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Frequently Asked Questions About TMS Therapy

When other treatments may not be enough, physicians are prescribing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy (TMS Therapy) to treat depression. TMS Therapy is a safe and effective, FDA-cleared medical treatment for individuals diagnosed with depression that can be used in conjunction with medication or as a stand-alone treatment. It offers a non-invasive, non-systemic, and non-sedating in treating depression. TMS Therapy applies magnetic stimulation to specific areas of the brain involved in mood regulation- areas known to be underactive in people suffering with depression.

Common Patient Questions about their TMS Therapy

We have compiled several questions that patients have commonly asked TMS NeuroHealth Centers about their TMS Therapy treatment.  Whether you are a prospective patient or currently receiving TMS Therapy, we hope that you find our responses helpful.  It is important for you to personally consult with your treating physician regarding all questions that you have about your TMS Therapy treatment.

What is a TMS Therapy treatment session like?

While treatment varies by individual, a typical TMS Therapy treatment session is approximately 30-40 minutes. During treatment, patients relax in a treatment chair and remain awake and alert. The TMS Therapy device will deliver magnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain known to regulate mood. These pulses will feel like tapping on the scalp. The technician can make adjustments if the taping is uncomfortable. After a treatment session, patients can immediately return to their normal routine, including driving.  Click here to learn more about a Typical Treatment Session.

When will I feel better?

When will I feel better?

The acute phase of TMS Therapy ranges from 20-30 treatments over a 4-6 week period, and since every patient is different, response time varies as well. Some patients begin noticing a reduction in depressive symptoms after week two, while others begin to feel the benefits of therapy at week 4 or 5.

How can I tell if it’s working?

Initially, most patients notice positive changes in their behavior or mood, such as getting a better night’s sleep and feeling more rested in the morning, feeling “good” about themselves, being more social, feeling ready to go back to work, or making more independent decisions. All of these incremental changes indicate improvement, and should likely progress as treatment continues—and beyond.

Do I need to continue TMS Therapy after the acute phase?

While some patients may need maintenance therapy in managing their depression, a majority of patients will not. Variables such as a patient’s available support system, sleep patterns, diet, and exercise can all influence a patient’s recovery from a depressive episode. This is why TMS NeuroHealth Centers works with each patient to help them understand their situation, recognize potential triggers, identify a support system, and find the right combination of diet and exercise to help maintain their improved mood.

I’m feeling more depressed/anxious/having trouble sleeping after my TMS Therapy sessions. Is this normal?

Dips in mood and irregular sleep patterns are common among patients with depression, and while they are also common among new patients undergoing TMS Therapy, it’s important for you to speak with your TMS Therapy provider about any emotional or physical changes you experience throughout treatment.

My last TMS Therapy session is almost here—and I’m nervous about ending treatment. What should I do?

It is not uncommon for patients to report feeling nervous that their treatment is nearing completion, especially when having made improvement in their mood and quality of life. Seek guidance and support from your TMS Therapy provider, treating psychiatrist, therapist and loved ones to develop strategies that will help you navigate your feelings during this transitory period from the near ending of treatment to its conclusion and beyond. With guidance, it is also important to develop strategies that support a healthy quality of life post-treatment, such as regular exercise, healthy nutrition plan, psychotherapy (if indicated), and enriching social activities. Positive and activating lifestyle strategies will be of great benefit to you in maintaining your improvement or remission from depression.

If your current treatment is not enough, contact us at 1-855-333-4867 or visit TMS NeuroHealth Centers at www.tmsneuro.comWe provide a Free Consultation!

If you have questions about TMS Therapy or would like to share your experience, we welcome your input below.  Thank you for joining our conversation.

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Mental Health Apps Help Track Mood and Symptoms

App Character EmotionsIndividuals enduring the symptoms of mental illness such as Anxiety, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and/or Bipolar Disorder, usually treat with psychotherapy, medications or a combination of the two. Often therapists recommend that patients’ journal their emotions, behaviors and symptoms on a consistent basis as a tool to gain greater insight of their condition.  Tracking patterns and potential triggers can be extremely helpful to patient and therapist in managing their disorder, including the critical advantage of early recognition of changes that might lead to an exacerbation of their condition. With greater insight and ability to act early, frequency of therapy sessions and/or medications can swiftly be modified to prevent a worsening of a patient’s condition. In addition, greater insight and journal feedback may encourage patients to seek immediate professional support during a crisis.

Daily journaling can sometimes feel cumbersome and time consuming, but with digital technology, this doesn’t have to be the case.  Software Developers are creating Apps to help those with mental disorders track and manage their symptoms. However, users should bear in mind that a psychiatric/medical background is not required to create a mental health app, and that this software should only be utilized as an additional part of a comprehensive treatment plan rather than a replacement for treatments such as prescription drugs, therapy, or TMS Therapy.

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Postpartum Depression in Men

PPD in MenTraditionally seen as a condition that only affects women, researchers estimate that 4 to 25 percent of men experience postpartum depression (or PPD) in the first two months following childbirth1, and that number increases to 68% over the first five years in fathers around age 252. Younger fathers were more at risk of developing paternal PPD if they lived in the same home as their children.

The scope of paternal PPD is still being studied as initial research used diagnostic criteria for maternal PPD to examine paternal PPD and more accurate tools are still being developed to test and measure symptoms of PPD in men. Thankfully, the range of studies and research has increased in the past few years as scientists work to understand PPD better in both men and women.

Depression symptoms in fathers are often similar to those experienced by women affected by PPD (e.g., general depressive symptoms such as sadness, fatigue, appetite changes, feelings of worthlessness, and/or negative feelings or lack of concern for themselves or the baby) but PPD can often present quite differently in men. Sudden outbursts of anger or irritability, impulsiveness (e.g., drinking too much, overeating, pursuing an affair), and immersing themselves in work can all be signs of PPD. Many men characterize these feelings as experiencing a sudden loss of control of their lives, which can lead to erratic behavior not commonly associated with depression.

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The Link Between Chronic Pain and Depression

Human-With-Pain-DotsWe all experience pain of some kind from time to time – we stub our toe, pull a muscle, suffer with a headache, etc. But the American Chronic Pain Association estimates that one in three Americans (over 50 million people) suffers from some type of chronic pain1. Chronic pain is described as ongoing or recurrent pain which lasts beyond the usual course of acute illness or injury and adversely affects an individual’s well-being. Simply put, chronic pain is pain that continues when it should not. It may present as pain in the lower back, abdominal region, joints, neck, and even headaches, depending on the individual. Pain may be felt as aching, burning, shooting, or electrical and can affect sleep, cause fatigue and weaken the immune system.  Beyond the physical discomfort and stress upon the body, chronic pain also affects thought, mood and behavior, and can lead to isolation, immobility and drug dependence. If those symptoms sound familiar, it may be because there are many similarities and connections between chronic pain and depression.

Pain is a depressing experience, and depression can cause and/or intensify pain. In fact, over 66% of individuals diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) also suffer from chronic pain2, and depressed patients are three times more likely to develop chronic pain3.  Depression can cause a variety of physical symptoms even including affecting the body’s natural sleep cycle. This minimizes the amount of restorative sleep realized each night and exacerbates both chronic pain and depression symptoms. With 80% of depressed individuals complaining of insomnia4 or general body fatigue, it’s no surprise that this accumulation of stress on the body contributes to chronic pain.

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National Mental Health Awareness Month 2015

Although a staggering one in five Americans have been diagnosed with a mental disorder(s)1, mental illness continues to be widely misunderstood, misrepresented, and subject to social stigma. Not surprisingly, the stigma associated with mental illness remains one of the biggest barriers preventing individuals from getting necessary treatment.

National Mental Health Awareness Month, observed throughout the month of May, is a campaign that strives to eliminate stigma, and encourage family members, friends and colleagues to support those diagnosed with mental illness in seeking out and receiving necessary medical treatment. Many organizations as well as leading media platforms participate in the campaign. This May, Discovery Life Channel in partnership with Bring Change 2 Mind, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the stigma associated with mental illness, will air celebrity ambassadors calling for the end of mental illness discrimination as well as programming featuring various mental disorders.2

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