An estimated 16 million American adults suffer from major depressive disorder, and research shows that millions of dollars are spent each year on pharmaceutical remedies for the illness. Unfortunately, some people find traditional treatments of talk therapy and medication ineffective. A National Institutes of Health study estimates that antidepressants only work for 60 to 70 percent of people who take them. A new treatment method has recently become available for public use; it is FDA approved, requires no anesthesia, and is covered by most insurance, including Medicare. The technique is called transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, abbreviated as TMS, is a noninvasive procedure that stimulates nerve cells in the brain through the use of magnetic fields. Typically used when other treatments haven’t been effective, TMS can improve symptoms of major depression.
TMS isn’t invasive, doesn’t require anesthesia, and is an outpatient procedure. It’s also widely covered by many forms of insurance and is recommended by the American Psychiatric Association. They state that if one form of antidepressant medication has been ineffective, they recommend pursuing TMS treatment rather than a second antidepressant. The procedure is safe, comfortable, efficient, and natural. You do not need to be driven home afterwards and may resume normal activities immediately after your session.
During a 40-minute TMS session, you’ll sit in a comfortable chair as professionals place an electromagnetic coil against your scalp. This coil delivers a painless magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the part of the brain responsible for mood control and depression. You’ll hear a clicking sound, followed by a pause, and will feel tapping on your forehead. Your provider will adjust the magnetic dose to the appropriate threshold.
Thought to activate regions of the brain that have decreased in activity during episodes of depression, the exact mechanisms of TMS are complex and varied. The stimulation impacts the functioning of the brain and improves mood with repeated sessions. Generally, these will occur on a daily basis, five times per week for four to six weeks.
Before having TMS, you should undergo a physical exam and other tests to determine your eligibility for this treatment method. You’ll also discuss your depression with a licensed therapist, who can decide whether TMS is right for you.
Talk to your provider if you’re pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, or if you have any metal or implanted medical devices (such as pacemakers, stents, medication pumps, cochlear implants) in your body. During the intake process, let them know about any medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter or herbal supplements, and any history of headaches, medical conditions, or past injuries. TMS is a relatively low-risk procedure, but it’s best to be up front and honest with your provider to ensure best results.
Overcoming depression is challenging, and many people find themselves in an endless cycle of new medications and therapies. Healing is possible. Pine Grove’s psychiatric programming is second to none. Adult and adolescent services are available on an inpatient and outpatient basis, and programs centering around mental health and wellness are tailored to each unique concern and demographic. Behavioral health services for assessing, coping, and treating depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and several other diagnoses are provided at our Hattiesburg, Mississippi location. Medicare and other insurance providers cover TMS procedures. To schedule an initial evaluation, please call 601-288-8050 today.