Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders and the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting nearly 5% of the global population.
This silent disease can impact an individual’s career, personal life, relationships, daily responsibilities, and overall health and well-being. Those battling depression can experience a low, depressed mood, loss of interest in things they once loved, low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
While there are currently many treatments for depression, treatment options aren’t necessarily a one size fits all approach, and many treatment options have a band-aid approach.
What may help with one person’s symptoms may not work for another, and when medication (SSRIs) is often the first course of treatment for depression and other mood disorders, some individuals may find the long list of side effects that come with traditional antidepressants outweigh the potential benefits, they don’t work for them, or their symptoms return once they stop taking the medication.
A recent study found common medications used for depression only had a 27.5% success rate making it difficult for some to find a treatment that actually works.
For those that don’t want to be tied to a medication to be happy, find their current treatment plan isn’t working, or who prefer an alternative therapy for depression that doesn’t require any medication, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) just might be a game changer.
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy?
TMS is a non-invasive therapy that’s proven to be effective for treating various mental health conditions including depression, changing the way we treat depression.
TMS therapy is a safe alternative to medications, has virtually zero side effects, and has been shown to have long-lasting results, even after the treatment is completed. Gentle magnetic pulses are used to stimulate parts of the brain that are underactive in those experiencing symptoms of depression, ultimately changing the way we respond to stress or difficult situations that may otherwise contribute to mental health problems.
During TMS therapy, you can sit comfortably reading, listening to music, or watching TV. You may feel a light tapping sensation during the treatment, however, it is pain-free. Each session lasts between 20-40 minutes, depending on your individualized treatment plan.
TMS providers like TMS & Brain Health create customized treatment plans based on your own unique needs and mental health concerns.
During the treatment, your progress is regularly monitored and your provider will adjust your treatment based on your results, ultimately increasing the effectiveness and success of the overall treatment. The typical treatment for TMS therapy consists of 5 sessions a week for 6 weeks. However, a new protocol for Accelerated TMS can be completed in just one week, with 10 sessions per day for 5 days.
Many TMS therapy users report significant improvements and reduced depression symptoms within the first week of general TMS therapy, while traditional antidepressants can take up to two months to begin working.
Is TMS Safe?
TMS is an FDA-approved therapy with a very low risk of side effects, especially when compared to traditional antidepressant medications.
This form of therapy is non-surgical and doesn’t require any anesthesia, allowing you to drive to and from your appointments on your own.
Some individuals experience mild headaches after treatment which subside shortly after. However, if you have metal implants near your head, have a pacemaker, or live with epilepsy TMS may not be right for you. Contact a TMS clinic to find out if you’re a good candidate for TMS therapy.
Besides treating treatment-resistant depression, TMS has also shown promising results in treating a variety of other mental health concerns including anxiety, OCD, and PTSD as well as chronic pain and addiction.