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TMS for Depression
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the new non-invasive drug-free depression treatment option, is gaining recognition in the medical community as a treatment for clinical depression.
The magnetic pulse from transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment sessions can stimulate the brain to release chemicals in the brain that make you happier.
Our TMS depression treatment in San Diego has improved the lives of many with treatment-resistant depression.
Facts on Depression
Depression occurs due to imbalances or deficiencies of the brain’s neurotransmitters, as well as decreased activity in the frontal lobes of the brain (the area of the brain that controls mood). Neurotransmitters are chemical ‘messengers’ that convey signals between brain cells.
Over 17 million Americans suffer from depression each year, according to CDC statistics. About 15% of the population will have a depressive episode at some point in their life.
And it’s not just America. This common mental illness affects more than 264 million people a year, according to the World Health Organization. Globally, depression is the leading cause of disability and a major contributor to disease.
The majority of people with depression don’t get treatment. And those that do don’t always see improvement in their mental health. Roughly 50% of people on antidepressants don’t see improvement, according to one study. Another study states that antidepressants reduce symptoms of depression by 46% (in blinded participants).
That same study shows psychotherapy and other alternative therapies (exercise, acupuncture, etc.) were slightly more effective than antidepressants. A combination of therapies and medication is seen to be the most effective option for treating depression in the study.
Symptoms of Depression
Symptoms of depression may include:
- Lack of interest in usual activities or an inability to experience pleasure
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, or guilt
- Changes in sleep habits and decreased energy
- Loss of appetite or significant weight gain or weight loss
- Thoughts of death or suicide
How TMS Treats Depression
Our Transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment in San Diego uses magnetic fields similar to what is seen in MRI machines. When evaluating a patient, we use the electroencephalogram or EEG to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain.
The EEG evaluates alpha brain waves. These brain waves are emitted when you aren’t asking your brain to process a lot of information. For example, when you are warming up your muscles thus being in a state of wakeful rest.
These magnetic fields are targeted to the brain’s prefrontal cortex, where people with depression have lower activity. The bursts and stimulation duration are all dependant on the patient’s EEG but on average, we stimulate the brain with short 10 – 12 Hz bursts of electrical currents that take an estimated 20 minutes.
This brain stimulation from TMS treatment helps the brain generate serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline — all seen to be low in people with depression.
How Your Brain Chemistry Influences Your Mental Health
Serotonin is a naturally occurring mood stabilizer. It regulates a multitude of bodily functions. When your serotonin levels are regular, you feel happier, calmer, less nervous, more focused, and emotionally stable.
Dopamine is the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. It’s closely associated with the brain’s reward center, affecting the motivation in a person. When you experience something good, your body releases dopamine making you more alert, focused, happy, and motivated. It affects your mood as well as other bodily functions in synchrony with serotonin.
Noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter that influences your central nervous system and heart. It increases your blood sugar levels, heart rate, and narrows blood vessels. Having regular noradrenaline levels can lower the chance for anxiety, depression, headaches, and other health issues.
These chemicals in the brain (and many others) work together to affect the thoughts and feelings of a person. Correcting low levels of them can make someone physically feel better and think more positively.
The Benefits of Using TMS
Our San Diego TMS depression treatment can be beneficial for those with depression. It is a breakthrough treatment option for people with major depressive disorder.
Benefits of using TMS include these facts:
- High success rate — considerably higher other treatments for major depression
- Non-invasive — treatment is entirely external to the body
- Non-sedative — patients are completely awake and typically experience little discomfort
- Minimal to no side effects — the most common side effect is slight discomfort
- FDA approved — the FDA recognizes TMS as safe and effective
TMS is FDA approved and free of common side effects seen in antidepressant drugs. One may experience slight pain or discomfort, but less than 5% of people discontinued their TMS treatment due to adverse effects in clinical trials. For some, such as people with non-removable implants, TMS may not be safe. But this and other conditions will be discussed with your doctor before treatment.
Why You Should Consider TMS Depression Treatment
Our TMS depression treatment is especially helpful for those with treatment resistant depression in San Diego. Standard depression treatment options aren’t as effective as medical professionals would like.
TMS has proved to be 2-3 times more effective in resolving treatment resistant depression than antidepressant medications and/or talk therapy.
Psychotherapies are considered first-line treatments for depression and major depression. It’s natural and helps target the underlying causes of depression, correcting harmful behaviors.
Depression is almost always treated with antidepressant medications, often combined with ‘talk’ therapy. Although antidepressants can be useful for some patients, medications are too often ineffective.
Even worse, medications have systemic side effects and can become less effective over time. Millions of patients do not receive adequate relief from antidepressants or they cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them.
Side Effects of Antidepressants
Common side effects of antidepressants include:
- ‘Foggy’ Brain
- Weight Gain
- Decreased Sex Drive
- Dry mouth
TMS Depression Treatment in San Diego
Our San Diego Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Center specializes in providing TMS Therapy for Clinical Depression.
We believe magnetic brain stimulation for depression treatment will become more widely used as an option for treating mental disorders in the future. It’s a state-of-the-art technology that provides tremendous relief and often full resolution of Major Depression symptoms.
Most insurance providers are now on-board with TMS treatment for a range of mental health problems.
TRICARE Covered Depression Treatment
Brain Center TMS is now in-network with the most significant US service-exclusive healthcare provider: TRICARE. For soldiers and other service members, like the national guard, TransCranial Magnetic Stimulation may be partially or fully covered, depending on your particular insurance plan.
Not only this, but the family of service members may also be eligible for coverage through TRICARE (and therefore likely able to receive TMS). Contact us today for a free initial consultation of your insurance benefits with Brain Center TMS.
Call or Email us now to schedule a free consultation:
If you’d like to learn more about our the treatment process, please visit our TMS Procedure page.
What is the success rate of TMS for depression?
Butler Hospital studied the effectiveness of TMS on patients who had not seen significant improvements with antidepressant medication. A third of the patients reported complete relief after six weeks of treatment. Half of the patients saw significant improvements in their depressive symptoms, as well as anxiety associated with depression.
What Protocol does Brain Center use for Depression?
TMS protocols are tailored to each client depending on their EEG assessment. Though, a typical protocol includes rTMS at 10-12 HZ, roughly 3000 pulses, for 20 minutes. We also use iTBS at 5 Hz (5 Bursts/second) and 50 Hz (3 pulses/burst), 300-600 pulses, for 3-6 minutes. Each treatment will target the dorsolateral or the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex.
What is the timeline for TMS treatments?
TMS treatment sessions typically last 30 minutes. Patients may receive treatment up to five times a week. The course of treatment continues for four to six weeks.
What is the procedure for TMS?
You’ll lay day down comfortably on a chair where a magnetic coil will then be placed on your head. Magnetic stimulation will be targeted onto specific parts of your head to focus on your prefrontal cortex for about thirty minutes. After, you’ll be able to safely drive home.
Can I use medication during TMS treatment?
Yes. TMS does not require you to get off your current medication routine. TMS can also be offered as an independent treatment without medication.
What does TMS feel like?
TMS treatment is often described as a tapping sensation. Most people don’t feel discomfort during sessions and physicians may lower power, change settings, or reposition the magnetic coil for those who do.
Is TMS covered by insurance?
Yes. Most major insurances cover TMS for treatment-resistant depression with the exception of Medi-cal in California.
Scholarly Research and Publications