TMS is a safe, effective and FDA approved treatment for Depression. It is a form of brain stimulation that does not have the same systemic effects typically seen with medications. It’s non-invasive and medication free. TMS is performed in an outpatient office with twenty-minute treatments that occur five days a week for several weeks. TMS has been utilized since 2008 and is covered by most insurances.
TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation)
The TMS devices operate completely outside of the body and affect central nervous system activity by applying powerful magnetic fields to specific areas of the brain that cause depression. TMS effects neural plasticity and ultimately reshapes communication paths among neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the brain target, with the greatest evidence of clinical effectiveness and an area known to be deeply involved in depression. The most common side effect is headache during or after treatment or possible transient tingling at the site of stimulation. Both of which can be relieved with over-the-counter medication. Plus, treatment does not require anesthesia of any kind and you can drive home after.
While there are many effective treatments for depression, first-line approaches, such as antidepressants and psychotherapy, do not work for everyone. Why? Common reasons can include side effects, intolerance to medicine such as tiredness or quite simply, there is no therapeutic response from medicine(s). Clinical trials suggest 12-31% of all people who take medicine will be treatment resistant or have no response.
The average length of response is a little more than one year. About one-third of individuals who receive TMS experience a full remission, which means their depressive symptoms go away completely. Though, it remains important to acknowledge that while encouraging, these results may not be permanent and booster treatment may be needed in some individuals.
TMS is an incredibly powerful tool for treatment resistant depression. Approximately 50% to 65% of people with depression who have tried and failed to receive benefit from medications, experience a clinically meaningful response with TMS.