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The Age Limit to Receive TMS Treatment

Feb 15, 2024
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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy can improve brain function in people suffering from treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy can improve brain function in people suffering from treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This treatment alleviates the symptoms that come with these psychiatric conditions. The happy result is an improvement in a patient’s quality of life, with the person regaining a degree of normalcy.

All this sounds encouraging, but it bears mentioning that TMS therapy is not for everyone. Doctors and psychiatrists will screen their patients to ensure that brain stimulation delivers benefits without causing harm. Each patient will need to check certain boxes before qualifying for treatment. Does one of these criteria have anything to do with age? Read on to find out.

Screening and evaluation for TMS treatment

Treating a condition should provide relief without creating worse side effects than the original illness. Thus, doctors curate personalized treatment plans that accommodate the patient’s age, health, and pre-existing conditions. A doctor will evaluate the patient and use the exam to determine their suitability for specific treatments. In the case of TMS therapy, the doctor will disqualify patients with:

  • A medical history of seizures or brain injury that could lead to complications
  • Medical implants that could break or malfunction after exposure to the magnetic energy from a TMS coil
  • Age restrictions that render the patent too fragile for TMS therapy

Screening ensures that TMS therapy remains a low-risk treatment with many benefits and mild side effects. A psychiatrist or doctor might recommend TMS therapy to the following age groups.

Patients aged 18 to 70

Findings show that TMS is an effective therapy for major depressive disorder. The FDA used this evidence to approve the use of TMS to modify neural activity in specific regions of the brain. Adults who are good candidates for TMS can qualify for the treatment. They stand to benefit from improved neural function and overall emotional wellness.

Adolescents and older children

Childhood depression can carry over into adulthood, so psychiatrists advocate early intervention. The treatment of mental health with medication usually involves trial and error, which means the doctor may need to adjust their patient’s medication. For young patients, the rollercoaster that comes with finding the right drug regimen can take a toll. This is where TMS therapy comes in to smooth the treatment process.

The use of TMS to complement medication can increase the effectiveness of the drugs, leading to the need for lower dosages. In addition, TMS can increase the impact of behavioral therapy.

TMS in the treatment of geriatric depression

A psychiatrist will recommend TMS to older patients who are healthy enough to undergo treatment, which can apply to otherwise healthy patients past the age of 70. For such patients, TMS treatment helps boost the efficacy of drugs, enabling doctors to lower the dosage of certain medications.

Frequently asked questions about TMS therapy

Ready to give TMS treatments a try? Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions:

1. Do TMS treatments hurt?

TMS treatments do not cause pain, but the tapping sensation caused by electromagnetic waves getting into the brain can take some time to get used to. Other sensations patients might experience during TMS treatments include twitching around the eyes or face. It typically goes away right after the session. TMS therapy leads to minimal discomfort, so general anesthetics or sedation is unnecessary.

2. How long does it take to get the benefits of TMS therapy?

The experience is different for each patient. Generally speaking, people who combine their treatments with antidepressants and younger patients tend to get results earlier than others. Such patients start enjoying the benefits of the treatments as early as two weeks after.

Older people or those who get TMS therapy as a standalone treatment often wait longer for noticeable results. They get to experience the same benefits as those who started seeing results earlier in the long term.

3. What are the side effects of TMS therapy?

Most people who get TMS treatments do not report noticing any side effects, but the most common side effects reported are minor headaches and tingling sensations in the scalp, face, or jaw. These side effects normally disappear within a few weeks after completing treatment schedules. These side effects are typically tolerable enough to complete their treatments without any breaks. The most serious side effect associated with TMS therapy is seizures. The probability of seizures occurring is less than a fraction of a percent. 

We offer custom treatment plans for each patient

Our team provides personalized care that takes your unique needs into account. Our psychiatrist will craft a treatment plan that delivers results, both in the short and long term. Get in touch with us to determine if TMS therapy can become part of your regimen.

Request an appointment here: https://nycpsychiatricassociates.com or call NYC Psychiatric Associates at (917) 391-0076 for an appointment in our New York office.

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