For mental illnesses, TMS therapy may be a good option to pursue. It can be difficult living with a mental health condition. These come in many varieties, but treatment is often necessary to have a good quality of life. Therapy and medication are often the first lines of defense, but there are other strategies. Transcranial…
How TMS Therapy Works to Treat Depression
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a useful therapy for treatment-resistant depression. It often achieves results when traditional treatment options fail. TMS can be a standalone treatment, or it can serve to increase the efficacy of ongoing therapies. Here is how transcranial magnetic brain stimulation can improve the symptoms of depression.
TMS therapy and how it works
A magnetic field can induce electrical activity in the nerves, which is the principle behind TMS therapy. The resulting uptick in neural activity will often reduce symptoms of depression. Patients who benefit from TMS experience an improvement in mood and their ability to function.
TMS therapy for depression targets the part of the brain responsible for mood regulation, emotional response, and decision-making. This is also the part of the brain that prepares a person right before they make a voluntary movement. It prompts the person to move in reaction to their environment. This section of the brain sits at the top of the head and is called the prefrontal cortex.
Neural activity in the prefrontal cortex decreases when depression sets in. The more severe the depression, the less activity there is in certain sections of the prefrontal cortex. Applying a magnetic field over specific sections of the brain reverses this physiological manifestation of depression. This has the knock-on effect of minimizing the other symptoms of depression.
The ideal candidate for TMS therapy
The first step in a TMS treatment plan is patient evaluation and screening. At this stage, a doctor or mental health practitioner determines if their patient is likely to benefit from brain stimulation. They will recommend the treatment for patients who:
- Are suffering from moderate to severe forms of depression
- Show little improvement after exhausting more conservative treatment options
- Are willing to give TMS therapy a try
- Are not at risk for seizures
- Lack medical implants that could fail if exposed to a magnetic field
A person who is a good candidate for TMS can then schedule a series of outpatient procedures. These procedures are brief, non-invasive, and easy to work into the average daily routine.
What a patient should expect from TMS treatment
Patients will receive TMS treatments from medical or mental health professionals with the requisite certification. This means that a qualified doctor, TMS technician, or psychiatrist can safely administer TMS treatments. Here is what a first-time patient should expect from a session:
- The doctor or technician measures the person’s head to work out the ideal location to apply a magnetic field
- They set the frequency and intensity of the TMS equipment that generates the magnetic field
- The doctor will ask the patient to wear a pair of earplugs to shut out the noise from the TMS equipment
- Next, they place a magnetic coil on the patient’s scalp, right on top of a specific section of the brain
- They will start the TMS machine, which will create a magnetic pulse in the coil that sits on the patient’s head
The entire procedure takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, and the patient can resume their daily routine. TMS sessions are painless and have minimal side effects, so patients can typically drive themselves home.
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Our team offers personalized mental health care for each of our patients. Reach out to our offices to find out how therapies like TMS help treat and manage depression.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has gained recognition in recent years as an effective treatment option for patients with depression that does not respond to medication. TMS was certified by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008, and it is now widely accessible across the United States.According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 17…
You may never have heard of TMS treatment before, but it can be an alternative to using medication for various mental health disorders. If you are suffering from anxiety, this might be an effective method. For some patients, this approach can help the person control and overcome anxiety symptoms. Your psychiatrist will explore whether this…