Depression treatment without medication

Many antidepressant side effects are so disruptive to everyday life that some patients will stop taking them. Failure to find relief through depression medications is a factor in treatment-resistant depression. TMS therapy offers an alternative, non-invasive solution for depression.

To help you determine if you’re a good candidate for TMS treatment, take our depression self-assessment, also called the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9).

For many people suffering from major depressive disorders, the fight to feel better can feel exhausting and endless. Medication can have numerous disruptive side effects, and it can takes years to see results with traditional methods of therapy.

But what if you could feel a change in just six weeks? That’s the power of TMS.

” I would say you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. And I think you’ll be surprised at what it can do for you.”

– Todd, Active Path Mental Health Patient

What is TMS?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a safe and effective treatment for severe or treatment-resistant depression that is less disruptive to the lives of patients and their families and may be more appropriate than other therapies. If you’ve ever wondered how to control depression without medications, TMS could be the answer.

TMS is a noninvasive, FDA-cleared treatment for patients whose symptoms have not improved with at least two antidepressant prescription treatments or have not achieved the desired results. TMS for major depressive disorder is covered by most insurance plans. Read more here.


How Does TMS Work?

TMS works by using magnetic pulses to transform the neural networks of the brain. These pulses work to stimulate increased cell activity in the areas of the brain that regulate mood. One particular area, called the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, is known to be underactive during depression. This stimulation, over the course of treatment, can result in the decrease of depression symptoms.

What are the Side Effects of TMS?

The side effects of TMS are generally mild and short lasting.

The most common side effects include:

  • Mild discomfort at or near the treatment site
  • Mild headache
  • Contracting or tingling of scalp, jaw or facial muscles

TMS technicians monitor each patient’s side effects and report these issues to the treating provider. Often these can be mitigated by reducing stimulation or taking over-the-counter medications prior to the procedure. Clinical studies of TMS have shown minimal side effects and no adverse effects on cognition or sleep.

In comparison, antidepressants are associated with a wide range of side effects, including blurred vision, dry mouth, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, headache or migraine, insomnia, nausea, sexual dysfunction and weight gain.

How Effective is TMS?

Clinical studies indicate that 67% of patients have a good response to TMS, and 45% of patients with a good response maintain remission 12 months after treatment. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some patients who experience a recurrence of their depressive symptoms usually respond to repeat sessions of TMS.


Types of TMS Therapy: Deep TMS Versus RTMS

Active Path administers Deep TMS and rTMS transcranial magnetic therapy (TMS) at our facilities using both the BrainsWay and NeuroStar TMS Therapy devices. Although the treatments differ in the size and depth of the area targeted with magnetic pulses, both types of TMS therapy have been effective for our patients. Our providers will work with you to determine the best fit for your course of treatment during your clinical evaluation. Each TMS or rTMS session takes about 20 minutes.


Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is Not TMS

A different neurostimulation therapy familiar to many is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Commonly referred to as electroshock therapy or electric shock therapy, ECT treatment has been available since the 1930s. ECT treatment uses electric shocks to trigger seizures in an attempt to change structural components of neural activity. ECT treatment can cause memory loss and disorientation, along with a host of other severe side effects.


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Find out if you or a loved one are a good candidate for TMS

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of depression and would like to learn more, try taking the Active Path Online PHQ-9 Test.