Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is a non-invasive, procedure that can treat a variety of mental health conditions. It has been FDA-approved to treat depression, including major depressive disorder (MDD).The medical community defines MDD as an episode of sadness or apathy, which includes other symptoms, lasting for two or more consecutive weeks. It’s severe enough to interrupt your daily activities.If you have MDD, you’re not alone. Around 16.1 million American adults have the condition, which is 6.9% of the population. Nearly 25 million Americans have been taking antidepressant medications for at least two years, but many don’t get the relief they need.TMS therapy offers hope for living a life free of depression
How Can TMS Therapy Help My Depression?
Clinical depression is a highly complex mood disorder. Each individual has different, unique causes for their depression, although there are certain risk factors for the illness as well. These include:
- A family history of depression
- Physical illness
- Sleep problems
- Major life changes and stress
- Lack of social support
- Low socio-economic status
- Old age
- Substance abuse
Depression is associated with changes to various regions of your brain and how they function. The brain areas that play a critical role in depression are:
- The amygdala – In depressed patients, the amygdala (which processes emotions) shows higher activity.
- The thalamus – In depressed patients, the thalamus (which connects information it gets from your senses to pleasant and unpleasant feelings) has a higher number of nerve cells.
- The hippocampus – In depressed patients, the hippocampus (which links memories to emotions) is smaller.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) involves repeated treatment sessions. It relieves depression by stimulating the cells in the affected regions of your brain. When an electromagnetic coil directs electromagnetic impulses at the amygdala, thalamus, and hippocampus, the cells are brought back to a normal level of activity. As balance and stability are restored in your brain, your mental health will most likely improve. Your symptoms of depression may even disappear entirely.
Can TMS Cure Depression?
Many patients with depression are treatment-resistant. That means they’ve tried all the standard forms of treatment (talk therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy; medications, like SSRIs and SNRIs; and lifestyle interventions, like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and daily exposure to sunlight) without success.
Many clinical trials demonstrate the effectiveness of TMS for depression, and it works even for people with treatment-resistant depression. TMS therapy may not completely eradicate your depression, but it can certainly help to make your symptoms more manageable.
When the symptoms of this mental health condition are in full swing, it can be a painful and disruptive experience. It can get in the way of your work, your relationships, your responsibilities, and all the ordinary things you want or need to do. TMS for depression can make these symptoms less intense, allowing you to function normally.
How Will I Know I’m Being Helped?
If you get a full course of TMS treatments for depression, you’ll receive five sessions a week for up to six weeks, then three weeks of less frequent treatment sessions. After a regular round of sessions, patients have reported to staff that their depressive symptoms are more under control. They also say they are much less likely to experience depression symptoms.
Everyone’s experience of depression is different, so your experience with depression relief will be unique, but there are common symptoms you may notice improving following TMS therapy:
- Persistent sadness
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of energy
- Being tired and exhausted all the time
- Feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, hopelessness, or helplessness
- Lack of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Social withdrawal
- Irritability and anger
- Self-harm and suicidal thoughts
- Lack of appetite or overeating
- Sleep problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Chronic indecisiveness
When Will I See Results?
Many patients experience the benefits of TMS for depression in just a couple of weeks. For others, TMS works even faster. Exactly when you see benefits depends on individual factors, such as how severe your depression symptoms are and how long you’ve suffered from depression.
What Research Supports TMS Therapy for Depression?
Clinical trials illustrate that patients experience improvements in their depression symptoms and that some completely recover from their depression. Other research highlights that TMS for depression is far more cost-effective than treating the illness with antidepressants.
Will My Insurance Cover TMS Therapy for Depression?
TMS was approved by the FDA as a treatment for mildly treatment-resistant depression in 2008. This means that many health insurance companies will provide coverage for TMS therapy to treat your depression.
Find out more about insurance coverage, and get pre-approval, if applicable, by calling 877-745-8799. At HPR Treatment Centers, we want you to get the help you need for your depression.
What Is TMS for Depression Like at HPR Treatment Centers?
TMS doesn’t rely on medication, sedation, or anesthesia, and a TMS therapy session lasts only between 18 to 19 minutes. When you come to HPR Treatment Centers for TMS for depression, you’ll sit comfortably in a chair while a technician gently places a coil on your head. This coil delivers magnetic stimulation to certain areas of your brain.
After 18 or 19 minutes, you can resume your day as normal. TMS for depression has none of the side effects commonly experienced while on antidepressants.
Major depression can be an extremely challenging illness to live with and disabling in many ways. You may have tried countless treatments in the hope of living a well-functioning and happy life. TMS therapy could be the thing that stops negative thoughts and dark moods from controlling your life.