Depression can be debilitating and discouraging to deal with, especially for those that find traditional treatments like talk therapy and antidepressant medications aren’t giving them the results that they want and need in order to live happy, healthy lives. However, there is hope! TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment, has been shown to be helpful on depression, especially in cases of treatment resistant depression.
Here at the TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley, we offer TMS treatment that helps our patients start feeling better again. If this is your first time experiencing or considering TMS treatment, you might be wondering what to expect! Here’s a breakdown of a typical patient’s treatment to help you understand what will happen.
Before you start undergoing any actual treatment at our center, we’ll conduct an initial consultation with you. In this meeting, we get a sense of your history with depression and mental health issues, including when it started, how intense it’s been, and what other treatments you’ve tried. This is all to determine if TMS will be the best treatment option for you! Once we’ve decided to begin, we’ll schedule your treatment sessions to start right away.
A typical treatment course for TMS will involve you coming in about five days a week for a period of about four to six weeks, with each treatment session lasting approximately 37 minutes. However, this can all vary depending on your history and how you respond to TMS treatment.
How Does TMS Work?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation does exactly what the name suggests– it uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific areas of your brain, helping to increase the production of chemicals that improve your mood and fight depression. This treatment uses the same type of magnetic coil that’s found in an MRI machine, and the magnetic field reaches about two to three centimeters into the brain to stimulate areas of the left prefrontal cortex. There, the magnetic field stimulates the electrical reactions in your brain that produce chemicals like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. There’s a strong correlation between unbalanced levels of these chemicals and depression, so stimulating their production helps to treat depression!
What is TMS Like?
During each TMS treatment session, we’ll set you up in a chair with the mechanism containing the TMS coil positioned against your head. You’ll be awake and alert throughout the entire session, and lots of our patients like to watch TV or listen to music during it! The magnetic stimulation will not be painful– it makes a loud clicking noise and feels a bit like a tapping on the scalp. At most, it might be mildly uncomfortable. TMS does have some potential side effects, including headaches and discomfort at the treatment site, but you will still be able to drive directly after sessions and function as normal.
For those who are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to their depression, TMS treatment can be exactly what they need. If you’re interested in learning more or you have any more questions, please feel free to contact us! One of our team members will be happy to help you.