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What Is TMS Therapy?

TMS for depression

Transcranial magnetic stimulation might sound like a term straight out of a sci-fi novel, but it’s proven to be an effective treatment method for people with major depressive disorder, OCD and other mental illnesses. This non-invasive procedure uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells within the brain, alleviating debilitating symptoms that resist traditional interventions.

How Does TMS Work?

Our brains are vast networks of neurons that communicate using electrical signals. Bringing a magnet close to specific brain regions can modify this electrical activity, especially in areas governing your mood, emotions and pleasure sensations.

If you’re considering getting TMS, consult with a health provider to determine your candidacy for the treatment. It’s essential to identify and rule out any possible contraindications, such as a seizure history.

What Happens During TMS Treatments?

For maximum effectiveness, TMS usually requires several sessions spanning weeks. The regimen depends on your unique symptoms, treatment goals and recommended TMS approach. While some appointments might be brief, others could last a half-hour or longer.

A typical TMS experience involves sitting beneath or beside the magnet while wearing hearing protection. As the session progresses, you will feel a tapping sensation that gradually intensifies. You will likely experience twitching, especially in your thumbs – an indicator of optimal pulse strength. The treatment unfolds as the magnet administers carefully timed pulses.

Afterward, you’re free to resume your daily activities with no downtime.

The Benefits of TMS for Major Depressive Disorder

TMS has several advantages that make it a beneficial treatment.

  1. Non-invasive approach: Because TMS is not intrusive, you can immediately return to your regular routine after each session with no need for anesthesia or recovery time.
  2. Safe: While seizures are a known side effect, their occurrence during TMS is exceedingly rare, with the risk per session being less than 0.01%. Generally, any side effects like headaches and ringing in your ears are transient and mild. TMS earned FDA approval after undergoing a series of clinical trials to determine its efficacy.
  3. Proven effectiveness: Researchers have performed dozens of studies on TMS, none of which has linked this treatment to harmful changes in the brain. 
  4. A potential lifesaver: People with conditions like major depressive disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder have a higher risk of dying by suicide. TMS can save lives by improving these symptoms.
  5. Synergistic treatment: TMS can seamlessly integrate with other treatment modalities like medications and talk therapy, improving your chances of recovery.

Nationally Recognized Expertise in Depression

Depression is a leading cause of disability in the United States. While there are many effective treatments, first-line approaches such as antidepressants and psychotherapy do not work for everyone. TMS is a medical breakthrough because it can provide relief where other approaches have fallen short. Most TMS patients feel better for many months after completing their treatment regimen.

TMS therapy is an innovative approach that’s revolutionizing how we address neurological conditions such as depression and OCD. Large clinical trials are underway to determine TMS’ effectiveness for other conditions like bipolar and PTSD.

At Pine Grove, we tailor every holistic treatment plan to each client’s specific needs, health concerns and substance use history. As one of the nation’s premier rehabilitation centers, we have earned multiple accreditations. If you struggle with depression and co-occurring disorders, contact us today to learn how we can help you heal.

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