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The Benefits of TMS therapy for Treatment-Resistant Depression

An episode of depression can make you feel as if you are stuck in a dark tunnel with no end in sight. You may feel overwhelmed, exhausted, stuck, unmotivated, and uninterested in the hobbies you once loved. Sound familiar? You may be struggling with depression. Despite how you currently feel, it is possible to find relief. Read on to learn the benefits of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and how it can help rid you of depression.

Treatment-Resistant Depression

Did you know that roughly one-third of patients diagnosed with major depression do not respond to antidepressants? Such patients have treatment-resistant depression. Individuals with treatment-resistant depression are at increased risk for suicidal ideation, poor quality of life, and various other debilitating symptoms.

Are antidepressants the answer? Not for everyone.

While antidepressants are considered the first-line treatment for depression, they are not a solution for everyone. They can come with a variety of side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision, weight gain, loss of appetite, headache, and nausea, which may be intolerable for some individuals.

So, what can be done for those who cannot tolerate antidepressants? Talk therapy and other practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be helpful. But for some individuals, additional treatments are necessary to alleviate stubborn depression symptoms. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a promising treatment for treatment-resistant depression.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS is a non-drug, alternative therapy that is an evidenced-based FDA-approved treatment for depression. A substantial amount of research has demonstrated the safety of and benefits of TMS in treating various psychiatric ailments such as depression and schizophrenia. TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate the brains’ brain cells to remediate depression. As each pulse of the magnet travels into your brain, it boosts your brain cells' activity underneath the treatment coil.

The truth about TMS

· TMS is not an invasive procedure

· It does not require anesthesia or sedation

· It does not induce seizures, unlike Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

· It does not require the implantation of electrodes in the brain

What is a TMS session like?

During a TMS session, you will be asked to remove any jewelry and be given earplugs to block out the sound of the TMS machine. A TMS machine makes a loud clicking noise, which some people have compared to a woodpecker. During a session, you will feel a tapping sensation on your forehead, but the process is not considered to be painful. The TMS session lasts about 30-45 minutes, and you will need to attend TMS sessions five days a week for 4 to 6 weeks.

Are there side effects of TMS?

TMS has minimal side effects: the most commonly reported side effect of TMS is headaches. However, headaches from TMS are typically minor and will reduce throughout your treatment. Over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen will effectively relieve the headache. In some situations, TMS is not recommended for those who have seizure disorders such as epilepsy.

Why should you consider TMS for your depression?

TMS is safe and effective. This therapy has the potential to bring you out of a seemingly never-ending depressive episode. A psychiatrist prescribes TMS, and you will undergo an evaluation to make sure it is a good fit for you. With TMS, there is good reason to hope that your depression will lift, and your functioning will improve.


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