If you are suffering from depression, TMS treatments can help you alleviate those feelings of helplessness and despair. With the use of magnetic fields to energize and stimulate neurons in your brain, dTMS treatment lessens the symptoms that come with depression. Is TMS therapy painful? This method of brain stimulation is localized and painless, with no adverse side effects. The magnetic pulses generated by TMS depolarize neurons, transform neural networks, and stimulate the release of neurotransmitters in hypo or under-active regions of the brain.
What to Expect in dTMS Treatment
At Achieve TMS Centers, we’ve been performing TMS treatment since it was first FDA-cleared in the US. Our experience and success have positioned us as a leader in the field. Due to our patients’ positive results and low discontinuation rate, we are continuously expanding and opening new centers to help more patients throughout the US.
A dTMS treatment session lasts about 20 minutes. Typically, you’ll receive a treatment session five days a week for six weeks. Here’s what you can expect to happen when you initially contact us for help managing and overcoming your depression:
Step 1 – Free Consultation
All patients who are interested in dTMS treatment can elect to attend a free consultation at one of our centers. Our intake team will answer any of your questions about treatment, as well as schedule you for the consultation. At your consultation, you will have the opportunity to see the treatment room and have any additional questions about treatment answered. At this time, we will gather your past medical history and a list of medication trials. We will also obtain information about your insurance provider so that we can complete a courtesy benefits check after the consultation.
Step 2 – Evaluation with our Psychiatrist
After your consultation, our office will schedule you for an Evaluation with our TMS psychiatrist. If you are using insurance, then someone from our intake team will go over your benefits as well.
At the evaluation, you will talk with one of our psychiatrists about your depression, your symptoms, and your past treatments. You and the doctor will collaborate and discuss if dTMS is the right choice. If dTMS is determined to be a good treatment option, our intake team will contact your insurance to request prior authorization for treatment, if necessary.
Step 3 – Cortical Mapping
After being approved for TMS, the intake team will schedule your Cortical Mapping. Your TMS psychiatrist and TMS technician will both be at this appointment. The psychiatrist will determine the exact location in the brain (cerebral cortex) for subsequent treatment.
Step 4 – Setting up Treatment
When it’s time for your first dTMS treatment, you’ll go into a treatment room in one of our centers and be seated in a comfortable chair next to the dTMS machine (pictured below). We want you to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible during treatment.
The setup in the room consists of a:
- Computer to regulate the duration of the magnetic pulses.
- Machine that creates the magnetic bursts.
- “Helmet” that holds the H-coils that deliver the magnetic pulses.
- Soft cap and helmet that holds the H-coils in place.
Step 5 – Magnetic Targeting
Once seated, a soft cap will be placed on your head (see the photo below). Next, the therapist will use a flexible tape measure to find the location in your brain that should be targeted by the magnetic bursts.
Step 6 – Beginning of Treatment
We supply you with earplugs to diminish the noise made by the machine, which works similarly to an MRI. Then, the helmet of the machine will be lowered on your head until the coils are situated just above your scalp. The technician will move it into the proper position on your head to ensure the magnetic pulses are directed at the correct area.
Step 7 – Treatment
Once everything is in position, you’ll be able to listen to music or watch TV as treatment begins. You might hear a tapping sound and perhaps even feel as if someone’s tapping gently on your head. We deliver the magnetic pulses, called trains, in short bursts. A typical dTMS session lasts approximately 20 minutes.
Step 8 – Completion of Treatment
Once all the trains are provided, we’ll take off the cap and the helmet, and you’re able to go home or back to work. That’s it. There’s no need for sedation or a driver to help you get home. You immediately resume your daily life.
You might have a slight headache or scalp irritation, but most people don’t. And if they do, it’s mild and doesn’t usually last beyond the first treatment.
Subsequent dTMS treatments
You don’t need the mapping before every dTMS treatment. However, we will map a few times more during the six-week period to make sure that you’re getting the greatest benefit possible through the pulse trains.
What makes dTMS treatment different?
dTMS has been shown to offer more benefit to patients because allows the magnetic pulses to reach deeper into the brain, enabling a wider reach of neurons. This reach translates into a far better chance of stimulating the right target.
dTMS treatment can be a beacon of hope that shines a light on the weight and darkness of your daily battle with depression.
How do you know dTMS is working?
Manish Sheth MD, a board-certified psychiatrist at Achieve TMS, outlines what you might expect once treatments have started:
- An improvement in sleep, often in the first week.
- The ability to concentrate better, often as early as the second week.
- Depression symptoms lessen.
- After four to five weeks, many people start to feel between 70% to 80% “more normal.”
- At six weeks, many find that most of their symptoms have disappeared.
Alleviate the symptoms of depression and “feel normal” again with dTMS treatment
Large independent studies have demonstrated a 75% response rate (30% lessening of symptoms) with an almost 50% remission rate (disappearance of symptoms).
Achieve TMS has been helping people with mental health concerns for 20 years. Our staff of board-certified psychiatrists, neurophysiologists, naturopathic doctors, and trained TMS technicians ensure that each patient receives the highest level of care at every dTMS session.
We work in collaboration with your physicians, psychiatrists, and other therapists to provide a comprehensive treatment plan. Call us today for more information about this exciting new therapy for MDD.