Pros and Cons of TMS Therapy

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In recent years, TMS therapy has received considerable attention for its ability to help people who had been struggling with treatment-resistant depression and certain other mental health concerns. If you have been thinking about getting this type of treatment, it can be helpful to review the pros and cons of TMS therapy before you make your final decision.

Explaining TMS Therapy

Before we assess the pros and cons of TMS therapy, let’s take a moment to review exactly what this service is.

TMS, which stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a treatment technique that employs brief electromagnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain that have been associated with mood disorders and other mental health conditions.

The first research device for TMS therapy was developed in the mid-1980s, though this service builds on centuries of prior experimentation with electricity and electromagnetism in a mental health context.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved a TMS device to treat depression in 2008. In the years since, its authorized uses have expanded to include treatment for migraines, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and anxiety that co-occurs with major depressive disorder. The FDA also permits TMS therapy to be incorporated into smoking cessation programs.

Here’s a quick look at what happens during a TMS therapy session:

  • The patient reclines in a comfortable chair.
  • A small electromagnetic coil is placed on the patient’s scalp, usually near their forehead.
  • When the device is activated, the patient may hear a clicking sound and feel a light tapping sensation where the coil is touching their scalp.
  • The coil will deliver a rapid series of brief electromagnetic pulses. These pulses will penetrate the patient’s skull, typically reaching two to three centimeters into their brain.
  • These pulses stimulate axons in the grey matter of the targeted brain area (typically the prefrontal or occipital cortex). 
  • Experts believe the stimulating effects of TMS may increase the production of mood-related neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
  • The patient remains awake and alert throughout this process. 

A TMS therapy session usually lasts about 30 minutes. Most patients who receive TMS therapy attend five daily sessions per week for four to six weeks.

The Pros and Cons of TMS Therapy

Now that we’ve reviewed how and why this technique is used, let’s turn our attention toward some of the pros and cons of TMS therapy.

First, here are a few of the pros (or positive benefits) of TMS therapy:

  • Has been closely studied for decades and has earned FDA approval for several uses.
  • Has a documented history of helping people with depression who hadn’t responded to other types of treatment.
  • Is a safe, noninvasive technique with low risk of negative side effects.
  • TMS sessions are relatively brief, and they don’t require anesthesia. This means that you can drive a car, return to work, or meet other obligations once the session is over.
  • TMS therapy can be an excellent complement to outpatient psychotherapy. 

And here are a few possible cons (or drawbacks) of TMS therapy:

  • Some TMS patients experience slight discomfort during and after sessions.
  • Potential side effects of TMS therapy can include headache, dizziness or lightheadedness, and minor spasms involving facial muscles.
  • A full course of TMS therapy requires patients to come to the treatment center on a daily basis for several weeks.
  • Some insurance plans still may not cover TMS therapy.

When you take part in this type of treatment at a reputable center such as Conscious Health and Wellness, the professional who provides your care will discuss the pros and cons of TMS therapy before your first session, and they will always be willing to answer any questions that you have about the technique.

How to Find the Best TMS Therapy?

You’ve read about what happens during a typical TMS session. You’ve reviewed the pros and cons of TMS therapy. You believe that this service could be beneficial for you. But how can you find the right treatment provider?

When you are evaluating treatment centers that offer TMS therapy, getting answers to the following questions can help you identify the place that’s right for you:

  • How will the center assess the full scope of your mental health needs?
  • How will they determine if you’re a good candidate for TMS therapy?
  • In addition to TMS therapy, what other services does the center provide?
  • What are the qualifications of the people who will be providing your care?
  • How will the center determine if you’ve had a successful treatment experience?
  • Does the center offer discharge planning or aftercare support services?
  • Does the center accept your insurance?

Representatives of any reputable mental health treatment center should be happy to answer these and any other questions you have. At Conscious Health and Wellness, we believe that patient empowerment is a key to long-term success. We are committed to always providing you with the information that you need, so that you can make the best decisions about your treatment and your health.

Contact Conscious Health About Our TMS Program

Conscious Health offers TMS therapy and a wide range of additional services for adults whose lives have been disrupted by anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. 

We carefully designed our state-of-the-art outpatient mental health treatment center in Los Angeles to be a place of tranquility, serenity, and support. Within this healing environment, our patients receive personalized services from a team of highly skilled and deeply compassionate professionals.

When you’re ready to begin your transformative journey toward improved well-being, the Conscious Health team is here for you. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit out Contact Us page or call our center today.

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