Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an alternative depression treatment that can significantly reduce or eliminate the symptoms of depression. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for depression. TMS can also be used to treat other disorders like anxiety and OCD.TMS therapy involves repeatedly sending electromagnetic waves into a patient’s brain.…
What to Expect After Your First TMS Therapy Session
Initially, patients might feel apprehensive about undergoing the TMS therapy session, especially if they do not know what to expect during and afterward. The fact remains that TMS is non-invasive. Also, healthcare professionals will recommend it when the benefits are remarkably higher than the possible risks. This article covers what happens after your first TMS session.
TMS therapy is performed on an outpatient basis and lasts between 20 to 50 minutes. Patients will be under the doctor's supervision and remain awake throughout. No sedation or anesthesia is administered during treatment.
When the session is over, patients can drive themselves and return to their usual activities. Since there is no surgery or ingestion, it has no associated systemic effects. The common TMS side effects are temporary and include minor irritation or discomfort around the treatment area and headache. These side effects usually improve as patients undergo more sessions.
In case of pain or discomfort, patients can use over-the-counter pain relievers. In case the side effects continue, the TMS technician can temporarily lower the level of induced magnetic pulses to make the sessions more tolerable.
Noticing the changes
Another thing that patients often want to know is how soon they will start to notice improvements. The truth is that healing and recovery depend on the patient. Some patients may notice improvements to their depressive symptoms before others.
Typically, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is provided as a single procedure spanning over nine weeks – six weeks of the treatment session and a taper period of three weeks. Some patients see minor improvements after two weeks of TMS sessions, while some do not notice any change until the fourth or fifth week. If progress takes more time than it did for someone else, it is not a sign of ineffectiveness. Generally, TMS produces the same results, and that is a long-lasting solution to depression symptoms.
Some of the factors that may affect response rate include age, the extent of resistance to treatment, personality type, level of brain activity before treatment, and the use of antidepressants during treatment. Studies have shown that TMS might improve the results achievable with antidepressants.
TMS is effective
It is easy to focus on getting quick results from a procedure and forget that the major benefit of choosing TMS is that it provides long-lasting respite from depression symptoms. In a study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, participants included adults diagnosed with depression who had not responded to antidepressants. Every patient went through a six-week treatment, and at the end of the initial therapy, 62.5 percent of patients were asymptomatic and in remission for up to a year afterward.
Biological and life factors can affect the rate of response to TMS therapy. Although it is hard to tell when the changes will start, there are enough studies to back the treatment's effectiveness. Before starting a TMS session, the provider will inform you of what to expect before and after the session. If you would like to learn more, contact the office today.
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