TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. TMS Therapy is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for those who did not achieve satisfactory improvement from at least one antidepressant medication treatment. It is safe, effective, and well-tolerated. Through a treatment coil, the TMS Therapy System generates magnetic fields, similar to those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. The treatment coil rests on the head above the area of the brain specifically involved with mood regulation. The magnetic fields activate the brain cells to function properly by releasing neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine – the brain chemicals which improve mood.
The therapy targets a specific part of the brain that is underactive in depression, and over the course of several weeks restores its activity to a normal function level, lessening or eliminating symptoms.
TMS mimics a process that occurs during development. It’s actually stimulating the growth of new connections in the brain. It’s an ability that begins the moment we’re born and continues throughout our lifespan. This repeated stimulation of that part of the brain causes new connections to form between the nerve cells; this is what leads to recovery from depression. This is what medications attempt to do; however, they are not as precisely targeted as with TMS.
Antidepressants are chemicals: they have to be swallowed to reach the brain. They pass through every organ in our body, which is why they cause side effects. TMS goes directly to the brain and it acts by stimulating the neuro-networks and the circuits that are involved in regulating mood.
With TMS therapy, more than 75% of the patients who undergo the treatment report significant improvement in their depression and upwards of 50% experience complete remission or feel completely well. In addition, patients reach this success without common side effects of medications, such as weight gain, nausea, and the other negative side effects of antidepressants.
A TMS Session
TMS Therapy is performed in our office under a Board Certified Psychiatrist’s supervision. TMS does not involve surgery; it does not require any anesthesia or sedation. During treatment, the person remains awake and alert. It does not circulate in the blood stream, so there are no side effects. The person may leave treatment, drive their car and complete their day at school, work, or leisure. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy is a safe, painless treatment for depression and certain other conditions without the use of medications.
What is a Typical Course of TMS Therapy? A typical course of TMS lasts 4-6 weeks. Treatments are given daily, Monday through Friday. Each treatment session lasts about 30 minutes or less.
Unlike other treatments, such as electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), TMS does not cause cognitive side effects or memory problems. No anesthesia or sedation is used, so you can drive yourself to and from treatment and even go back to work or school right after a treatment. There is no need to disrupt your usual routine.