What is TMS Therapy?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, sometimes known by its acronym, TMS, is a non-invasive, non-systemic, treatment for depression. In October 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved NeuroStar TMS Therapy as a treatment for major depression. TMS may be indicated for individuals whose depressive symptoms have not been significantly reduced by antidepressant medications and psychotherapy.
TMS is performed 5 days per week, for a period of 4-6 weeks in a psychiatrist's office, with each treatment lasting approximately 30 minutes.
The most common side effect reported is temporary pain or discomfort at or near the treatment site during therapy, which typically resolves within the first week.
No Side Effects
TMS is a non-drug, non-systemic therapy, so it does not have the same side effects that are associated with traditional antidepressant medications.
How Does TMS Therapy Work?
TMS therapy uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate the under-active area of the brain thought to be involved with mood regulation. The treatment coil is placed on the left prefrontal cortex and produces a small electrical current that penetrates about 2-3 centimeters into the targeted are of the brain. These electrical currents stimulate the brain cells (neurons) which are thought to release neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Since a chemical imbalance in the brain is thought to play a factor in depression, TMS Therapy can help restore the balance and relieve depressive symptoms.