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TMS for Depression
The use of Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for Depression has become an FDA-approved option for treatment-resistant depression that has gained much recognition in recent years. This non-invasive and drug-free treatment helps stimulate regions of the brain with a magnetic pulse, helping the brain release chemicals that make you happier.
Our TMS Center in San Diego specializes in TMS therapy, helping improve the lives of many with Major Depression who have been unresponsive to traditional treatment methods.
How TMS Treats Depression
Our Transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment center in San Diego uses magnetic fields similar to what is seen in MRI machines. These magnetic fields specifically target the brain’s prefrontal cortex, where people with depression have lower activity. This stimulates the brain with short bursts of electrical currents, exciting those parts of the brain.
This brain stimulation 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. Higher levels of dopamine can make you more alert, focused, happy, and motivated — strongly affecting your mood.
Noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter that influences your central nervous system and heart. 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. By correcting low levels of these chemicals, TMS may make a person feel better and think more positively.
The Benefits of Using TMS Therapy
Our San Diego Center’s TMS therapy can be highly beneficial for those with depression. It is a breakthrough treatment option for people with major depressive disorder. And unlike its predecessor electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), it is completely non-invasive and comes with much fewer side effects. It also does not require sedation or anesthesia, nor is there any “recovery time”. Patients may drive home following a treatment session.
Benefits of using TMS include:
- 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 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. A very rare percentage of people may also be at risk of seizures during treatment, depending on their mental condition. For some, such as people with non-removable implants, TMS may not be safe either. But this and other conditions will be discussed with your doctor before treatment.
Why You Should Consider TMS Depression Treatment
Standard depression treatment options aren’t as effective as medical professionals or patients would like them to be.
TMS has proved to be 2-3 times more effective in resolving treatment-resistant depression than antidepressant medications and/or talk therapy. Approximately 50-60% of people who have failed to benefit from depression medications experience a positive response to TMS. One-third of those responders even experience full remission, meaning they completely resolved their depression symptoms.
Psychotherapies are considered first-line treatments for depression and major depression. This behavioral health approach helps target the underlying causes of depression, correcting harmful behaviors.
Depression is also almost always treated with antidepressant medications, often combined with ‘talk’ therapies. 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
What to Expect During Treatment Sessions
Before the course of treatment, each patient undergoes an EEG assessment and mental health evaluation. With this information, a personalized TMS protocol is tailored to the patient.
The EEG detects abnormalities in your brain waves and electrical activity of your brain. One such brain wave is alpha brain waves, which are something the brain emits in a state of wakeful rest.
TMS requires a series of treatments to be effective.
During each treatment, an electromagnetic coil is placed on your head, stimulating the brain with repetitive magnetic pulses. Here, you’ll be sitting in a comfortable position receiving these magnetic pulses for anywhere from 3 to 40 minutes depending on which protocol is best for you.
A typical protocol includes rTMS at 10-12 HZ, roughly 3000 pulses, for 20 minutes. Brain Center also makes use of the innovative Theta Burst Express TMS machine. The Theta Burst device can utilize iTBS at 5 Hz (5 Bursts/second) and 50 Hz (3 pulses/burst), 300-600 pulses, for 3-6 minutes. Each treatment typically will target your dorsolateral or the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex.
TMS Depression Treatment in San Diego
Our San Diego Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Center specializes in providing TMS Therapy for Clinical Depression. If you or someone you love has been struggling with depression and hasn’t found success using traditional methods, give Brain Center TMS a call.
State-of-the-art TMS technology used at our TMS Center in San Diego may povide tremendous relief, and our patients often find full resolution of their Major Depression symptoms.
And, many insurance providers are now on-board with TMS treatment. We’re even in-network with US military service healthcare provider TRICARE, helping US service members and their families receive TMS treatment.
Don’t wait for depression to go away on its own, get help today!
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.
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.
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