TMS Therapy for Depression
There is no single known cause of depression. Leading scientific theory suggests that depression is likely the result of a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental and psychological factors. While pharmacological treatment (antidepressant medications) are effective for many patients, they do not work for everyone, may only provide limited relief of depressive symptoms or can lead to significant side effects. TMS Therapy is a safe, proven effective, non-invasive, non-pharmacological treatment for depression. Click here for a video on patient experience with TMS.
What Is TMS Therapy?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy is a breakthrough non-pharmacological treatment for patients who continue to experience depressive symptoms despite therapy and anti-depressant treatment or those who are unable to tolerate anti-depressant medications because of the side effects they experienced. TMS has been shown to produce changes in neuronal activity in regions of the brain implicated in mood regulation, such as the prefrontal cortex. As each magnetic pulse passes through the skull and into the brain, this induces brief activity of brain cells underlying the treatment coil.
Neurostar® TMS Therapy is an FDA-cleared device and TMS therapy has been proven safe and effective in over 20 years of research on the treatment of depression.
What happens during TMS Therapy?
TMS Therapy is done on an outpatient basis by prescription only and under the supervision of a psychiatrist. During treatment, the patient is awake and seated in a comfortable chair. A device, about the size of a cupped hand, rests lightly on the head and delivers a series of targeted magnetic pulses that stimulate the part of the brain involved with regulation of mood. Treatment is typically administered five days a week for four to six weeks. Patients are awake and alert during treatments and may return to their daily routine immediately afterwards. The duration of treatment varies between 20-40 minutes and is determined on the first day of treatment.
Listen to multiple patients briefly describe their experience with TMS.
NeuroStar – Transforming Lives
The videos below provide more details about how TMS has addressed depression in two individuals.
Patient Story – Todd
Patient Story – Carol
What Are The Side Effects?
TMS is well-tolerated and associated with few side-effects and only a small percentage of patients discontinue treatment because of these. The most common side-effect, which is reported in about half of patients treated with TMS, is headaches. These are mild and generally diminish over the course of the treatment. Over-the-counter pain medication can be used to treat these headaches.
About one third of patients may experience painful scalp sensations or facial twitching with TMS pulses. These too tend to diminish over the course of treatment although adjustments can be made immediately in coil positioning and stimulation settings to reduce discomfort.
The TMS machine produces a loud noise and because of this earplugs or headphones are given to the patient to use during the treatment. However, some patients may still complain of hearing problems immediately following treatment. No evidence suggests these effects are permanent if earplugs are worn during the treatment.
TMS has not been associated with many of the side-effects caused by antidepressant medications, such as gastrointestinal upset, dry mouth, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, or sedation.
The most serious risk of TMS is seizures. However, the risk of a seizure is exceedingly low.
Is TMS Therapy Right For You?
If you are a patient suffering from depression who has not had satisfactory results from standard antidepressant medication trials and therapy, TMS Therapy may be able to help.
If you agree with two or more of these statements, ask your behavioral health provider about TMS Therapy:
- Depression symptoms continue to interfere with my daily life.
- I am not satisfied with the results I get from depression medication.
- I have had, or have worried about, side effects from depression medications.
- I have had to switch medications for depression due to side effects.
- I am interested in a proven, non-pharmacological therapy for depression.Click here for a downloadable brochure about our TMS Program
Health Plan Coverage?
TMS is a covered benefit by Medicare and most health plans subject to medical necessity policies and prior authorization. After an initial consultation with our TMS certified psychiatrist our staff will seek prior authorization approval for any patients for whom TMS is deemed clinically appropriate.