Exploring Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy for Depression
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive therapy option for treating depression when psychotherapy and antidepressants do not work. TMS therapy is also an option for those who prefer a medication-free treatment. It is a treatment that allows for minimal discomfort, no side effects, and no drugs. Learning about what TMS can do for you may just help you take the next step in healing.
Symptoms and Treatment of Depression
Depression is a mood disorder that can affect anyone, varies in severity, and can make life very difficult for those who suffer. Symptoms of depression can include debilitating sadness and anxiety, loss of appetite, depressed mood, disruptive sleep patterns, and a loss of interest in usual daily activities. Depression is commonly treated with medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), atypical antidepressants, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
However, medication does not work for everybody. It can be discouraging and tiring to try medication after medication, with little results. If this is the case, TMS may work for you. TMS is a treatment option for those who have tried various anti-depressants and seen unsatisfactory results or even for individuals who prefer a non-medicated treatment approach.
Causes of Depression
According to Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, "there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems." Several of these forces can interact for depression to surface. Traumatic life-changing events, abuse, illnesses, and the loss of a loved one can cause distress, and certain medications can have side effects that cause symptoms of depression.
An imbalance of brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, can contribute to a person's depression. Nerve cells in the brain use neurotransmitters as a way to communicate with one another and regulate mood. Antidepressants are used to increase the availability of these chemicals in the brain, but each person's experience with depression is different. This means that not everyone experiences a positive result.
If left untreated, a person who suffers from depression or other mental health complications might turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with symptoms. Using substances to self-medicate can put a person at high risk of developing substance use disorder. When a person misuses drugs or alcohol, they increase the risk of severe health complications, such as heart disease, liver failure, lung disease, stroke, overdose, and early death. It can also intensify symptoms of depression.
How TMS Therapy Works for Depression
TMS is a non-invasive therapy that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. TMS is used when medication, psychotherapy, and other depression treatments have not been effective. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared TMS therapy to help patients dealing with treatment-resistant depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a common, chronic, long-lasting disorder. OCD makes a person have uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and behaviors that the person repeats over and over. Usually, OCD is treated with medication and psychotherapy, which sometimes does not work for everyone. TMS is a safe alternative to treating OCD.
TMS can be performed on an outpatient basis and does not require anesthesia, surgery, or implantation of electrodes. Unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), TMS does not cause seizures or require sedation with anesthesia. Side effects are minor and improve shortly after a session. According to the Mayo Clinic, side effects include headache, scalp discomfort, tingling and spasms of facial muscles, and lightheadedness. TMS treatment delivers mild magnetic pulses that can increase neurotransmitter function in the brain, relieving depression symptoms.
In TMS therapy, a magnetic coil in a helmet is placed on a patient's head, and the machine generates a magnetic field through the coil, which creates a current. This current then passes through the skull and affects neuron activity in the brain responsible for regulating mood. TMS therapy is effective, safe, non-invasive, and provides long-term relief for some patients.
TMS Therapy is Available
TMS therapy is available at Achieve Medical Center. It usually involves five treatment sessions per week over a four to six-week period. Each session takes approximately 20 minutes. Patients experience minimal discomfort and can go back to work, school, or other daily activities after each session.
There are numerous benefits to TMS therapy. It does not require anesthesia or electric shocks, and there are no side effects, such as weight loss or gain, dry mouth, or nausea. Treatment is medication-free, so it does not involve antidepressants or other medications that can have side effects.
Depression can be incapacitating and challenging to manage. It disrupts daily activities and can make a person feel hopeless. The symptoms of depression can be devastating for family and friends as they watch their loved ones plunge deeper into despair. Severe depression can make a person inflict self-harm or feel suicidal. Luckily, there is help available for depression, and TMS therapy can work for you. Do not let another day go by while you suffer in silence. You deserve to live a happy, enjoyable, fulfilling life without symptoms of depression. If you or a loved one is suffering from symptoms of depression, get help today.
TMS therapy is a safe alternative to treating depression in patients where medication may not be working or for people who wish to take a non-medicated approach to treatment. It does not require medication and produces minimal side effects. TMS is a non-invasive therapy that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. It can be performed on an outpatient basis and does not require anesthesia, surgery, or implantation of electrodes. At Achieve Medical, we help you identify strategies to help you manage symptoms of depression so you can live a happy, healthy, and meaningful life. We provide individualized support to help you cope with the symptoms of depression, OCD, and other mental health conditions. We deliver a personalized plan tailored to your needs, so you can achieve total wellness that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit for total wellness. We offer same-day appointments in person, as well as telemedicine appointments. For more information on if TMS may be the right treatment for you, call Achieve Medical today at (619) 375-3977.