What is TMS and how does it work?

Northwest Psychiatry & TMS » What is TMS and how does it work?

What is TMS?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a revolutionary, FDA approved treatment recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as an effective method in addressing symptoms of severe or treatment resistant depression. TMS can offer a much needed beacon of hope to individuals that have otherwise been unsuccessful in treating their depression symptoms with antidepressant medications. While TMS is primarily used to treat individuals with depression, it’s also gaining notoriety as a promising treatment against other chronic disorders such as anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and more.

Treatment resistant depression

Living with depression can be a frustrating struggle that permeates through all aspects of your life. While many individuals struggling with depression are able to find relief through a combination of antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy, these methods are typically only successful in approximately 60% of cases. The remaining 40% find little symptom relief from antidepressants or find that the corresponding side effects aren’t worth the relief these medications provide.

Outline of procedure

TMS is a non-invasive, stress free procedure that can be performed in the comfort of your practitioners office in sessions lasting under 40 minutes. During each session, a magnetic coil is placed over your scalp, sending targeted magnetic pulses to areas of the brain associated with mood regulation. These magnetic pulses work to restore the natural function of the brain’s neurotransmitters including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin– which in turn alleviates symptoms of chronic depression and improves the patient’s overall mood. TMS sessions require zero downtime and patients are free to resume their normal daily activities immediately following every session.

Treatment plan

In order to maximize the efficacy of TMS therapy, patients will be expected to repeat treatment daily, or five times per week for up to six weeks. You should expect a personalized treatment plan that takes the severity of your symptoms into consideration and anticipate that your treatment plan may evolve as your response to TMS is assessed. Some patients see a marked improvement in their symptoms after just a few sessions, but recent studies show that the majority of patients start feeling relief from symptoms of depression after approximately four weeks of treatment.