What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) can be understood as a method of treating depression using electromagnetic fields. The procedure works by stimulating the nerve cells found in the parts of the brain that control mood and depressions using magnetic impulses created by an electromagnetic coil. At New Dawn TMS Psychiatry, the technique is used to treat cases of depression where the more conservative treatment options, such as psychotherapy and antidepressants have failed. The best thing about TMS is that it is that is non-invasive and it can be used safely and effectively alongside medication.

What Can I Expect During the TMS Procedure?

Since the procedure is nonsurgical and painless, it does not require anesthesia, and therefore, it will be performed at your psychiatrist’s office while you are awake. The psychiatrist will place a device with an electromagnetic coil on your left prefrontal cortex or the forehead. The device has to be held in place for at least forty minutes. You will require about 30 sessions spread out evenly within four to six weeks.

What Are Some Possible Side Effects?

Usually, the magnetic pulses do not go beyond two inches deep into the brain. Therefore, it is easy for your psychiatrist to target specific parts of the brain. Consequently, the side-effects are not only mild but also few. Some common side-effects that are associated with TMS include headaches, light-headedness, and some discomfort in the scalp. The good news is that the side-effects are short-lived, and they will be gone within a few hours after the session. In some cases, your doctor may recommend some over-the-counter pain medication for you to find relief from the symptoms. Experts are yet to establish if the treatment can cause any long-term side-effects

Who Can Benefit From TMS?

When it comes to depression, every patient is unique. Therefore, before you can go for TMS, it is imperative for you to consult your psychiatrist or therapist on the issue. This is because each patient responds differently to the various techniques of treating depression. Remember that TMS should only be tried on patients who have not responded well to more conservative treatments of depression, such as antidepressants and psychotherapy.

Those with metal plates and other metals near their head are advised to avoid the procedure. TMS is also not recommended for people with a history of seizures.

Where can I Find a TMS Provider?

TMS is usually provided by psychiatrists. However, not every psychiatry practitioner offers this treatment. Since TMS is usually offered after other conservative treatments for depression have failed, it makes sense for you to ask the mental health practitioners with whom you have already worked with, for a referral to the best TMS providers near you. You can also go online and find what people are saying about the various providers.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Common Questions About Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)," in Medicalopedia, February 7, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8314/common-questions-about-transcranial-magnetic-stimulation-tms/].