You are currently living in what can only be considered as the best time in human history.
Life expectancy is at an all-time high, poverty is steadily declining, and we have everything we could ever need at the touch of a fingertip.
Plus, you know, Netflix?
Yet, despite all this, we are actually facing a pretty serious problem.
Depression is at an all-time high. Although the reason for this increase is yet to be determined in full, we do know one thing for certain – that it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
Which means that we are always on the lookout for effective depression treatments that can cause an immediate impact on your mental health.
Like TMS, for example.
Get answers for:
- What is TMS?
- How does TMS work in the brain?
- How does TMS treat depression?
- How long does TMS take to work?
- Does TMS work for everyone?
- How successful is TMS?
- What are the side effects of TMS?
- Who cannot have TMS?
- Finding TMS near me
What is TMS?
First and foremost, we need to point out that TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.
This unique procedure has been gaining momentum over the years because of its effectiveness in helping treat even severe cases of depression.
TMS is a non-invasive treatment method that delivers repetitive magnetic pulses directly into your brain.
It helps stimulate important nerve cells in your brain which helps improve depressive symptoms.
While this may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, the growing body of evidence clearly showing that it works. In fact, it works so well that TMS is often used in cases when other depression treatments have failed.
How does TMS work in the Brain?
During a single session of TMS, a small electromagnetic coil is placed against your skull, just above your forehead.
When it is turned on, this coil starts to deliver a small magnetic pulse straight into your brain (don’t worry, it is practically painless).
This pulse stimulates nerve cells found in the regions of your brain that control your mood and emotions.
Now, in people with depression, these regions of the brain are typically downregulated. This means that they don’t work as well as they should. However, by upregulating these areas, their function is returned to normal.
How does TMS treat depression?
I have outlined that TMS activates specific areas of the brain that are underactive in people with depression.
I have also mentioned that these areas of the brain are responsible for controlling both your mood and your emotional well-being.
This should give you a little bit of insight into how TMS treats depression.
See, in this manner, TMS reduces stress and increases feelings of emotional well-being. Collectively, these changes elicit an emotional response that makes you feel happier. More importantly, it simultaneously helps you discard any unwarranted depressive feelings in the process.
How long does TMS take to work?
TMS can take a few weeks to a few months depending on the individual. Everyone starts to feel better at different times.
A typical full treatment of TMS treatment involves:
- 1 session, 5 days per week
- sessions last 20 minutes
- total of 4 to 6 weeks
This means that a single treatment can involve somewhere between 20 and 30 individual sessions.
Keep in mind that a single session of TMS will generally last around 20 to 30 minutes, which is not too bad if you think about it – especially considering that the procedure is extremely simple and doesn’t require any medications to go with it.
Now, this treatment methodology is often considered as one of the most effective routines on the planet.
Benefits of the first course can hold for at least 12 months at a minimum. Some people do choose to get follow up treatments that consist of a single week of TMS treatments.
This is thought to help them ‘keep on top of it’ – or so to speak.
Does TMS work for everyone?
Taking all of this into consideration, you might be thinking that TMS sounds like a godsend – that it is almost too good to be true?
Which is why it is very important to note that like every single depression treatment on the planet, it will not work for everyone. TMS has been shown to have a positive effect on about 68% of the patients who try it.
Which means that about 32% don’t respond at all.
However, there is 1 very big caveat here.
See, TMS is almost exclusively reserved for what is known as ‘Treatment-Resistant Depression’.
Treatment-resistant depression essentially describes severe depression that has not responded to any traditional treatment methodologies like cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal and psychodynamic therapy
In short, TMS is reserved for those times when all else has failed.
As a result, we can really consider a 55% strike rate to be extremely effective.
How Successful is TMS?
So, we know that TMS works for about 68% of people suffering from severe treatment-resistant depression – but how long does this effect last?
Well, about 1/3 of the people who respond to TMS go into a lasting state of remission. This means, that for the most part, they are what we would consider treated. As in, they don’t need any more treatments for the time being.
The other two thirds (or 66%, if you feel like getting technical) tend to relapse at somewhere between 12 and 18 months after treatment. This means that there is merit in these individuals getting repeated top-up treatments every 12 months to ensure that they stay on top of their depression symptoms long term.
What are the side effects of TMS?
One of the main reasons that TMS has become so popular this decade is because it doesn’t appear to have any long-term negative effects.
See, some older depression treatments have been shown to impair memory and mental clarity for weeks after a bout of treatment has been completed – but TMS does not.
This alone gives it a pretty big tick of approval. Additionally, as it is non-invasive, it also avoids the negative side effects that come with the sedation associated with other treatments, which is another positive.
However, that isn’t to say that it is completely free of issues. Some common side effects can include:
- Mild headaches
- Scalp itchiness
- Scalp discomfort
It is important to note that these symptoms most commonly get better over the duration of the treatment.
Moreover, in those individuals who do experience scalp discomfort, the coil can be adjusted to a different area of the head, which can also help.
Now compare the side-effects of antidepressants vs TMS and you have yourself a clear winner.
Who cannot have TMS?
While these side effects are indeed minimal, there are also a couple of scenarios in which TMS therapy may not be a good idea.
There have been a few documented seizures occurring during TMS treatment (the incidence is thought to be a mere 0.1% of all treatments). This means that if you have epilepsy or even a history of repeated concussions, you may want to steer clear of TMS.
Additionally, as TMS uses magnetic fields, you cannot use it if you have any metal in your head or neck (with the exception of braces and dental fillings).
This means that if you have any of the following, you may not be able to get TMS:
- Aneurism clips
- A stent
- Deep brain stimulators
- Metallic ear or eye implants
- Shrapnel or fragment of metal
- A pacemaker
As rare as each of these scenarios may be, they still require some consideration.
What if TMS doesn’t work?
If you have tried TMS and happen to be one of the 45% who did not respond, I want you to know that it is certainly is not the last treatment option available.
When it comes to depression, there are a myriad of treatment options out there, and it often comes down to finding the right one that works for you on a n individual level. Some of the most effective ways to help you fight depression include:
Making sure you get adequate sleep
Supplementing with SAMe
Using light therapy
Trying cognitive behavioral therapy
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
The key thing here is to never give up – just because TMS didn’t provide you with the answer you were looking for, does not mean that it isn’t out there.
You just have to find it.
Finding TMS therapy near me
Fortunately, TMS therapy is fast becoming one of the most sought-after depression treatments on the planet.
This means that there are TMS clinics all over the country.
At Success TMS, we provide TMS in:
But all you need to do is a quick google search to find TMS in your area.
The thing you want to make sure of is that the company you choose is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that their equipment adheres to very strict guidelines, which ensures both their safety and their effectiveness.
In modern-day we are overloaded by unique types of stress that no one in human history has ever dealt with before – and the result?
A rapidly increasing incidence of depression.
But the thing to remember is that depression is not a death sentence. In fact, there are a number of seriously effective depression treatments out there – and TMS is arguably one of the most effective.
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