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Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Recommended For Me?
TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a treatment for depression that stimulates the brain’s nerve cells with a magnetic field. TMS is widely accepted and quickly becoming popular because it removes the trial and error that often comes with finding the right meds and dosage for treating depression. TMS also has fewer side effects compared to the use of medications. This article focuses on candidacy for TMS therapy to know if the treatment is an option for you.
Who can undergo TMS therapy?
The following are some of the factors that determine a person’s eligibility for TMS therapy:
18 years and older
TMS therapy is approved by the FDA as a treatment for depression in patients who are 18 and above. Although it is possible that teens and children can benefit from TMS for depression. There are clinical trials still ongoing. There are concerns regarding the effect of electromagnetic impulses on brain development in younger patients, but there is no valid or scientific backing for that yet.
Unpleasant side effects of medications
Not all people experience side effects after starting a new antidepressant. However, for some, the side effects can be serious or worsen their situation. They may notice signs like nausea, dry mouth, insomnia, low libido, constipation, weight gain, fatigue, drowsiness, irritability, and anxiety. TMS is often recommended because it has minimal or no side effects. Even if there are any symptoms, they disappear soon enough and patients usually get back to their usual self.
Only 50 percent of patients notice any improvement on the first prescription of antidepressants. Between 20 to 40 percent of patients never notice any change in their depressive symptoms after trying different medications and treatments. Medical professionals call this treatment-resistant depression. Patients with this depression type are often eligible to try TMS therapy, and a significant number of patients see their symptoms disappear after treatment.
Before TMS therapy was approved for depression treatment, many pregnant women had to quit using antidepressants because the medications were harmful to the fetus. Unlike antidepressants that get into the bloodstream, TMS targets the brain directly and requires no medication. This makes the treatment for depression safe for pregnant women and their babies.
When is TMS not recommended?
Although transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy is effective for many, some people are not eligible for the procedure. For example, anyone with any form of metal implants cannot undergo TMS therapy because the procedure involves electromagnetic waves. Such implants include neck or brain stents, pacemakers, aneurysm coils or clips, ferromagnetic implants around the ears or eyes, shrapnel or bullet fragments in or around the head, implanted stimulator, and electrodes for monitoring brain activity.
Also, TMS is not recommended for patients with a history of seizure or any condition that can trigger seizures. The electromagnetic waves increase the possibility of a seizure, and although the risk is insignificant in those with no history of seizures, those with epilepsy or a seizure disorder must avoid TMS.
If you think you will benefit from undergoing transcranial magnetic therapy, book an appointment today for consultation and assessment.
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