Learn which depression treatment option is right for you.

What to Know About TMS Treatment

Colorful brain scan shows how TMS Treatment improves commnication in the brain.

Depression is a serious, life-threatening illness. But here in Denver, where 1 in 4 Coloradans suffer from depression, it is pervasive. TMS treatment is a game-changing, non-pharmaceutical approach to treating depression. Read more to learn about the fundamentals of TMS treatment. 

How Does TMS Treatment Work?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses a magnetic field to stimulate nerve cells in parts of the brain that may be underactive in people with depression. This stimulation can help restore normal activity and improve mood in some people with treatment-resistant depression.

No drugs are used as part of TMS treatment, typically done daily for 15-30 minutes for 4-6 weeks. The painless procedure begins with a specialist mapping the specific areas to be stimulated on a cap that you will reuse during your procedure. The cap is similar to a swim cap and will be used throughout your treatment. Once mapped, the technician uses a magnetic coil that is placed against your head. The magnet then delivers the energy pulses to specific parts of the brain where they are needed most. These energy pulses help reactivate areas of your brain that depression has made underactive.

TMS has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) or major depressive disorder (MDD). This treatment is also used to treat other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety. Off-label, it can be used to treat teenage depression safely. Read our blog TMS Treatment for Teenage Depression for more information about TMS' safety and efficacy in children.

 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy presents a blend of advantages and disadvantages in its approach to treating depression and related mental health conditions. The advantages of TMS are that it is a non-invasive, targeted method for addressing treatment-resistant depression, bypassing the need for medication or invasive procedures. It boasts minimal side effects compared to traditional treatments, with many individuals experiencing temporary and mild discomfort at most. Additionally, TMS therapy provides long-lasting results for some, offering sustained relief from symptoms. However, the therapy also carries drawbacks, including the time commitment required for multiple sessions over several weeks, potential financial burdens for those without adequate insurance coverage, and variable response rates among patients. Acknowledging both the benefits and limitations of TMS therapy empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their mental health treatment journey.

 
 

FAQ's about TMS Treatment

When do I start feeling relief after starting TMS treatment?

Typically, 70% of patients start feeling relief within 2-3 weeks of starting treatment, but results may vary.

Is TMS painful?

No, TMS is a painless procedure, and can be described best as feeling like a finger tapping a small area of your head.

Does TMS involve any needles or injections?

No, TMS treatment does not require any needles, pokes, or sedation.

Does TMS have any side effects?

TMS may cause a slight headache or tingling sensation on the scalp. This feeling should stop soon after each treatment. No long term side effects have been identified at this point. TMS has been in use for over 15 years.

What advantages does TMS treatment have over other depression treatments?

Downtime is significantly lower with TMS treatments. Patients can drive themselves to and from appointments, whereas other treatments like Ketamine infusion require the patient be discharged to a responsible adult after treatment. Insurance also usually covers treatment, while other treatments are still not covered.

Is TMS covered by insurance?

Most insurance carriers do cover TMS for treatment-resistant depression if they’ve tried two to four different antidepressants without success. Our staff will submit the paperwork needed to obtain pre-approval of TMS. If TMS is not covered, we offer a reasonable cash pay rate in order to make TMS available to most. Payment plans and financing are available and check out our blog to learn more about TMS Therapy Costs.

TMS should be avoided in:

  • Patients with magnetic metal plates or devices implanted in or around their head (this does not include standard amalgam dental fillings).
  • Patients with metal fragments that respond to magnets in their head.

What to know about TMS – is it the right treatment for me?

You can always come in and talk to one of our providers at Axis Integrated Mental Health to understand which options would be best for you. Or check out our FAQs on TMS. Finally, if you want to get a head start, you can take our easy quiz to find out if TMS is right for you.

More Information:

https://www.clinicaltmssociety.org/resources/patients-family

https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/examining-the-benefits-of-tms

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/psychiatry/specialty_areas/brain_stimulation/tms/

You can always comes in and talk to one of our providers at Axis Integrated Mental Health to understand which options would be best for you. We have both psychiatric nurse practitioners and a psychiatrists on our Denver/Aurora team. Or check out our FAQs on TMS. Finally, if you want to get a head start, you can take our easy quiz to find out if TMS is right for you.

More Information:

https://www.clinicaltmssociety.org/
resources/patients-family

https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/
examining-the-benefits-of-tms

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/
psychiatry/specialty_areas/brain_
stimulation/tms/

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