You’ve tried talk therapy. You’ve tried medications. You’re tired of being tired, and you’re ready for a treatment for your mood disorder that will work. 

If you have been struggling with a treatment-resistant mood disorder for a long time, it’s not selfish to wonder how long treatment might take. It might be enough to make you feel apprehensive about trying a new treatment. 

TMS therapy, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a non-invasive procedure that has proven beneficial for many individuals suffering from severe, long-term depression. You might feel ready to give it a try, but how long does it take for TMS to work? 

Are you curious about the length of TMS treatment? Read on to learn about what you can expect at the beginning, middle, and end of your TMS therapy journey. 

The Beginning of TMS Therapy

Many individuals don’t discover TMS therapy until they have tried several more conventional treatment options. Your journey might start with years of talk therapy. You may be prescribed medication that doesn’t touch your depression. 

For many individuals, the side effects of psychiatric medications make it hard to function. They may negatively impact your quality of life. Sometimes, medications cause medical side effects that are not worth the relief. 

In some cases, depression is resistant to all treatment. This can feel isolating and significantly impact your day-to-day life. 

It is usually after this long struggle that individuals discover TMS. At that point, the best next step is to seek out a consultation with a TMS doctor. That individual can determine whether TMS might be an appropriate treatment option for your mood disorder. 

The Consultation

The first step toward relief is finding a doctor specializing in TMS therapy near me. Once you locate a specialist who is experienced in administering TMS for depression, you will want to make an appointment for a consultation. 

During the consultation, your TMS doctor will discuss your medical history. They will take the time to explain the procedure in-depth and answer any questions you may have. They might also discuss payment options at the initial consultation. 

If TMS seems like a good fit for your particular case, you may be referred for an evaluation. 

The Evaluation

The evaluation stage of beginning TMS therapy will feel familiar. It is a basic psychiatric screening. You will be able to discuss your psychiatric history in depth and officially determine whether or not TMS is the right way to move forward. 

If you will be moving forward with TMS, your doctor will help you develop a treatment plan. This plan will be individual to your situation. You may be able to make your first appointment for treatment during this time. 

The First Appointment

It takes time to find the right therapist. It takes time to adjust medication. It makes sense that it might take time to figure out how to make TMS work best for you. 

The first appointment is about learning about how to tailor the TMS treatment to your body. That means determining the correct magnet strength and positioning the coils. 

The doctor will run a test to determine your motor threshold. This will help them to determine the correct magnetic strength for your body. It will not be painful, but you may wish to bring headphones so that you can relax. 

Once the doctor has determined what your treatment will look like, you can begin TMS treatment at the next appointment. Healing can begin. 

The Middle of TMS Therapy

At this point, the therapy begins. Treatment will vary by individual, but will typically follow a similar course. 

The treatment itself lasts for about twenty minutes. You will spend that time sitting comfortably with earplugs or listening to music. There may be some initial discomfort, but the treatment will not be painful. 

Typically, patients will receive TMS treatment about five times per week over the course of six to ten weeks. You will likely attend between thirty and forty sessions in all. 

Factors that might influence the specific length of your treatment include age, personality, current medications, and your level of treatment resistance. Younger patients may respond in fewer treatments than older patients. Likewise, individuals who continue to take antidepressant medications during TMS may respond quicker. 

How Long Does It Take for TMS to Work?

You may begin to see small, steady changes after just a few treatments. Many patients report improved sleep and higher energy levels. Your appetite may increase. 

In many cases, your friends and family may notice positive changes before you do. They might notice changes in your social behavior or willingness to engage in activities.

Usually, about three to four weeks into treatment, individuals report experiencing positive mood changes themselves. This is the point when most patients feel that the treatment is “working.” You may experience less sadness and increased enjoyment in general.  

The Conclusion of TMS Therapy

Once you start feeling better, you might be concerned that the results will be fleeting. Luckily, that is not the case! The effects tend to be long-lasting, with the majority of patients reporting effects a year after their first round of treatments. 

To prevent relapse, many patients undergo maintenance therapy. You might attend maintenance sessions weekly or monthly, depending on your specific needs. Depending on your case, this may or may not be necessary. 

If you are on medication, consult with your psychiatrist regarding whether or not to continue. You should continue to attend talk therapy if you find it helpful. After therapy, you should be able to live a life free of the most restrictive symptoms of depression or mood disorders.

TMS Therapy at the ClearWave Mental Health

So, in essence, how long does it take for TMS to work? You might see results in just a few weeks! Those results can last for a year or more. 

If you are experiencing treatment-resistant depression, TMS is an effective, non-invasive treatment option. The team at the ClearWave Mental Health would love you help you find relief. Reach out today to schedule the consultation that might change your life for the better!