What to Consider When Choosing Between TMS Therapy and Ketamine Infusions
Sometimes, the only thing harder than living with depression is treating it. For some, an antidepressant prescription is enough to rein in the adverse effects of an ongoing mood disorder. For others, those medications are not enough to knock out mental health conditions that are often resistant to traditional treatments.
People’s bodies respond differently to various types of depression or anxiety treatment. What works for one person does not always work for someone else. The bad news is that this often makes settling on an effective treatment a gradual process of trial and error. The good news is that, with the wide variety of treatment options available, even if one doesn’t do the trick for you, there’s a good chance another one might.
Two of the most promising treatment options for persistent mood disorders today are TMS therapy and ketamine infusions. That’s why TMS & Brain Health is proud to be the first clinic in Southern California to specialize in these life-changing treatments.
If you’re suffering from severe depression or anxiety with little relief, TMS or ketamine infusion therapy might be the answer. But how do you know which one is right for you? Here is some information to consider.
What Is TMS Therapy?
“TMS” stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation, a non-invasive treatment that uses strong and precise magnetic pulses — similar to those used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — to stimulate the brain’s limbic system. This system controls emotional and behavioral patterns and is known to be involved in depression.
It is interesting to note that 40% to 50% of patients who have had unsuccessful outcomes with depression medications show a clinically meaningful response to TMS treatments. Based on that statistic, TMS & Brain Health is proud to offer TMS therapy in Los Angeles.
What Is Ketamine Infusion Therapy?
Ketamine is a powerful medication originally used as a pediatric anesthetic. A growing body of evidence shows that smaller doses of ketamine can relieve depression symptoms when other treatments have failed. Ketamine works differently than other medications such as SSRIs, which have to build up over time before they can change brain chemistry. Ketamine almost immediately starts altering neurotransmitter activity in the brain.
With experts such as former National Institute for Mental Health director, Thomas Insel, touting ketamine infusions as “the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades,” TMS & Brain Health is happy to provide our patients with ketamine infusions in Los Angeles.
What Are the Side Effects of TMS and Ketamine?
One important thing to keep in mind when considering any treatment option is the possible side effects. Even in cases where a treatment proves beneficial, there are times when the side effects are so negative and persistent that they defeat the whole purpose. Fortunately, the side effects of TMS therapy are minimal. The most common include a tingling or tapping sensation in the scalp or face, lightheadedness, and headaches.
Side effects of ketamine are similarly minor in most cases, with the most common being slight muscle tremors, elevated heartbeat, nausea, and a feeling of dissociation — a kind of “out of body” experience. Fortunately, even the worst of these side effects tend to last no more than four hours after initial treatment.
How Frequently Will I Need Treatments?
Another thing patients should keep in mind is how often they’ll need to receive treatments. Because TMS therapy requires special equipment operated by an experienced specialist in a controlled environment, in-office sessions are needed. Although the treatment course for TMS therapy lasts just six weeks, it does require patients to come into the clinic five days per week.
How frequently should patients receive ketamine infusions? Unlike TMS, ketamine infusion therapy initially calls for six infusions spaced out over two to three weeks. This typically means having an infusion every other day or every two days until all six are completed. After that, ketamine boosters can be provided on an as-needed basis, usually consisting of two infusions spaced one or two days apart.
What Does My Health Insurance Cover?
When weighing the pros and cons of TMS therapy or any other mental health disorder treatment, one consideration that unfortunately can’t be overlooked is what a patient’s health insurance will and will not cover. While most major private insurance companies cover TMS, every insurance company has different criteria, and most insurance companies change their policies throughout the year.
As for ketamine, in some cases, a patient’s insurance will cover a portion of the treatment procedures but not the entire infusion. Those who are unsure whether their insurance will approve TMS or ketamine infusions can always fill out a TMS & Brain Health pre-approval form. Our patient care coordinators will reach out to let you know the likelihood of your insurance covering TMS therapy.
Talk to a TMS & Brain Health Professional about Treatment
Every patient is different, with varying lifestyles, symptoms, and treatment needs. That’s why, when you visit TMS & Brain Health, our specialists always perform a comprehensive evaluation to understand your mental health condition fully. From there, we develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and help you manage your daily stresses.
Ketamine infusions and TMS therapy are just some of the alternative healthcare treatments TMS & Brain Health has to offer. Contact us today to learn more about what options we provide and how TMS & Brain Health can help improve your quality of life.