Does TMS Treatment Work for Major Depressive Disorder?

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Treating major depressive disorder can come with challenges. Sometimes, it can be difficult to even recognize the symptoms. Online depression self-assessments can be helpful for those who are unsure if they have depression. For those whose experiences line up with common indications of depression, treatment can be invaluable. Do you have major depressive disorder? If so, you are not alone. Major depressive disorder is a common mental health condition. In 2020, around 14.8 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode. Fortunately, treatments for major depressive disorder can provide a way to improve your mental well-being.

If you have looked into different depression treatments, you may have come across TMS. TMS is short for transcranial magnetic stimulation. TMS is an innovative depression treatment used to treat various mental health conditions. For people with treatment-resistant depression, it can offer a needed breakthrough. As you consider your options, it can help to learn more about TMS and its effectiveness as a treatment solution.

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)?

TMS is a procedure that utilizes magnetic fields for mental health treatment. These magnetic fields stimulate specific regions of the brain to reduce depressive symptoms. During a TMS session, a coil is placed against the patient’s scalp. This coil emits magnetic impulses that target cell activity in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for mood regulation. When someone is depressed, this brain area will often be underactive. By increasing activity in the right regions of the brain, TMS can lead to a decrease in depressive symptoms. 

Benefits of TMS treatment for major depressive disorder

  • Noninvasive — TMS avoids many of the downsides of other treatment routes. More invasive treatments like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be highly disruptive. In addition to requiring medical anesthesia, ECT can have major side effects like memory loss. While ECT may be recommended in extreme cases, TMS can provide similar benefits with less side effects. Receiving transcranial magnetic stimulation is a brief and painless process. This makes it a great choice for patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder.
  • No medication required — Medication is not always the most effective way to treat depression. Antidepressant medications are often avoided due to their sometimes intense side effects. If you have avoided or stopped taking antidepressants, TMS can present a good alternative. For people suffering from chronic depression, the constant fight for mental health improvement can be draining. Trying different treatments without seeing positive results can make the effort feel wasted. Fortunately, TMS is designed to offer real help with depression that has resisted other treatment modalities. TMS therapy can help you feel a change in as little as six weeks, all without a need for medication.
  • Targeted stimulation — TMS allows for precise targeting of specific brain regions. Treatment focuses on areas of the brain involved with regulating mood. Delivering TMS treatment to these specific areas can modulate the neuronal activity involved with depressive symptoms. This can alleviate depressive symptoms like anxiety. Because of this precision, TMS has fewer side effects relative to medication while often providing increased benefit. When the target stimulation takes effect, it can boost your mood and energy levels. Your improvement chances are high; 79% of patients show a greater than 25% reduction in depression symptoms. Around a third of patients are able to achieve full remission through TMS treatment for major depressive disorder.
  • Minimal side effects — Compared to other approaches, TMS treatment has fewer systemic side effects. The effects that patients do report tend to be mild and brief. Common effects include mild headaches and tingling in the facial muscles. When you receive TMS treatment, a technician monitors your status and can report any issues to the treating provider. TMS does not have any risk for weight gain, which can be a side effect of some antidepressants. This can make it an attractive option for those who have already had unproductive experiences with medication.

Active Path offers TMS treatments for major depressive disorder

Are you ready to treat depression without taking a pill? Want to improve your mental health with TMS treatment? Active Path is here to help. Our expert mental health services include counseling services and deep transcranial magnetic stimulation. Whether you have been struggling with depression for years or this is a newer concern, with personal guidance from our experienced team, you can take the next step on your path to recovery. 
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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