If you’re living with a mental health condition, sometimes antidepressants aren’t the right solution. They might not relieve your symptoms, or they could cause intolerable side effects. TMS & Brain Health, in Santa Monica, California, offers an alternative — transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). They’re also the first practice in Southern California to specialize in Express TMS or intermittent theta-burst TMS. Call TMS & Brain Health or request a consultation online today to learn about your treatment options.
TMS therapy is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic pulses—similar to those of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine—to awaken parts of the brain that are underactive in people who suffer from depression. TMS is safe and FDA-approved for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. Additionally, TMS can be used to help treat anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. TMS therapy is a pharmaceutical-free treatment.
Clinical studies that use brain imaging software show reduced activity in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) region of the brains of people who have depression, compared with people who don’t. The electromagnetic pulse created by the TMS equipment stimulates the neurotransmitters and receptors in this region of the brain.
In the past, a single TMS session took up to 37.5 minutes. With 5 weekly sessions, you’d be spending over 3 hours a week in treatment—not including parking. We specialize in intermittent theta burst stimulation, or “Express TMS.” Express TMS uses a patterned frequency which mimics the natural rhythms of the brain that occur during neuroplasticity (aka learning). In Express TMS, your brain learns 10 times faster than with conventional TMS and your sessions only last 3 minutes.
In the initial session, our team performs initial measurements and calibrations to find the DLPFC. Once we’ve located the spot, we will check to see at what level your neurons will release neurotransmitters by placing the TMS device over a part of the brain that controls the thumb. We will examine the lowest possible level that moves the thumb, and set the full treatment dose to 120% of that level. To ensure comfort, we slowly titrate you up to the full stimulation dose over the course of the first week.
During TMS therapy, you sit in a comfortable chair with the TMS equipment positioned at a specific point on your head to target the DLPFC. Most patients report a light tapping sensation on their forehead. Express TMS therapy isn’t painful and is complete in three minutes and 9 seconds. We are with you during every single treatment session, and are always available should you have any questions or concerns.
You have an initial consultation to ensure that TMS is right for you, or you can be referred by a psychiatrist. We will create a treatment plan based on your specific needs, which may change on a weekly basis as symptoms get better. Most people come in 5 days per week for 4-6 weeks, followed by an optional 6-session taper.
TMS doesn’t cause any disruptive side effects. Some patients have temporary, mild headaches after their sessions. However, you can drive yourself to and from your appointments and don’t need to take any time off of school or work. Other patients may experience mild facial movement during the stimulation, which ceases immediately once the treatment is over. The risk of seizure is less than 0.1%, which is less than traditional antidepressant medication.
TMS and Express TMS are both extremely effective treatments for depression. Some people notice significant improvements in mood within the first week. Others tend to notice that their symptoms slowly lessen as they continue with the TMS course.
TMS & Brain Health conducts thorough evaluations to determine if TMS therapy is right for you. In most cases, you need to be in good health, aside from your mental health condition. There are some situations in which TMS therapy isn’t appropriate, including if you have:
If TMS isn’t right for you, TMS & Brain Health also offers ketamine therapy, including infusions and intranasal sprays, as another alternative therapy for depression and other mental health conditions.
Before beginning treatment, people may want to weigh the pros and cons of TMS therapy. The best parts about TMS are that it is safe, medication-free, has a high success rate, and the results last long after the treatment is over. Additionally, TMS can be covered up to 100% by most of the major insurers. The negative aspects about TMS are that it can cause mild headaches in some people, and that individuals have to come into the office every day. We try to mitigate this by offering Express TMS, which will take just 3 minutes, but is still every day.
Step 1: Give us a call or request an appointment online. If you want to use your insurance, go ahead and fill out the TMS Pre-Approval form.
Step 2: We will schedule you for an evaluation with our clinical team.
Step 3: If you choose to go through your insurance, we will submit all of the information to your insurance and get you approved before you begin treatment.
Step 4: Begin treatment!
Call TMS & Brain Health today or request an appointment online to learn more about how TMS therapy can improve your mental health.