Depression can impact every aspect of your life, from completing your tasks at work to establishing personal connections with new people. There are many treatment options that a mental health provider may recommend. Common recommendations are antidepressants and psychotherapy. While they are often helpful, there are other options if those aren’t effective in decreasing your symptoms.
TMS therapy is an alternative treatment for major depressive disorder for people who haven’t responded positively to other options. But it’s important to know exactly how TMS therapy can help your depression to determine if it’s the right option for you.
Read on to learn about the basics of depression and TMS therapy, as well as how TMS works to reduce your depression symptoms.
What is depression?
Major depressive disorder, usually known as depression, is a mental health disorder that causes all-encompassing negative feelings, such as sadness and hopelessness.
Depression is known as one of the most common mental health disorders in the U.S. It affects about 8.4% of the national adult population every year. That adds up to more than 21 million people.
Major depressive disorder can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Overwhelming feelings of sadness and malaise.
- Increased irritability.
- Decreased appetite.
- Lack of interest in activities.
- Low self-esteem.
- Suicidal thoughts or ideation.
Depression symptoms can make it difficult to carry out your day-to-day tasks. The negativity and lack of interest make it hard to even get out of bed sometimes. Your negative feelings and irritability can also interfere with your relationships with friends, family, significant others and co-workers.
What is TMS therapy?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS therapy, is a non-medication, noninvasive treatment option. It’s aimed toward helping people with depression, especially severe or treatment-resistant depression. In most cases, treatment-resistant depression is often defined as depression that has failed to improve after at least two trials of medication.
TMS therapy involves placing a coil on your head that emits magnetic pulses. The pulses are sent to the areas of your brain that are involved in mood regulation. By increasing stimulation in these areas, you can decrease your persistent negative feelings and mood swings that stem from depression.
TMS therapy can also treat anxious depression, which means that anxiety has developed as a symptom of your major depressive disorder.
How TMS therapy decreases your depression symptoms
Now you know TMS therapy targets the parts of your brain that control your moods. It’s time to dive into how it actually treats your depression symptoms. The magnetic pulses that are transmitted to your brain during TMS therapy are transforming your neural networks. They affect how the neurons connect with each other and increase brain cell stimulation.
TMS therapy targets the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which can be underactive in individuals who are affected by depression. This part of your brain handles a variety of essential functions, including working memory, abstract reasoning and planning, and influences the other areas of your brain that help regulate your emotions.
To get the best results possible, TMS therapy requires a total of 36 treatments over a six-week period. You’ll receive a 30-minute treatment five times a week in an outpatient facility. It’s administered by a specially trained technician while under the supervision of a psychiatrist. They will determine the strength of the pulses that will have the best potential results for your depression symptoms.
Many of our TMS therapy patients experience reduced depression symptoms in just four weeks. While TMS therapy can’t guarantee a permanent cure for depression, about 45% of our patients experience one year of remission after a positive response to TMS.
Active Path Mental Health can show you how TMS therapy works to treat depression
If you’re struggling to manage your depression symptoms, it’s normal to want to try any potential option. But it’s also important to know about the details of your treatment so that you understand why and how your body is responding to it. Now that you know how TMS therapy works to treat depression symptoms, you can feel confident and comfortable as you explore the treatment on your mental health journey. That’s where we come in.
Active Path Mental Health has multiple locations in Oregon and Washington that can help you learn how to take control of your severe and treatment-resistant depression with TMS therapy.
To learn more about how TMS therapy works to treat depression symptoms, be sure that you contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.