For thousands of Americans suffering from depression, medication is not enough. Treatment resistant depression is all too common, effecting one third of patients who fail to achieve remission despite the use of antidepressants. Others suffering from depression find that they are particularly sensitive to common antidepressants, adding nausea, weight gain, insomnia, sedation, emotional blunting, and sexual dysfunction to the list of complaints already brought on by depression.
For those suffering from treatment resistant depression or those suffering from intolerable antidepressant side effects, there is another option. Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy was approved in 2008 by the FDA for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adults who have failed to improve with antidepressant medication. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at TMS therapy, answering some of the major questions about the process and its effectiveness.
Who is a Candidate for TMS?
The FDA approved Tms for depression treatment only for diagnosed sufferers of Major Depressive Disorder who have not experienced satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication. Treatment resistant depression must be confirmed by a doctor.
What is TMS?
TMS is a non invasive, non systemic procedure that involves the placement of a coil on the scalp that generates a magnetic field. The coil is gently placed above the left prefrontal cortex where it generates a magnetic field to stimulate targeted neurons. The part of the brain that it effects is generally associated with mood regulation. The magnetic fields are of the same type and strength as those produced by MRI machines and produce small electrical currents in the brain. Those currents activate brain cells that are thought to release neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Where Do You Go for TMS Therapy?
TMS therapy is an outpatient procedure performed on patients with treatment resistant depression in a physician’s office. For patients approved for TMS Los Angeles is home to a number of doctors who administer sessions.
When Are the Treatments Given?
Treatments last for about 40 minutes and are given daily for four to six weeks.
How Are the Results?
According to the research performed on patients with treatment resistant depression, one in two patients treated with TMS experienced significant improvement in their symptoms. One in three experienced total relief from their symptoms. In clinical trials involving 10,000 treatments, only five percent of patients elected to cease treatment because of adverse effects. The most common side effect was scalp discomfort at the site of administration. Weight gain, sedation, and sexual dysfunction were not listed as side effects, nor was memory impairment, which has been cited as a side effect of electroconvulsive therapy.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy is an FDA approved alternative or supplement to traditional antidepressant medication for those suffering from treatment resistant depression. Many have experienced improvement in their symptoms after receiving treatment. Though the process is time consuming, it does seem to be effective. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing treatment resistant depression to find out if you could be a candidate. Continue reading here.