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Understanding How TMS Therapy Works

Depressive symptoms can be alleviated without surgery when transcranial magnetic stimulation activates neurons in the brain. Once conventional therapies for depression have failed, TMS may be used. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a treatment for depression that entails continuously administering magnetic pulses. Here is what you need to know to understand how TMS therapy works.

How It Functions

An electromagnetic coil is held against the patient’s scalp, usually in the area of the forehead, during a TMS treatment. The electromagnet painlessly activates nerve cells in the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions and relieving depression. It’s theorized to stimulate depressed people’s brains by increasing activity in quiet areas. Although the biological mechanisms by which TMS alleviates depression symptoms and boosts mood are not fully known, the stimulation appears to have such an effect. Like any other treatment method, there are pros and cons of tms therapy discovered during and after treatment. Many methods exist for carrying it out, and as practitioners understand what works best, they may modify their approach.



TMS, unlike most other treatments for depression save talk therapy, is a non-invasive approach to helping people feel better. Alternative therapies for depression, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), deep brain stimulation, or a vagus nerve stimulator, are much more invasive. TMS is a safer alternative to antidepressants like Zoloft and Prozac. When you take antidepressants, you’ll be able to see. For a chemical to affect serotonin levels in the brain, it must first pass through the digestive system, circulate throughout the body, be digested by the liver, and then make its way into the brain. Meanwhile, it must be broken down and expelled out of the body after causing various adverse effects due to the many different routes it disrupts to the internal system.

It’s Not Addictive

In contrast to some drugs, TMS does not have any addictive characteristics. To avoid another episode of depression, you may consider periodic maintenance TMS sessions that last for weeks or months. Treatment with transcranial magnetic stimulation does not lead to addiction. TMS has no known withdrawal symptoms, unlike several SSRIs and SNRIs, which can produce serotonin discontinuation syndrome if suddenly stopped.


Commitment of Time

Taking part in TMS treatment is a time-consuming process. The average time for a TMS session is 19 minutes. But, one must do a session five days a week for six weeks. Counting all of them, there will be 30 sessions. The minimum recommended time spent with a therapist during a CBT course is 10 hours. Therefore this amount of time is insufficient for proper treatment.

Few People Know About It

Those who could have benefited from TMS treatment were often unaware that it existed. A lot of time will pass before that happens. Regrettably, pharmaceutical lobbying is making significant efforts to muzzle the expansion of TMS among psychiatrists. Many ads encourage you to try a new medication without disclosing alternatives.

It is possible that after a course of TMS treatment, continued treatment with psychotherapy and medication will be needed. Your depression may improve with TMS maintenance sessions, although this is still unproven. Keeping up with treatment even after symptoms have subsided is done to avoid a recurrence of the original problem.