Posted on May 1, 2019
Last modified on July 11, 2019
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can help treatment-resistant depression. It’s a non-invasive treatment that stimulates the brain’s nerve cells.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation may help improve symptoms of:
Transcranial magnetic stimulation has gained recognition recently for its effect on depression. Clinicians may recommend TMS if your depression symptoms haven’t improved with medication and therapy. TMS can complement therapy and medication to help significantly reduce depression symptoms. Clinicians may also recommend TMS if you have severe side effects from depression medications.
One TMS session usually lasts around 30-40 minutes. Some people have it five days a week for 4-6 weeks. The duration of TMS could be more or less depending on your response to treatment.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation works by stimulating parts of the brain that play a role in mood. It’s a non-invasive therapy, which means that there are no breaks in the skin. You will be fully awake during the treatment. You won’t require any anesthesia. It’s a painless procedure. You may feel a faint tapping on your head. You can return to everyday activities immediately following treatment.
During transcranial magnetic stimulation a clinician uses magnetic pulses to activate parts of your brain. They do this by putting a cushioned coil around your head. It’s attached to a pulse generator. The pulse generator is what delivers the electrical stimulation. The magnetic fields from TMS are similar to those in MRI scans.
Scientists don’t understand exactly how TMS works yet. They believe that the magnetic pulses from TMS affects cells tied to neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters play a role in emotions and mood. TMS also targets the limbic system, which is important in emotion regulation. Through a complicated process TMS influences neurotransmitters to help them release more or less brain chemicals. The rebalance of chemicals can help relieve depression symptoms. The time it takes to feel better is different for everyone. Sometimes people start seeing improvement in depression symptoms within a couple of weeks.
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