How TMS Can Ease Symptoms of Depression

It is estimated that 16.2 million adults have depression in the United States. This condition can have a serious impact on your life, and sometimes traditional medication doesn't yield the results you need. Alternative forms of treatment like TMS can help lift your mood and allow you to pursue your life freely. 

TMS & Brain Health in Santa Monica, California, offers transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS therapy) to those with stubborn cases of depression. Our team of psychiatrists is experienced in dealing with mood disorder, and we can help you find a unique treatment plan for your condition. Not everyone responds to medication and/or psychotherapy, but everyone deserves a treatment that works for them. 

What is TMS Therapy?

TMS is a form of noninvasive stimulation that affects nerve cells in the brain. It uses repetitive magnetic pulses to alleviate depression. These magnetic pulses send signals to the brain cells underneath the skull to release neurotransmitters. We use TMS therapy to target the area of your brain that controls mood, and reactivating areas that have been affected by depression. We start with treating the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, but we can also treat other areas of the brain, depending on each patient’s specific symptoms.

TMS is completely safe. It is painless, noninvasive, and does not require sedation. It comes with few side effects, and is far less intense than other forms of therapy like deep brain stimulation. Many people with treatment-resistant depression turn to TMS after medication and psychotherapy fail. 

What to expect from a TMS session 

All TMS sessions will involve you sitting in a comfortable chair. As mentioned above, the entire procedure is noninvasive, so you don't have to worry about pain. Most people feel only a light tapping sensation on their head as the magnetic pulses pass through the skull.

During the initial session, your head is measured to locate the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or DLPFC. Once the TMS machine is calibrated, the machine is tested on the area that controls your thumb. Once the machine is able to move the thumb a small amount, the treatment dose is calculated. From that point, you will be slowly worked up to your full treatment level. 

TMS used to take a long time, but Express TMS uses intermittent theta burst stimulation to achieve the desired effect in three minutes. Most people come in five times a week for four to six weeks, but the sessions are so short that you can continue with your day afterward.  

If you're interested in TMS as a treatment for depression, you can contact TMS & Brain Health. Call 310-693-0638, or apply for TMS online. From there, you will be evaluated to determine if TMS is right for you.

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