TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, is a clinically-proven form of brain stimulation that can be used to relieve symptoms of depression, when other treatments, such as medication or psychotherapy, prove unsuccessful. It is a non-invasive and painless treatment that you can learn more about below.
Antidepressant medications and psychotherapy are usually the first line of treatment for major depressive disorder, however, they do not work for every patient. In these situations, TMS may be considered as an alternative treatment or may be used alongside conventional treatments to improve effectiveness. Most insurance companies will approve treatment for severe depression. TMS has also been found to be effective in the treatment of other mental health conditions such as anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. TMS has also been used successfully for individuals wishing to enhance brain function or give up smoking – these treatments are available but are not always approved by insurance companies.
How Does TMS Therapy Work?
TMS therapy is an FDA-approved treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. The treatment involves a magnetic paddle near the forehead, which delivers short, harmless pulses of energy to the area of the brain responsible for mood regulation and decision-making – the prefrontal cortex. Depression and some other mental health conditions are thought to decrease nerve cell activity, and the pulses of magnetic energy from TMS activate nerve cell activity, resulting in an improvement in symptoms.
TMS therapy requires a course of sessions to work effectively, and it can provide patients with long-term results, minimizing the need for other treatments.
What to Expect from Treatment
Before you start TMS Treatment, you will have an initial consultation with your provider. This is to check if you are a suitable candidate for treatment, devise an appropriate treatment plan, and to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
If you are planning to use insurance, authorization will need to be obtained, which may take 1-3 weeks. Once approved, treatment can begin.
First TMS Session
At the first therapy session, your provider will need to identify the best place to position the magnets, and the right dose of magnetic energy for you. This is known as the mapping part of the process. The magnetic pulses create a brief tapping or clicking sound and a tapping sensation on the forehead.
To ensure the effectiveness of treatment, a series of TMS sessions are required, which are usually carried out daily, five times per week for about six weeks, but this may vary depending on your response to treatment. While it is best to be consistent with daily treatments, there is evidence to suggest that the clinical outcomes are similar in those individuals that need to miss the occasional day of treatment, giving some flexibility for life and illness if those come up.
What to Expect During Treatment Sessions?
Your provider will place the TMS device in the correct position near your head, as per your customized treatment plan. During treatment, you will hear a clicking sound and feel a slight tapping sensation on your head. Appointments usually last 15-20 minutes. The treatment is non-invasive, and you should not experience any pain. If you feel discomfort, let your provider know right away. Your progress, tolerance, and mood will be evaluated every session.
You will meet with your provider regularly to review your progress and make any adjustments to the treatment protocol. Every session you’ll work with the technician on any needs, and concerns, as well as setting intentions for your end goals.
What You Can Expect After TMS Treatment
There is no downtime required after TMS treatment sessions, and you will be able to go about your usual daily activities straight after treatment.
For a majority of patients, TMS is a highly-effective treatment with a lasting effect. Often, people find that their symptoms improve or go away completely within a few weeks of treatment.
Your provider will schedule a visit with you after treatment is completed and will also check in with you periodically in the year after treatment to see how you are doing. Some individuals may benefit from repeated TMS treatments in the future if they experience episodes of symptoms, known as re-induction.
Is TMS Therapy Safe?
TMS is an FDA-approved therapy. It is non-invasive and painless, and unlike other treatments, it doesn’t use electrical stimulation or radiation. It also doesn’t affect cognitive functioning, such as memory.
It is regarded as a safe procedure, and side effects of TMS therapy are rare. There are reports of minor scalp discomfort, tingling, or headaches during treatment, but this is uncommon and symptoms typically improve quickly after treatment. Adverse effects of TMS, such as fainting or seizures are very rare.
TMS Treatment in Denver and Lakewood, CO
If you would like to find out more about TMS therapy, and whether it could benefit you, contact Denver Wellness Associates. Our highly-trained, board-certified physicians provide comprehensive care and a range of innovative and proven treatments, including TMS therapy, to ensure the best results and to improve patient well-being and quality of life.
You can contact us at (720) 724-3668, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or request your appointment online. We have two convenient office locations to serve you, in Lakewood and Denver, Colorado.