Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a depression treatment that can be used alone or in conjunction with medication, psychotherapy, or other therapies. TMS is best suited for patients who have struggled with depression and have not experienced relief from antidepressants, or those who have not been able to take antidepressants due to intolerable side effects. The fact is that every patient is different, and a personalized treatment plan needs to be developed in order to effectively deal with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
What Is MDD?
MDD refers to a mood disorder that causes persistent loss of interest in daily activities, sadness, fatigue, and other emotional and physical problems. It affects children and adults and sometimes goes undiagnosed and untreated.
For people coping with MDD symptoms, it is often best to consult with a doctor, who can then perform a physical exam, lab tests, a psychological evaluation, and other assessments to determine whether or not there is a diagnosis of MDD. In the event of an MDD diagnosis, initial treatment may include antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or both. In certain instances, TMS may also be recommended, either in conjunction with other depression therapies or on its own.
What Is TMS?
TMS is a noninvasive form of depression therapy that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate neural activity in the portion of the brain involved with depression and mood control.
During a TMS treatment session, an electromagnetic coil is placed on the patient’s head, over a patient’s left temple. The coil delivers magnetic pulses to the brain to stimulate cortical neurons, helping to reduce depression symptoms and improve mood. The magnetic pulses also help activate areas of the brain with decreased activity that may contribute to depression.
Why Is TMS Performed on MDD Patients?
For patients dealing with MDD, TMS offers a substitute or complementary depression treatment.
If an MDD patient does not respond to medication or finds that medication causes nausea, sleeplessness, and other intolerable side effects, TMS may provide an alternative depression therapy. In the instance where an MDD patient discovers that medication is only somewhat effective at managing symptoms, TMS may be used to improve depression symptoms.
TMS may also be performed if an MDD patient is using psychotherapy to develop and implement strategies to cope with depression symptoms. In the aforementioned scenario, the combination of TMS and psychotherapy — with or without medication — may help an MDD patient improve their depression symptoms.
How to Identify the Ideal Candidate for TMS
Like any depression treatment, there is no guarantee that an MDD patient will benefit from TMS. To find out if an MDD patient qualifies for TMS, one must meet with a doctor. This allows an MDD patient to explore TMS and other therapies, then determine the best course of action to help manage depression symptoms.
At Achieve TMS, we offer a complimentary consultation process to find out if an MDD patient is the ideal candidate for TMS. First, a practicing Achieve TMS physician conducts an in-depth review of the patient’s depression symptoms and history. We then offer personalized depression treatment recommendations for the patient.
If we believe an MDD patient is the ideal candidate for TMS, we provide a custom TMS therapy program. If an MDD patient does not qualify for TMS, we offer alternate depression therapy options. We also sometimes recommend the use of TMS with medication, psychotherapy, or other depression therapies.
Reasons Why an MDD Patient May Not Qualify for TMS
TMS is generally considered to be a safe and well-tolerated treatment for depression, but there are instances in which an MDD patient might not qualify for this treatment.
If a doctor performs a physical exam and believes that TMS poses a physical risk to an MDD patient, this form of depression therapy will not be recommended. In addition, if a psychiatric evaluation is completed, and it is believed that TMS is not the best option to help an MDD patient cope with depression symptoms, other therapy options will be explored.
Other reasons why TMS may not be recommended include if an MDD patient has any implanted medical devices or metal in the body, has a history of seizures, is coping with frequent or serious headaches, or has brain damage from a prior illness or injury.
Finally, if an MDD patient previously underwent TMS but found that the treatment was ineffective, additional consultation with a doctor may be required to help determine if the patient could benefit from it.
Is TMS Right for You?
If you are considering TMS to help manage major depressive disorder symptoms, meet with a doctor. This allows you to review different therapies and find one or more to help you cope with depression.
With a treatment plan in place, you can move one step closer to managing your MDD symptoms. But if you discover that your treatment plan does not deliver the desired results, it may be beneficial to consider TMS. At this point, you can set up a consultation with Achieve TMS to learn about the treatment and find out if you qualify for it.
If our physicians believe that TMS can be safely and effectively performed to help you manage your MDD symptoms, they will provide a treatment plan. A typical TMS treatment consists of six weeks of therapy sessions, with five sessions per week performed once a day, and each session lasting approximately 20 minutes. Comparatively, if we believe TMS is not the ideal option to help you cope with major depressive disorder, we’ll offer insights into different therapy options that can be helpful.
Identifying the right depression therapy can be difficult, but Achieve TMS is happy to help you in any way possible. To receive more information about TMS or find out if you qualify for this form of depression treatment, please contact us online, or call or text us today at 877-296-4968.