Electroconvulsive vs. TMS Therapy | What to Know | Active Path

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If you’re familiar with mental health disorder treatments, you’re probably also familiar with how many varieties of treatments are out there. It’s common for people dealing with mental health disorders to try managing their symptoms with medication and talk therapy. But, in some cases, these go-to methods fail or are less effective than desired. When that’s the case, some people seek out brain stimulation therapies. One such therapy is transcranial magnetic stimulation. Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, also known as TMS therapy, is a treatment commonly used for depression and OCD. It’s usually for chronic disorders that haven’t successfully responded to traditional treatment methods.

TMS treatment uses pulses of magnetic energy that are targeted to specific areas of the brain. This energy stimulates the affected area of the brain, which leads to changes in neuronal connections. If you’re new to TMS therapy, as most are, you may be picturing something like electroconvulsive therapy. However, we feel it’s important to distinguish TMS therapy from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). After all, there are significant differences between the two. Interested in finding out what the differences are? You can learn more about what sets TMS therapy apart from treatments like electroconvulsive therapy by reading the sections below.

What are the differences between ECT and TMS therapy?

If you’re unfamiliar with TMS therapy, it might sound something similar to ECT. However, it’s important to note the differences between ECT and TMS:

  • TMS presents milder physical effects than ECT — A difference between the two is that TMS has milder physical effects than ECT. Someone undergoing TMS therapy may experience mild tapping sensations on their head. They may also experience little to no side effects other than a mild headache or skin discomfort for short periods after sessions. ECT often involves side effects like nausea, headaches, memory loss and confusion for long periods after sessions.
  • TMS doesn’t require anesthesia or sedation like ECT does — Another dissimilarity between TMS and ECT is that TMS doesn’t require anesthesia or sedation. TMS is gentle enough for patients to not require any type of medication during sessions. 
  • TMS is less disruptive than ECT — TMS therapy is also less disruptive to patients’ lives than ECT. Many patients wonder if they can return to their normal routine after their sessions. After a session, TMS patients can drive back to work or school. With ECT, patients usually cannot do so because they’ve been placed under anesthesia or a sedative. 
  • TMS is more cost effective than ECT — Insurance companies and Medicare most often cover TMS therapy. It’s a cost-effective treatment method when compared to the cost of ECT, which can add up over time.

Which method of treatment is right for me?

Are you weighing your options to determine which might be best for your mental health disorder? As mentioned above, TMS is gentler and presents fewer side effects. Not only that, but it doesn’t require sedation and is cost effective. Whether you’re dealing with a depressive disorder, TMS therapy is likely to help.

Active Path Mental Health can provide you with the TMS treatment you need

Mental health disorders have the potential to veer your life out of control and leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. They can affect your ability to function each day, your quality of life, and your relationships with others. However, treatment from our Active Path team can help you get a better hold on your symptoms. You’ll receive the treatment you need to improve several spheres of your life. Let us help you work toward a brighter future. 

Active Path Mental Health is proud to say that patients can receive treatment from locations in both Oregon and Washington. The team members at each one of our locations are dedicated to helping patients recover from their mental health disorders.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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