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?
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.