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What is TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an in-office procedure that can relieve symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. This safe, effective treatment uses electromagnetic waves to stimulate specific parts of the brain. 

This type of therapy can seem intimidating to those unfamiliar with it. Some people may confuse it with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which can have significant side effects, including memory loss. The two procedures could hardly be more different.

It is essential to understand that it is a non-invasive procedure with few side effects. It is also only used in cases where no other intervention has worked.

What Happens in a TMS Session?

In a TMS therapy session, the doctor sets an electromagnetic coil on the patient’s head just above the forehead. When turned on, this coil sends electromagnetic waves into some regions of the brain that require stimulation. 

 

TMS does not require anesthesia nor cause pain. Patients can drive themselves to and from a session. While electromagnetic waves may sound intimidating, they are just like the technology used in an MRI.

What Does TMS Treat?

Currently, TMS is used primarily for depression patients who do not respond to other treatments. However, there is research underway to see whether TMS can work effectively on other disorders, including ADHD, schizophrenia, and OCD, to name a few.

 

TMS is best suited for people who have tried other interventions for depression without success. This may mean that several different medications did not relieve symptoms or that the medications’ side effects were too much to handle. TMS patients have usually also tried talk therapy.

FAQs About TMS

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