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What Is TMS Therapy?

woman smiling while doctor explains what is tms therapy

Major depressive disorder (MDD), in most cases, is a highly treatable condition with professional help. However, some patients struggling with MDD may also have treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Patients that struggle with TRD may have tried multiple antidepressant medications or various types of psychotherapy without experiencing a significant reduction in their depressive symptoms. Spravato™ treatment or TMS therapy is typically recommended as the last resort for patients with cases like this. Contact Alleviant Rogers today if you’re searching for TMS therapy for mental illness in Rogers, Arkansas. Call 479.309.1427 or contact our team online.

What Is TMS Therapy?

Some patients struggling with MDD may initially fear undergoing TMS therapy because it involves stimulating brain cells. Still, it’s generally safe and well-tolerated. TMS therapy could be a life-changer for those struggling with TRD.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is sometimes called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). TMS therapy is non-invasive, unlike vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) or deep brain stimulation (DBS), which both require surgery or implantation of electrodes. It’s unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which causes seizures or involves sedation. TMS therapy consists of a procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate the brain’s nerve cells and improve symptoms of depression. TMS therapy is typically recommended when other depression treatments haven’t been effective.

How Does TMS Therapy Work?

You may be wondering how TMS therapy works. What does it do to the brain to make it more effective than antidepressant drugs? During a TMS therapy session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against the patient’s scalp near the forehead. The electromagnet painlessly delivers magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells in the brain involved in depression and mood control.

These magnetic pulses are believed to activate regions of the brain that have decreased activity in depression. However, experts haven’t completely understood the biology of why TMS therapy works. It appears to impact how the brain works, which in turn seems to ease depressive symptoms and improve mood. While TMS therapy is non-invasive and generally thought of as safe, it can come with some side effects, such as the following:

  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Scalp discomfort at the site of stimulation
  • Spasms, or tingling and twitching of facial muscles

If these side effects occur, the magnetic pulses from the electromagnet can be toned down by a medical professional, or the patient can take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.

When Should You Consider TMD Therapy Services?

As mentioned earlier, TMD therapy is typically the last resort for patients struggling with TRD. If you or someone you care about has MDD and hasn’t experienced a significant reduction of depressive symptoms with other depression treatments, TMD therapy could work.

But before undergoing TMD therapy, you or someone you love may need to have a physical exam, possibly including lab tests, and a psychiatric evaluation to discuss your depression. These can help ensure that TMS therapy is safe and ideal for your case. However, due to the strong magnetic field that occurs during TMS therapy, it may not be advised for some patients who have any of the following in their bodies:

  • Bullet fragments
  • Aneurysm clips or coils
  • Any magnetic implants
  • Cochlear implants for hearing
  • Electrodes for monitoring brain activity
  • Stents
  • Implanted electrical devices, such as pacemakers or medication pumps
  • Implanted metal devices or objects
  • Implanted stimulators
  • Implanted vagus nerve or deep brain stimulators

Ready to Learn More About Alleviant Rogers’s TMS Therapy Services?

TMS therapy services can help patients with mental disorders by providing a non-invasive treatment option that can help to improve mood and ease symptoms. TMS therapy services can provide an alternative to traditional treatment methods. Contact us today if you know someone interested in learning more about TMS therapy for mental illness in Rogers, Arkansas. We are here to answer any questions and to help you determine if TMS therapy is right for you. You can reach our Alleviant Rogers team online or call 479.309.1427.