When TMS Is Recommended for Depression Treatment

TMS New York, NY

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is one of the treatment options for depression that does not respond to standard treatment. Major depressive disorder is a crippling illness that affects nearly 300 million individuals globally. Therefore, it is important that everyone dealing with this condition get the help that they need. In most cases, treatment approaches are slow, and patients are left with substandard therapy for too long without results. TMS has been shown to be effective for certain people with treatment-resistant or severe depression, as well as other mental illnesses.

An overview of TMS treatment for depression

Antidepressants are not effective for everyone. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 4.5 million individuals in the United States suffering from depression do not experience significant improvements from using antidepressants prescribed by their doctors. This statistic can be discouraging because antidepressants are often used as the first line of treatment.

Fortunately, effective, drug-free therapies are available, such as TMS. The American Psychiatric Association has suggested TMS as second-line therapy for adult patients with depression who have not responded to antidepressant drugs. TMS is an established alternative with positive success rates and study outcomes.

Adult patients with severe depression who have used at least one medication without success should consider TMS. It may not be suitable for everyone, though, so patients should discuss the therapy with their psychiatrist. Patients with embedded conductive metal or stimulator implants in or near the head and active or inactive implants, such as deep brain stimulators, cochlear implants, or vagus nerve stimulators, should not undergo TMS.

TMS may be an ideal choice for people who do not react to medicine or who cannot endure the unpleasant side effects of medication and wish to try other therapies. Mild to moderate soreness or discomfort at or around the treatment site is the most prevalent TMS side effect. This transitory side effect usually only occurs during the first week of therapy.

How TMS works

TMS is a drug-free, non-invasive treatment that utilizes magnetic pulses to stimulate brain regions responsible for mood regulation, such as the prefrontal cortex. Patients are conscious during the procedure and may resume normal activities shortly afterward, including driving.

During the first treatment session, doctors determine a patient’s motor threshold, which is the amount of magnetic field intensity delivered during treatment. Each patient gets a personalized field strength to get the proper therapy dosage.

Individual TMS treatments are less than an hour long. Patients typically undergo therapy for four to six weeks, having sessions five days a week. There may be a taper phase near the conclusion of the therapy, when the number of treatments is progressively decreased.

What to anticipate from the TMS procedure

The therapy is performed on an outpatient basis, which means a patient can go home the same day after undergoing the procedure in the hospital or doctor’s office. The physician will ask a patient to remove any metal items before they begin TMS therapy. Examples include coins, certain jewelry, and credit cards. As a precaution, patients should wear earplugs while undergoing the treatment to block the noise.

The doctor will assess the patient to determine optimal TMS coil placement. They will also perform tests to determine a person’s motor threshold or the minimal amount of force required to trigger a thumb twitch. There is no one-size-fits-all motor threshold. The threshold information ensures that the doctor provides the right energy level.

Treatment timetable and specifics

Most patients get five daily treatments over three to six weeks. Each course of therapy typically consists of 20–30 sessions. TMS is administered at a frequency of roughly 10 Hertz each session. Patients experience an average of 3,000 pulses in roughly 37 minutes, but the specific session length is variable.

Many individuals refer to TMS as repeated TMS, or rTMS, because of the number of pulses. Treatment has a varied effect on each individual. One-third to half of those who get TMS therapy experience fewer mood disorder symptoms. In certain cases, taking antidepressants, counseling, and lifestyle adjustments (such as a healthy diet and regular exercise) in addition to TMS also improves one’s mood.

If you have undergone conventional depression treatments without relief, it is not too late to seek information about TMS. If medication trials and psychotherapy have not worked, patients can try TMS to relieve their symptoms.

Final note

TMS is effective in treating depression. The therapy response varies from patient to patient, with some reporting favorable results within the first few weeks. If you would like to learn more about TMS and find out whether it is an option for you, contact our psychiatry office today.

Get more information here: https://nycpsychiatricassociates.com or call NYC Psychiatric Associates at (917) 391-0076

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