Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation For Depression: The Facts

Posted on: 14 November 2022

Many people experience depression. Although there are a variety of treatments available for depression, such as therapy and medication, not all treatment options work for everyone. If you do not respond to traditional depression treatments, you may want to consider transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS. The following are some things you need to know if you are searching for a new way to treat your depression and want to try TMS therapy.

What Is TMS?

TMS is a form of non-invasive stimulation of the brain. TMS is provided through a device on the outside of your body to contact your nervous system. It does this by applying magnetic fields to certain areas of your brain. The sections of your brain that are affected by TMS are the sections that are related to depression. There is no anesthesia needed and the stimulation is typically well-tolerated. There are a few side effects, the most notable being a slight headache just after treatment.

What Can You Expect During a TMS Therapy Session?

TMS therapy can involve a treatment session that occurs each day of the week for a few weeks. Each session is about an hour in length. You will check in with your provider before your stimulation begins. The practitioner will check your motor cortex to determine the stimulation intensity that is best for you. This is the first area of the brain that will be targeted through therapy. The goal is to test this area to best determine the placement of a coil that stimulates the area and the intensity of stimulation you needed to treat your depressive disorder. After this part of the therapy, calculations are recorded based on this information to find the area of the brain that requires the most need for depression therapy. The practitioner will find the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to determine this information. After therapy, you may notice your brain's excitability is different, but you may not notice anything. You will need several treatments before you start to notice a difference.

Is TMS Effective in Treating Depression?

If you have received other forms of depression treatment and have not responded well to them, you may have a good response to TMS. Many people who receive TMS therapy respond well to it, with few to no reoccurrence of depressive behaviors. Some people need continuous therapy sessions, and others may have no depression symptoms after the first round of treatment. You may need to go back for additional therapy as you need it. You will need to discuss your best course of action with your doctor to figure out a good treatment plan.