If you’ve found your way to this blog, chances are you’re curious about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and whether it might be a good fit for you. Mental health treatment is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and sometimes, traditional treatments like medication and therapy might not provide the relief you’re seeking. TMS could be a possible option that helps you finally feel better. Keep reading to take a closer look at what TMS is, its effectiveness, and who could be an eligible candidate.
What is TMS?
TMS is a non-invasive medical treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It’s an FDA-approved method for treating treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and OCD. In case you are thinking of writing yourself off because you don’t think you have TRD, please know that the qualifications for having TRD are if someone does not find relief with two or more medications.
While stimulating your brain with magnetic fields might sound a little scary, you won’t feel any pain during or after treatment. What happens is that localized electromagnetic pulses are delivered to the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of your brain that regulates mood. And just like you don’t feel any pain if you run your hand between two attracting magnets, you don’t feel any pain during a TMS session.
These electromagnetic pulses stimulate neurons, which release neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters work to relieve symptoms of depression. Once these neurons are stimulated by TMS, they continue to release these neurotransmitters for a longer period of time compared to other treatments like antidepressants.
How Does TMS Compare to Other Treatments?
Compared to antidepressants, TMS has very few side effects while also offering highly effective results. Medications help many people struggling with depression, but they don’t work for everyone. Having an option like TMS is incredibly valuable in helping those people finally find relief.
Psychotherapy (also known as “talk therapy” or just “therapy”) can help people change their thinking and behavior patterns, build effective coping strategies, and set and maintain healthy boundaries. TMS doesn’t necessarily replace the need for therapy as therapy is often a great addition to any mental health treatment plan.
If you’ve tried medications or psychotherapy and found them lacking, TMS offers a different approach. The big advantage here is that it’s non-invasive and generally has fewer side effects than medications. However, TMS treatments often require frequent visits to a TMS clinic. A typical course of treatment usually consists of receiving 20-minute long TMS sessions five days a week, which could be a downside for some.
Who is Eligible for TMS?
Eligibility for TMS varies from person to person. General guidelines often include being over 18, being diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, and being in relatively good physical health.
Now, there are a few situations where TMS may not be appropriate. If you have metal implants in your head, a pacemaker, or a history of seizures, are pregnant, or have other medical conditions, TMS might not be the best option for you. It’s essential to consult with a mental health professional for a comprehensive assessment.
TMS is particularly effective for certain types of depression—those that haven’t responded well to medications, for example. However, it’s also showing promise for treating anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions. Again, your healthcare provider can offer the best advice tailored for you.
What Does the Science Say? A Look at Effectiveness
The Effectiveness of TMS
Numerous scientific studies show that TMS can be highly effective, particularly for depression. While individual experiences vary, the success rate is generally higher than or comparable to other forms of treatment. In fact, 70% of our patients at Mindful Health Solutions find TMS to be an effective treatment option for them.
One of the beautiful aspects of TMS is its potential for long-lasting effects. Many patients experience relief for extended periods after completing a TMS treatment cycle. However, some may require occasional maintenance sessions.
Potential Side Effects
No treatment is without its drawbacks, and TMS is no exception. The most common side effects include headaches, fatigue or sleepiness, lightheadedness, and scalp discomfort. Some people might also experience twitching or tingling in their facial muscles. These side effects are short-term and usually only last for an hour or two after treatment. They also usually improve within a week or two as your body gets used to the treatment. However, it’s always good to stay informed and consult your healthcare provider about any concerns.
Real people have found real relief through TMS. Many patients who have undergone TMS treatment for depression have reported positive experiences. Patients have reported improvements in their mood and overall quality of life. Additionally, many patients appreciate the non-invasive nature of the treatment and the fact that there are few side effects.
Watch the video below to learn about one of our past patient’s experience with TMS treatment.
Cost and Insurance
Treatment costs can be a significant concern, but the good news is that more and more insurance providers are beginning to cover TMS treatment. It’s essential to check your specific plan and consult your healthcare provider about potential payment plans or financial assistance programs. You can also explore our insurance page or give our Intake Team a call at (844) 867-8444 and they will confirm your insurance eligibility.
So, is TMS for you? If you’re someone who hasn’t found relief from traditional treatment methods, it might very well be. Remember, your journey to better mental health is your own, and it’s okay to explore the paths less traveled. Give us a call today at (844) 867-8444 to schedule a consultation and see if TMS could be an option for you. Remember, you’re not alone, and there’s always hope for a brighter tomorrow.