TMS for Bipolar Disorder

If you are looking for ways to treat bipolar disorder, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may be the answer. Here are the benefits of TMS for bipolar disorder.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a neurological brain condition that currently affects 2.8% of Americans. As many as 4.4% of Americans will experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives. Over 80% of these cases will involve serious impairment, with less than 20% being moderate.

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, but there are many treatment options available to make symptoms more manageable. These options range from medication and therapy to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Why would you choose TMS therapy for bipolar disorder rather than one of the other treatments?
Keep reading to discover the answer to this question as we explore the symptoms of bipolar disorder, how TMS works, and the benefits of TMS in comparison to other treatment methods.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder causes an individual to swing between extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression). The frequency of these episodes varies for each person but can last several months.

This disorder is usually diagnosed during the late teens or early 20s. Once a person’s hormones begin to balance out, it becomes clearer that these high and low episodes are not just hormonal.

Manic Episodes

Symptoms can vary between individuals but also between episodes. Some of the common examples experienced during a manic episode include:

  • Feelings of extreme happiness or ecstasy
  • High energy levels
  • Rapid speech
  • Delusions (often of grandeur) and illogical thinking
  • Hallucinations
  • Sensation-seeking behavior that seems out of character
  • Easily agitated
  • An inability to concentrate
  • Unable or unwilling to sleep
  • Loss of appetite

During a manic episode, there is often an inability to consider the consequences of one’s actions. This can lead to dangerous behavior or regretful actions.

Depressive Episodes

A depressive episode is the opposite of a manic episode. But there is some overlap. The following are some common symptoms a person would experience during a depressive episode:

  • Feelings of sadness, despair, and hopelessness
  • Low energy levels
  • Inability to focus
  • Delusions and illogical thinking
  • Experiencing hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Inability to sleep, including waking up early in the morning
  • Loss of appetite

During a depressive state, an individual can benefit from the same strategies used by those with depression.

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Benefits of TMS for Bipolar Disorder Treat

Research shows that there is a range of benefits to using TMS for bipolar disorder. By targeting and activating areas of the brain, it can effectively treat symptoms of bipolar disorder. And when compared to other standard bipolar disorder treatments, TMS comes with very few side effects.

The benefits of TMS for bipolar treatment include:


There’s no need for sedation during a TMS treatment as it doesn’t involve surgery or a painful procedure. There’s nothing you need to drink, swallow, or have injected before treatment. Sessions are over before you know it, as the average length is between 18 and 25 minutes.

Given the speed of the session and the lack of any medication or anesthetic, you can attend your session and then go about your day without feeling drowsy or cognitively impaired. Most people can drive to and from their session, removing the need to arrange alternative transport.

A Safe Option

No treatment option is without potential side effects, including therapy. However, TMS has been approved by the FDA, as side effects tend to be minimal. Even though their occurrence is rare, they can include:

  • Light-headedness
  • Discomfort on scalp
  • Involuntary facial muscle activity
  • A “tapping” or tingling sensation on the scalp
  • Headache

Symptoms fade once the session is over, and clients report a lessening of symptoms with each new session.

Alternative to Ineffective Treatments

Although medication and therapy are the two most common treatment methods for bipolar disorder, many sufferers will fail to experience any significant benefits after either or both options.

As such, Transcranial magnetic stimulation can offer an alternative approach.

When using TMS for bipolar disorder, it can be used alongside other strategies. It doesn’t interact with medication. It doesn’t interfere with therapy. So, there isn’t a need to choose between one approach and another.

Covered By Major Insurers

Transcranial magnetic stimulation may be a relatively recent approach to treating bipolar disorder, but it’s covered by most major health insurers. This includes Cigna, United Healthcare, Aetna, and many others.

If in doubt, contact your insurer before attending your first transcranial magnetic stimulation session.

Ready to Book a Session?

Hopefully, this article has provided you with all the information you need surrounding the use of TMS for bipolar disorder. Feel free to head back to our homepage to learn more about TMS Therapy.

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Clearwave Mental Health services Clearwave Psychiatry and TMS Medical which is New York's premier psychiatric and TMS provider group servicing Poughkeepsie, Valhalla, Middletown, Nanuet, Garden City, Westchester, Long Island, New York, and the Hudson Valley. Our partner clinicians' mission is to provide compassionate, personalized, individualized, and effective mental health care for our community.

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