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TMS therapy is generally for those that have found little success using medications or therapy to help their Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
Depression among people ages 15 to 44 is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Effective treatments for depression include antidepressants and psychotherapy. However, they do not work for everyone. Two-thirds of people with depression don’t get the help they need from the first prescribed antidepressant.
This results in treatment-resistant depression (TRD) This leaves two other options:
- Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
TMS is not Electroconvulsive therapy. Many people do not want the side effects of memory loss, confusion, and nausea that can come with ECT. With TMS therapy, patients drive to and from their appointment. Individuals do not go through any sedation or anesthesia all while experiencing no pain or side effects.
People who have depression often have a less active prefrontal cortex. This is where mood functions in the brain. They may also have a harder time keeping and regulating serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline.
While we may not know the direct causes as to why this is happening, we know that stimulating the brain with brief spurts of electrical current can excite that region of the brain. This depression treatment can awaken underactive nerve cells and can positively affect neurotransmitter levels, effectively boosting mood and lifting symptoms of depression.
How Does TMS Treat Depression?
TMS therapy for depression inter-converts electrical and magnetic energy to induce electromagnetic phenomena and implement an effective pulsatile magnetic field that depolarizes cortical neurons. This field is generated for a brief duration of time. The Levels of neuronal stimulation can be regulated by low (1 Hz) or high (10 to 20 Hz) frequency. The generated magnetic field is similar to that of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
High-frequency stimulation alleviates depressive symptoms, and low-frequency stimulation relieves symptoms of depression. This is shown by patients where there was a drop in salivary cortisol level after targeting the left cortex.
Many randomized clinical trials show that consistent TMS treated depressive mood symptoms, with remission rates of 30% to 40% of cases. Therefore, this alternative treatment for depression showed an improvement in mood symptoms but with fewer side effects than other forms of MDD treatment.
What to Expect from TMS Therapy
Treatment is performed while the patient is fully awake: TMS doesn’t require any anesthesia and can be performed while the patient is fully awake. There is no need to arrange for someone to drive you home after an appointment unless you prefer some else to drive after the first treatment just to see how you’re feeling
TMS will target the pathophysiology of depression: TMS uses high-frequency electromagnetic induction over the left DLPFC to treat behavioral dysregulation in patients with major depression.
Each TMS treatment lasts between 19 and 37 minutes. TMS requires a series of treatment sessions to be effective.
TMS is covered by most major insurers, including MVP, Medicare, United Healthcare, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, Healthfirst, CDPHP, Emblem Health, and more.
Remission of depression symptoms within 4 to 6 treatments. Many patients who suffered from Major Depressive Disorder saw their depression symptoms significantly improve or saw them completely go away after four to six weeks with TMS.
- You’ll be seated in a comfortable chair for the duration of the treatment. Patients will often play music, read a book, or watch tv during a treatment.
- Your doctor will identify the best position to place the magnets on your head for the most effective stimulation.
- A coil will be placed against your head and will be turned on and off consistently in order to produce stimulating pulses. A clicking sound will last for a few seconds until there’s a pause and then it will start again. Some patients report a sensation of someone tapping on your scalp or forehead.
- Your doctor will decide the amount of electromagnetic energy needed. Your doctor will increase the magnetic dose until your fingers start to twitch. This means the pulse has reached your motor threshold and this point can then be used to determine what the most effective dose is for you. Throughout the treatment, the amount of electromagnetic stimulation can be altered depending on your symptoms and side effects.
- Continue with your day-to-day. After your treatment, you can get up and operate as you were before. There are no negative side effects on memory or sleep.
Results of TMS for Depression
Over 80% of people with Major Depression Disorder who didn’t receive the benefits from medication therapy experience a clinically meaningful response with TMS. Over 50% of those same people have a full remission, meaning that their depression went away completely.
If later on, you begin to experience symptoms of depression again, there is a process of re-induction that you can go through. It simply means doing the treatments over again to activate the underactive region of your brain again. TMS patients that come back for treatment have reported that their remission has lasted for years.
TMS Depression Treatment in New York
Dr. Pardell has over 13 years of expertise in TMS treatment. He is also the past president of the Clinical TMS Society. Dr. Pardell and his team at Clearwave Mental Health will work with you to design a personalized treatment plan focused on getting to the root cause of your depression. He will then diagnose and treat your depression so you can live a better, healthier life.
Clearwave Mental Health is the premier psychiatric and TMS treatment center servicing Poughkeepsie, Valhalla, Middletown, Nanuet, Westchester, New York, and the Hudson Valley. Our mission is to provide compassionate, personalized, individualized, and effective mental health care for our community.
Clearwave Mental Health is the premier psychiatric and TMS treatment center servicing Poughkeepsie, Valhalla, Middletown, Westchester, New York, and the Hudson Valley. Our mission is to provide compassionate, personalized, individualized, and effective mental health care for our community.