctor may recommend future treatments depending on the individual’s long-term health. This means that TMS therapy also has a monitoring phase.

Check out what others are saying about our TMS services on Yelp: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in New York, NY

We can help with your mental health journey

Our team of medical and mental health professionals is available to guide you through effective, successful treatment. Reach out to us to determine if TMS therapy can work for you.

Request an appointment or call NYC Psychiatric Associates at 917-391-0076 for an appointment in our New York office.

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