What Is TMS?

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Are you struggling with depression that hasn’t responded to antidepressants or psychotherapy? Transcranial magnet stimulation, or TMS, stimulates areas of the brain that regulate mood and can offer relief from depression and anxiety. TMS treatments, which are offered by Dr. Melissa Lopez-Larson & Associates in Park City, UT, can also help with post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a medication-free way of addressing depression, anxiety, and certain neurological disorders. During treatment, a figure-eight-shaped magnetic coil is placed on a patient’s head and used to create a magnetic field that stimulates nerve cells in areas of the brain involved in mood, and anxiety. For most patients, a series of these noninvasive treatments is recommended.

Does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Work on All Types of Depression?

Yes, this treatment has proven to be effective on mild, moderate, and severe depression.

Is This Treatment Safe?

Yes. TMS was approved by the FDA in 2013 for the treatment of depression that’s not responding to medication or psychotherapy. The use of this treatment has widened, however, and it is now FDA approved for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. There are also several off-label uses of this innovative treatment.

What Can I Expect During My Treatments?

TMS treatments are straightforward and require no anesthesia or preparation. You’ll be asked to remove any jewelry and other items that will react to magnets, and you’ll also be asked to wear earplugs that will minimize the clicking sound this treatment generates. During your first appointment, we’ll take some measurements of your head to ensure that the coil is properly placed and the machine is properly set.

Once treatment begins, you’ll hear clicking and feel a gentle tapping that is much like the tap of a pencil against the skull. You won’t feel any discomfort during the session, which may last anywhere from five to 45 minutes. In fact, you’ll be able to relax in a comfortable reclining chair during treatment. You’ll be able to resume your normal activities afterward.

Who Administers This Treatment?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment is administered by a trained technician who will be present throughout the duration of your session.

How Does This Compare With Electroconvulsive Therapy?

Although it is also used to treat depression, electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, is a completely different approach. ECT, which is sometimes referred to as shock therapy, involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain that results in a seizure. The patient is sedated during the treatment and is closely observed afterward.

Who Is TMS Treatment Right For?

You’ve Tried Medication and It Hasn’t Helped

Many of the patients who undergo these treatments have depression that hasn’t responded to antidepressants or psychotherapy. According to some estimates, 30 percent of patients with depression have what is known as treatment-resistant depression, or depression that has proved unresponsive to medication and psychotherapy. For these patients, TMS can be used to augment those traditional treatments or as an alternative.

You’re Unable To Tolerate Antidepressants

Some patients find that the side effects of antidepressant medications are not tolerable. For these individuals, this treatment offers a pharmaceutical-free way of addressing depression.

You Don’t Have Metal Implants

Because of the magnetic field produced during this treatment, it is not recommended for those with a history of seizure disorders or those who have the presence of metal in the brain near the stimulation site. If you have stimulator implants in the head, cochlear implants, or vagus nerve stimulators, you may not be a candidate. Having experienced a significant stroke or a severe brain injury also may disqualify you from treatment.

You Have Certain Other Conditions

Although primarily used to address depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, this treatment can also help those struggling with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and other neurological issues.

You’ve Been Cleared by Our Doctor

TMS is not usually used as the first line of defense against depression. Patients who undergo this treatment have already been evaluated by Dr. Melissa Lopez-Larson and are under her care. In addition to this treatment Dr. Melissa, an integrative psychiatrist, will likely put together a sleep, nutrition, and exercise plan for you.

You Can Commit to the Treatment Schedule

The treatment schedule varies depending on the patient, but it’s not unusual for individuals to undergo six weeks of appointments, with sessions taking place four or five days a week.

You’re at least 16 Years of Age

This treatment can currently be used only on patients who are 16 years of age or older. We are waiting on FDA clearance to treat younger teens and children.

Does This Treatment Really Work?

The success rate of this treatment is high. Between 70 and 80 percent of patients report a significant improvement in their depression after treatment. Many even find that a complete treatment series fully alleviates their depression.

How Quickly Does It Work?

This treatment offers results quickly, especially when compared with the speed at which antidepressants work. Medications can take as long as six weeks to deliver results. But patients often report an improvement in their mood and alleviation of depression during the first week of this treatment.

How Long Will My Results Last?

There is no definitive information about how long patients who have undergone this treatment enjoy relief from depression and anxiety. Many individuals who go through the full treatment system see their depression ease for six months to a year. Others enjoy their results for longer.

What Benefits Does This Treatment Offer?

It Can Offer Long-Lasting Relief From Depression

This treatment can significantly alleviate depression. It can boost your mood and help you regain interest in your hobbies and other things that once brought you joy. You also may find yourself engaging with friends and family again.

It Will Help You Sleep Better, Deeper

The restorative aspects of a good night’s sleep should not be overestimated. This treatment can help you sleep better and more deeply. You’ll wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and well-rested.

It Won’t Disrupt Your Routine

Although this treatment involves a series of frequent appointments, the sessions aren’t long, they don’t require anesthesia, and you’ll be able to resume your normal schedule immediately afterward. This means you’ll be able to keep up with your job and your routine. You also won’t have to worry about coping with the side effects of medication.

It Will Alleviate Anxiety

Depression isn’t the only condition this treatment can help with. It can also help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, including nervousness, rapid breathing, a sense of impending doom, difficulty concentrating, and trembling.

It Won’t Cause Memory Loss

This treatment won’t impair your memory or your ability to concentrate.

It Offers an Option for Patients Who Have Struggled To Find Relief

One of the reasons why TMS is growing in popularity is that it can offer relief to patients who have struggled to find relief from depression. It’s frustrating when traditional methods of treating depression fail. For patients in this category, TMS can offer a path forward.

Does Insurance Cover These Treatments?

Insurers sometimes cover these treatments, depending on your history. If you have unsuccessfully tried four different antidepressants, or if you’ve struggled with negative side effects brought on by antidepressants, your insurer may cover transcranial magnetic stimulation. Medicare also generally covers this treatment for patients that haven’t found success with antidepressants and psychotherapy.

It’s a good idea to check with your insurer to determine what they will cover before beginning treatment.

Take the First Step Toward Wellness Today

If you’re tired of traditional treatments that don’t work and you’re ready to feel your best again, it may be time to give this innovative approach a try. We can put you on a path toward better health and happiness. Call Dr. Melissa Lopez-Larson & Associates in Park City, UT, and schedule your transcranial magnetic stimulation consultation today!

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