What Is TMS Therapy?

Feelings of hopelessness and despair can take a heavy toll on one’s quality of life and significantly impair the way they think, feel, and act. While many patients are able to lift the heavy fog associated with depression through lifestyle changes, coping mechanisms, psychotherapy, or medication, others still struggle to find respite.

If you are suffering from large-scale depression and have found traditional treatment methods to be ineffective, TMS therapy may be able to help.

While antidepressants alter your brain chemically, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) works to stimulate underactive nerve cells in the brain using magnetic fields. This is done using a top of the line, FDA-approved machine that sends magnetic energy pulses through the prefrontal cortex. As a result, TMS is able to painlessly revitalize areas of the brain responsible for mood control and improve communication within the central nervous system.

Each TMS session varies in length depending on the type of machine and the protocol used, but sessions range from 3 to 40 minutes and do not require sedation or anesthesia: the patient is fully awake. As it is an outpatient procedure, no post-treatment recovery time is required and patients are able to return to daily functions immediately following a session. An electromagnetic coil, about the size of a hand, is held against the front part of the scalp over an area of the brain involved in mood regulation and depression. Short electromagnetic pulses are administered through the coil. The magnetic pulses cause small electrical currents that stimulate nerve cells in the targeted region of the brain; they are about the same strength as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Trials have shown lasting, positive effects on brain functions in those who have otherwise experienced a treatment-resistant form of depression.

TMS is an effective alternative to managing a patient’s depression symptoms in that it offers the same amount of benefits without the side effects associated with other treatment options.

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