When you hear the words, electric shock therapy, you might feel an uncomfortable ting of fear deep within. No doubt, Hollywood has played a large role in the stigma against any form of shock treatment, depicting it as a form of punishment rather than therapy.
Forms of shock therapy, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, have been proven not only safe but minimally invasive for patients with a wide range of mental health disorders.
The stigma and misinformation surrounding therapies such as TMS have long held many people back from ever seeking help for their debilitating conditions.
Nobody should have to suffer in silence.
We’re here to answer all of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to TMS, so you can feel confident in your decision to change your life.
How Does TMS Treatment Work?
Let’s start with the basics. What is TMS treatment, and how does it work?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a form of therapy in which short, repetitive shock waves are sent directly into the areas of the brain associated with depression (or other mood disorders).
As the electromagnet delivers painless pulses to your brain, it’s working hard to stimulate regions associated with mood control, bringing back to life areas with decreased activity due to depression.
TMS treatment works by using two basic principles of science: electricity and magnetism. Our brains are electro-charged organs, sending small bits of electricity throughout our bodies to relay information. When we add a magnet to the equation, scientists can generate electricity and influence the brain’s activity.
How Long Does TMS Treatment Last?
To put it simply: each individual presents unique challenges, so the length of time you’ll spend in your treatment session will vary. However, on average, most TMS treatments take around 30-40 minutes.
How Many TMS Treatments Are Needed?
While many patients begin to feel relief from their symptoms within a few sessions, TMS treatment should be done multiple times a week for 4-6 weeks. Your medical professional will discuss your personal treatment plan with you.
How Long Will The Effects of TMS Treatment Last?
While it would be nice to give a cut-and-dry answer here, the reality is much more complex. Depression is a mood disorder caused by many different factors while all play a role in how long the effects of treatment will last.
Genetics, life stressors, medical conditions, and drug/alcohol use can all alter the way an individual’s brain functions.
Due to all the various factors that can play a role in the onset, frequency, and severity of depression, there is no definitive answer. However, many patients that complete the full course
of TMS treatment recommended by their medical provider see the effects lasting anywhere between 6 months – a year.
Is TMS Treatment Safe?
While you may not think sending shock waves into your brain is completely harmless, science has proven, it is.
TMS has incredibly low rates of side effects, complications, or risks with even the most serious outcome (having a seizure) is only estimated to happen in less than 1 in every 10,000 patients.
The mild side effects you may experience include:
• A headache
• Neck pain
• Tingling in your face or scalp
• Temporary ringing in your ears
• Sensitivity to sound
Unlike deep nerve stimulation or electroconvulsive therapy, no surgery, sedation, or anesthesia is required to perform TMS.
In summary: TMS is a scientifically proven safe, effective, therapy option for depression with relatively no side effects or risks involved.
Where Can I Get TMS Treatment?
If TMS treatment sounds like something you’re interested in, you may be curious about where you can find a provider.
If you’re a Maryland resident, Gemini TMS offers treatment for those who haven’t had success, or have had negative experiences with medications and/or talk therapy.
At Gemini, we accept many different insurance plans so everyone can find the relief from depression they desperately need. Consultations with our educated team are free, and an individualized plan will be created to meet your specific needs.
If you’re not a Maryland resident, speaking with your primary healthcare provider or mental health professional is a great place to start. They can often refer you to a trusted organization specializing in TMS therapy.
How Do I Qualify For TMS Treatment?
In order to qualify for TMS treatment, you must meet the minimum requirements set by the FDA. You can find these by contacting your insurance provider however if you fall within these guidelines you’re likely eligible for TMS therapy:
• You’re currently battling a depressive episode
• You’ve been diagnosed with depression by a medical professional
• You’ve tried antidepressants and been unsuccessful
• You’ve tried psychotherapy and been unsuccessful
In addition, in order to qualify for TMS treatment you cannot have any contraindications, such as:
• No suicidal thoughts
• No psychotic symptoms
• No neurological conditions (such as seizures)
• No metal in your cranium
• Not pregnant
• Not nursing
• No substance abuse
In many cases, speaking with your insurance provider will give you a clear answer as to whether or not you qualify for TMS treatment.
What Should I Expect After TMS Treatment?
The recovery time from TMS is minimal, and many people are able to return back to daily activities immediately. While those more sensitive to sensations may need a few minutes to recover from side effects, this is rare.
Once your treatment session is over you can leave and resume your schedule as normal. If you experience twitching or unusual feelings in your head or face afterward your doctor may suggest waiting to leave until they pass. However, this too, is uncommon.
What Are The Benefits of TMS Treatment?
There are various benefits of using TMS therapy to treat your depression. Such advantages include (but are not limited to):
• TMS therapy is noninvasive
• TMS therapy has little to no side effects
• TMS therapy doesn’t require medication use
• TMS therapy provides relief quickly
• TMS therapy is scientifically proven to be safe
• TMS therapy is able to work successfully alongside other interventions
Among all the benefits of TMS therapy the most important is that it can save lives. With depression comes the risk of suicide or self harm. TMS therapy is an excellent, successful treatment option that can relieve symptoms of depression while giving hope to those who haven’t had success with first-line methods of therapy.
TMS treatment can open up a new world of possibilities for those suffering with severe depression. In fact, it may just be the most powerful decision of your life.