Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a procedure that uses magnetic coils to stimulate the parts of the brain that are affected by mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and OCD. TMS is an FDA approved treatment and a great alternative to traditional medication and therapy.
If you have been struggling with depression, OCD, or another mental illness and haven’t found relief through traditional treatment methods, then TMS may be an option for you. Ask your psychiatrist about whether or not you are eligible for treatment.
If you have already decided to try TMS to treat your depression and you are curious about what to expect during TMS treatment, or you would just like to learn more about the process, then read on.
Your first TMS appointment will take about an hour because the TMS tech will need to measure your head and determine where to place the coils. Then they will determine your motor threshold, which is the lowest intensity level that the machine takes to stimulate movement in your hands. Your motor threshold will determine the intensity at which you will receive the TMS treatment.
After your first appointment, depending on the protocols your doctor prescribes, TMS takes about 20–40 minutes five days per week for four to six weeks. During that time, some patients read, watch videos, meditate, or do anything else that they want to do. Generally, however, it is good to focus on positive thoughts and activities while the brain is being stimulated by TMS.
Once the first course of TMS treatment has been completed, many patients achieve remission and have no depression symptoms.
TMS is a non-invasive, outpatient procedure, which means that you can leave the doctor’s office after a session is done, and you don’t have to worry about getting surgery or being put under general anesthesia. You can drive to and from your TMS appointments and get back to your daily routine immediately following TMS. And once the four-to-six-week treatment schedule is completed, you may not need further treatments, including medication.
One of the benefits of TMS is that there are very few side effects. The most common side effect is a slight headache immediately following treatment, but the headache usually goes away after the first week or so, which is another reason why TMS is a great alternative to traditional medication.
The medicines used to treat depression, anxiety, and OCD can cause harsh side effects, but TMS can provide relief without any negative consequences. If you think your depression symptoms aren’t getting better with traditional treatment, ask your psychiatrist about the benefits of TMS.
Your provider will do their best to make sure that TMS is tolerable for you. The TMS machine’s intensity can easily be turned up or down depending on how much you are able to tolerate. Patients have described TMS like a tapping or vibrating sensation. You may also hear a clicking noise, but you will be given a pair of earplugs to make sure the noise isn’t too loud.
TMS stimulates the parts of your brain that control movement in your hands and feet, so you may notice your hands and fingers twitching during treatment. Movement is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about. TMS is nothing to be worried about. In fact, TMS is something to be excited about. TMS can treat the symptoms of your depression without causing long-term side effects, and it is a quick, noninvasive, painless procedure.
If you’re interested in learning more about TMS and how it could help you, contact us at Serenity Mental Health Centers to set up an appointment with one of our psychiatrists. Let us help you take back your life.