WHAT IS TMS THERAPY? AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS Therapy is the first and only FDA- approved treatment for depression that does not require medication or surgery. In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Association approved TMS as a treatment for patients with major depression who have not responded to antidepressant medication.
TMS Therapy uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate the areas of the brain that are thought to function abnormally in people with depression. The magnetic fields produce very small electrical currents that activate cells within the brain. The changes that take place in the brain during TMS affect brain function and chemical activity, effectively “jump-starting” mood regulation structures in the brain, resulting in dramatic improvements in depressed people.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A TMS PROCEDURE?
During a TMS treatment you are seated and reclined in a comfortable chair and you remain fully awake and alert. The TMS technician rests the magnetic coil over the appropriate area of the scalp and your treatment will begin. A typical treatment lasts 37 minutes, during which you will feel a series of taps on your scalp. There are no new medications involved in a TMS treatment, though you and your doctor may decide to continue the ones you were regularly taking before you started TMS Therapy.
WHEN IS TMS USED?
Antidepressant medications and psychotherapy are often the first line treatments used to treat major depression. These treatments, however, do not work for all people and all cases of depression. People who have failed to achieve adequate response from antidepressants, or who are unable to tolerate the side effects of medication, might consider TMS Therapy as a viable treatment option.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET BETTER WITH TMS?
People are most successful in treating their depression with TMS Therapy when they undergo treatments for a total of six weeks. A typical course of TMS Therapy consists of five sessions per week over the six-week period for a total of 30 treatments. Generally, most people begin to notice significant improvements in their depression by the end their third week of treatment.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF TMS?
TMS Therapy is extremely well tolerated and associated with very few side effects. The most commonly reported side effect related to TMS was scalp pain or
discomfort during the treatment session. This side effect was generally mild to moderate, and occurred less frequently after the first week of treatment. Less than 5% of patients treated with TMS Therapy discontinued treatment due to side effects. Throughout the NeuroStar TMS Therapy studies, more than 10,000 active TMS
treatments were safely performed. There were no “body system” side effects, such as sedation, nausea, or dry mouth, no adverse effects on concentration or memory,
no seizures, no interactions with medications. Fewer than 5 percent of the subjects enrolled in the TMS clinical trials dropped out due to adverse events, reflecting a
high degree of tolerability of TMS compared with antidepressant medications.
WILL TMS DISRUPT OTHER AREAS OR BRAIN FUNCTIONING OR MY PERSONALITY?
One of the benefits of TMS, relative to other depression treatments, is the accuracy it achieves in working on the desired brain region, or “target”. TMS allows clinicians
to target very specific parts of the brain, leaving others alone. TMS does not lead to memory difficulties or other impairments in thinking. It does not change a person’s
personality, though when people experience relief from their depression their ability to think and function improve significantly.
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF I AM A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR TMS THERAPY?
If you feel TMS Therapy may help you or a loved one who is suffering from depression call TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley at 610-820- 0700 or visit our
website at www.tmslv.com. We can schedule a consultation appointment with a psychiatrist who will determine if TMS Therapy is a good treatment option for you.
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