Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a recognized, non-surgical technique that uses magnetic fields to target and stimulate particular brain neurons. It has shown effectiveness in alleviating symptoms of multiple mental health disorders, particularly major depression, and presents several advantages for consideration.

At Telapsychiatry, TMS is one of the diverse therapeutic approaches we evaluate while devising an all-encompassing treatment strategy to support your mental health challenges.

Understanding Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-surgical brain stimulation technique. It employs electromagnetic pulses to activate nerve cells, which may aid in alleviating symptoms of neurological or mental health conditions. 

While TMS is mainly utilized for treating major depressive disorder (MDD), it has also demonstrated potential benefits in other conditions such as anxiety and Parkinson's disease.

What is TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation therapy. It uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells, potentially improving neurological or mental health disorder symptoms.

TMS is primarily used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), but it has also shown promising results for other disorders, like anxiety and Parkinson's disease.

How TMS Works

During a TMS procedure, an electromagnetic coil is positioned near your scalp. This coil generates magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells in the brain area responsible for mood regulation and depression. TMS is believed to activate brain regions with reduced activity in depression. 

The principle of TMS is based on the concept that magnetic fields can modify the activity in the motor cortex, which is the brain region responsible for voluntary movements.

This outpatient procedure, typically lasting 20-40 minutes per session, is carried out in a medical clinic without needing an overnight stay. 

Generally recommended five days a week for 4 to 6 weeks, the total number of treatments varies based on your response.

Advantages of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS has achieved notable success in treating patients with a variety of mental health issues, especially those who haven't responded to traditional therapies. 

Its advantages include minimal side effects compared to pharmacological treatments, and the ability to target specific areas of the brain associated with mood regulation, potentially leading to effective symptom relief.

TMS in Treating Depression

TMS is mainly used in the management of major depressive disorder (MDD). It is suggested if you have not experienced improvement with medication and psychotherapy, a condition often referred to as treatment-resistant depression.

TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain, specifically targeting areas involved in mood control. This non-invasive procedure can help to alleviate depressive symptoms by activating parts of the brain that are underactive in depression. 

Studies have shown that TMS can lead to significant improvements in mood for people with depression, offering a promising alternative for those who haven't found success with traditional treatments.

Additional Uses in Mental Health Treatment

Beyond its success in managing depression, TMS is also emerging as a potential treatment for other mental health conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is when people have ongoing thoughts and behaviors that they can't control, making life more difficult. In 2020, TMS was FDA-approved for helping people with OCD. 

Research shows that a specific part of the brain might be linked to OCD. TMS can be a good option for treating OCD, especially when treatments like talk therapy or medicine don't work well.

TMS Smoking Cessation

Brainsway has developed a Deep TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) device featuring patented H-coil technology. Currently, it's the only TMS device with FDA approval for smoking cessation treatments.

In a large-scale study using diary records, it was observed that participants receiving active TMS treatment smoked significantly fewer cigarettes daily compared to those receiving a sham treatment. 

This trial was the first major multicenter randomized controlled study focusing on TMS for a substance use disorder. The study demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of daily high-frequency rTMS applied to the brain, particularly for reducing the urge to smoke. 

The most common side effect reported was a headache.

Ideal Candidates for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS is often advised for those who haven't had a favorable response to conventional treatments like psychotherapy and medication. It is especially appropriate for those who have encountered adverse effects from antidepressant medications.

Criteria for TMS Treatment

Optimal candidates for TMS include patients who have not seen results from using one or more antidepressants, those who have suffered adverse reactions to antidepressants, or younger patients. TMS may be especially suitable for younger patients, given their higher susceptibility to experiencing negative side effects from antidepressants.

Side Effects of TMS

Despite its benefits for numerous patients, TMS has certain limitations. These include possible side effects such as headaches, dizziness, discomfort in the scalp, and neck pain. 

Moreover, the treatment necessitates regular clinic visits, which might limit its suitability for you.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in Treating Depression

TMS is adept at focusing on brain regions responsible for mood regulation and depression, rendering it an effective method for treating major depressive disorder.

TMS for Depression Unresponsive to Conventional Treatment

TMS shows notable efficacy in managing depression that hasn't responded to traditional treatments. About 50% to 60% of patients with depression who haven't found relief through medication report a clinically significant improvement following TMS therapy.

Sustained Advantages of TMS in Treating Depression

As research advances in understanding the methodologies, optimal session count, and most effective brain stimulation sites, the benefits of TMS for depression may increase. Continued therapies, including medication and psychotherapy, might be advised as a part of long-term management following a course of TMS treatment for depression.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in Mental Health Care

TMS plays a crucial role in the treatment of diverse mental health issues. Its capacity to specifically target areas of the brain contributes to the reduction of symptoms in various mental disorders, thereby improving the life quality of patients.

Treating Anxiety with TMS

TMS might also offer advantages in treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Anxiety often involves heightened neural activity in the prefrontal cortex. TMS has the potential to decrease this activity, thereby aiding in the relief of anxiety symptoms.

Treating PTSD with TMS

TMS has demonstrated its effectiveness in addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By targeting the prefrontal cortex, which plays a crucial role in regulating fear and anxiety responses, TMS can help in reducing the symptoms associated with PTSD.

TMS Treatment with Telapsychiatry

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a groundbreaking, non-surgical technique that has demonstrated efficacy in managing a range of mental health disorders, especially major depression.

We're here to support you through your journey toward improved mental well-being. Call us at 888-903-5505 or schedule an appointment online.

At Telapsychiatry, our commitment is to offer you thorough individualized care that meets your needs.


Is TMS a safe procedure?

TMS is generally deemed safe, though it's not suitable for everyone. It's advisable to refrain from TMS if you have any metal objects in your head, including deep brain stimulators, electrodes, stents in the neck or brain, clips or coils for aneurysms, fragments of shrapnel or bullets, facial tattoos containing metallic ink, metal plates, cochlear implants, or permanent body piercings.

Is TMS associated with any side effects?

Side effects from TMS are rare. Should they arise, possible issues may encompass slight headaches, dizziness, discomfort in the scalp or neck, tingling sensations, facial spasms, drowsiness, and changes in cognitive function during treatment.

What is the required number of TMS sessions?

The usual course of TMS therapy involves four to six weeks of sessions five times a week. Although, the duration of treatment varies based on your response and the nature of your condition.

Who is a good candidate for TMS?

TMS is often advised for patients who have seen limited success with standard treatments like psychotherapy and medication. It is especially appropriate for those who have encountered adverse reactions to antidepressants.

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