4 Reasons to Consider Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a therapy that may help with your depression. Learn more about it.

Depression can sometimes feel stubbornly resistant to treatment. Maybe you’ve already tried several first-line antidepressants and haven’t gotten the expected relief. Are you at the end of the line as far as options for treatment are concerned?

Fortunately, the answer is no. Many available treatments can provide relief from your symptoms. One of them that you may feel unfamiliar with is transcranial magnetic stimulation. The providers at Nurocoach in Katy, Texas explain more about transcranial magnetic stimulation and whether or not it’s an option you should consider.

What transcranial stimulation is

Transcranial stimulation, or TMS, is another option for treating depression, sometimes called treatment-resistant depression. Usually, the prescription augments antidepressant treatment or is an alternative if you haven’t gotten much relief from antidepressants.

TMS is a non-invasive, FDA-approved treatment that uses a magnetic field to alter your brain. Your brain works by sending electrical signals to influence your thoughts and behavior. TMS uses a powerful magnet to shift the electrical balance in your brain by sending multiple quick electrical impulses, which may positively affect your mood.

Who is a good candidate for TMS

While anyone can possibly be a good candidate for TMS, some people are more likely than others to experience relief from it. These people include the following:

  • Those with depression
  • Those with obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • If you have anxiety
  • If you have PTSD
  • If you’ve had a stroke

Depending on how well you’re responding to initial treatment sessions, your provider may alter the number of electrical impulses you receive in a treatment session.

Treatment options with TMS

We tailor your experience with TMS to your individual needs. Some of the variations we make can include adjusting the following:

Magnet strength

The strength of the magnet is adjustable, meaning we can turn it up more if you don’t respond well to lower-strength magnets.

Pulse frequency

Much like the strength of the magnet, the frequency of electrical pulses you receive can vary. We typically start out with more infrequent pulses but increase them as necessary.

Pulse patterns

We can also change the patterns of the electrical pulses as needed. Sometimes, we may try a pattern, such as sending triple signals to your brain at specific intervals, which may yield more effective results.

Stimulation target and magnetic coil type

Different magnetic coils can target various brain targets, such as helping to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, which requires targeting of specific brain patterns.

Side effects

TMS is usually safe and well-tolerated by most patients. You should expect five daily sessions for 4-6 weeks. Each session lasts for about 15-20 minutes. However, some side effects are fairly common and may include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Scalp tingling or tingling in the muscles of your face
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Tinnitus (ringing in your ears, which is usually temporary)

Seizures are also possible, although uncommon.

Who should not get TMS

Although TMS is safe for most people (often recommended as an alternative to antidepressants in younger patients), some people should not get it. These people include those who have metal implants, especially in their heads, such as electrodes, deep brain stimulators, or cochlear implants.

You should talk to us if you want to learn more about TMS and are a good candidate. Contact the providers at Nurocoach today or request an appointment online.