Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Frequently Asked Questions*
*Provided by TMS Specialists at TMSWashington.com
What is TMS therapy?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) stimulates your brain non-invasively using magnetic pulses. TMS Therapy is a non-invasive treatment based on repetitive stimulation which delivers magnetic pulses to activate nerve cells in the part of the brain controlling mood, which is often underactive in patients with depression. Repeated stimulation of this part of the brain has proved to produce an antidepressant effect on people suffering from depression.
Can TMS be used to treat other mental illnesses?
The science behind TMS therapy is evolving as researchers and physicians are successfully treating patients world-wide for such diverse mental ailments such as addiction, anxiety, ADHD, Migraines, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Tinnitus, Bipolar disorder, and PTSD. Our TMS providor will be happy to discuss the science for these treatments and whether such treatment might be recommended.
What exactly happens to you during TMS therapy sessions?
You are seated in a comfortable chair with earplugs (to avoid the tap-tap sound of the treatment). Once comfortable, a cushioned helmet will be placed over your head, and the certified technician will place a TMS device over your head to ensure maximum and effective transcranial magnetic stimulation of the targeted brain structures. Once the session begins, there will be a loud ‘tap-tap-tap’ sound emitted from the helmet in varying intervals, depending on treatment protocol. You will not “feel” these taps, except for the vibrations on the helmet.Treatment time varies, Deep TMS therapy will last about twenty minutes and Theta Burst Therapy will last about six minutes. Once treatment is completed, you can immediately return to normal daily routine, and you can drive yourself home or to work thereafter.
Will the treatment hurt me or cause side effects?
The treatment is without the side effects typically experienced with antidepressants. Some patients report of a mild discomfort or headache, but you should be able to resume your daily activities right after treatment. TMS is non-invasive, non-systemic, and has not been shown to cause any systemic side effects. Our TMS treatments are administered at our offices and do not require hospitalization or anesthesia.
How long does TMS Therapy take?
The individual TMS therapy sessions last between 6 and 20 minutes. Depending on the treatment protocol, treatment will last for 2 to 5 weeks with daily treatments which vary in number according to treatment plan. Specific TMS treatment timelines vary with each patient.
Is TMS Therapy for me?
TMS therapy is FDA approved for patients with treatment resistant depression. If you have already tried antidepressants to manage your depression but are still not satisfied, TMS Therapy may be the treatment option for you. If you wish to try TMS treatment for other mental ailments, you should consult our medical staff and TMS specialists.
Will I still need antidepressants after TMS therapy?
While many patients experience remission, most patients continue taking antidepressants after successful TMS therapy, usually decreasing intake, depending on person.
How is this treatment different from ECT?
In reality, TMS therapy is not like Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). ECT is a treatment based on using electricity to induce seizures. On the other hand, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation uses magnetic pulses to non-invasively stimulate specific brain regions associated with major depressive disorder. ECT requires anesthesia and has serious side effects, including memory loss. TMS therapy is performed in our offices, requires no anesthesia, and has no systemic side effects.
Is TMS therapy covered by insurance?
TMS therapy is currently covered by over 80% of insurance providers. If you’re interested in learning more about your personal coverage, click here.
Where can I find out more about TMS?
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