Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is a treatment for depression that is non-invasive. This means that in this treatment, no break in the skin is created, and there is no contact with the mucosa or skin break. TMS therapy for depression is approved by FDA and is highly effective. This, along with its safe nature, increases its popularity. Here, we will discuss the science behind this new-age alternative. We will explore how TMS helps to reduce your depression.
How TMS Works
In people with depression, the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain, is known to be underactive. The prefrontal cortex is a brain region located in the frontal lobe. It is critical in regulating emotions, decision-making, and social behavior. In addition, it is connected to other parts of the brain that are involved in emotional processing, such as the amygdala and hippocampus.
In Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a coil is placed against the scalp. When the coil receives an electric charge, it generates a rapidly changing magnetic field. This field penetrates the skull and induces electrical activity in the brain.
The magnetic field generated by the TMS coil can activate or inhibit neural activity in the targeted brain region depending on the stimulation’s frequency, intensity, and duration. For example, in depression, High-frequency TMS increases neural activity in the targeted region. Whereas, in the case of other treatments, if the need be, low-frequency TMS is used to decrease neural activity.
In the case of TMS therapy for depression, this high frequency stimulates the prefrontal cortex, and as a result, neurotransmitters are released. Neurotransmitters are associated with mood regulation and a sense of well-being. Examples include serotonin and dopamine.
The prefrontal cortex is linked to various cerebral regions that regulate emotions, including the amygdala and hippocampus. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure located deep within the brain’s temporal lobe. It processes emotions such as fear, anxiety, and aggression. The hippocampus, on the other hand, is located in the medial temporal lobe. It is critical in memory formation, retrieval, and spatial navigation. TMS therapy also affects these areas, leading to an overall improvement in mood and a reduction in depressive symptoms.
TMS is typically administered in daily sessions over several weeks, with each session lasting about 20 to 30 minutes. However, the number of sessions required varies depending on the severity of the depression and the individual’s response to treatment.
Effectiveness of TMS
Numerous studies have shown that TMS therapy for depression is an effective treatment for depression. A meta-analysis of 29 randomized controlled trials found that TMS was significantly more effective than a placebo in reducing depressive symptoms. It had a response rate of 29% compared to 10% in the placebo group.
TMS has also been found to be effective in treating treatment-resistant depression. Treatment-resistant depression is a type of depression that does not respond to traditional treatments such as medication and psychotherapy. A study of 301 patients with treatment-resistant depression found that 58% of those who received TMS experienced a significant improvement in symptoms.
Safety of TMS
TMS therapy for depression is generally considered safe, with no major side effects. Unfortunately, though, it does have a few negligible side effects. The most common side is mild to moderate discomfort or pain at the stimulation site. This pain usually resolves after the first few sessions. Headache and dizziness are other possible side effects of TMS therapy.
TMS does not require anesthesia or sedation, and it also does not cause seizures. These are common side effects of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), another treatment for depression. TMS also does not require hospitalization, allowing patients to continue their daily activities and responsibilities during treatment.
TMS therapy for depression near you
If you came here searching for “TMS therapy for depression near me,” the first step is to consult a mental health professional. They will evaluate your symptoms and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. A trained provider typically conducts TMS therapy in a specialized clinic or office. The number of sessions required for TMS therapy varies depending on individual needs, but it typically involves several weeks of treatment.
TMS therapy is a secure and efficient method of treating depression. It works by stimulating nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This therapy is more effective than a placebo in reducing depressive symptoms and can be effective in treating treatment-resistant depression. In addition, it is generally considered safe and does not require hospitalization or anesthesia. Therefore, if you or someone you know has depression problems, TMS therapy may be a viable treatment option. To find a TMS provider, search for “TMS therapy for depression near me” or ask your primary medical doctor for referrals.