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TMS for Major Depressive Disorder

Transcranial magnetic stimulation for Major Depressive Disorder

TMS for Major Depressive Disorder | Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was first approved for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in 2008. Since then, it has helped hundreds of thousands of patients regain their lives back. MDD has a prevalence of nearly 7 percent in the general population. First-line treatment therapies have always been antidepressant medications and psychotherapy; however, as many as 30 percent of those suffering do not respond to these treatment methods.

TMS in the treatment of MDD

Since its FDA approval, there have been numerous randomized, controlled trials investigating the efficacy of TMS in the treatment of MDD. These studies indicate the efficacy of TMS in patients who continue to suffer debilitating symptoms of treatment-resistant depression despite multiple trials of medications and other conventional forms of treatments, such as psychotherapy.

Depression is serious and can take a heavy toll on a person’s mental, physical, and spiritual health – changing how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. Like medications, TMS aims to stimulate your brain chemically and has proven to work more effectively for those resistant to medications. Specifically, TMS therapy involves using very short pulses of magnetic energy to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.

TMS is non-invasive

TMS is non-invasive, does not involve surgery or anesthesia, and does not require the insertion of intravenous lines or anything else put into your body. Put, TMS uses a small electromagnetic coil controlled by a computer program to deliver short, powerful bursts of magnetic energy-focused precisely on the left side of the brain’s frontal cortex – much the same as used with an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

A treatment coil is placed on the head just above the left eyebrow, which targets the brain, called the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is involved with mood regulation. TMS magnetic fields reach about 2-3 centimeters into the brain and produce minimal electrical currents. These electrical currents activate specifically targeted cells, which release neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

Typical TMS initial treatment course

TMS for Major Depressive Disorder | The typical initial treatment course consists of five treatments per week over a four to six-week period, for an average of 20-36 total treatments. While a schedule for “maintenance” TMS treatments has not yet been established, it is recommended to maintain depressive symptom relief.

Unlike medications, TMS does not cause undesired systemic side effects.

Since its initial FDA approval, newer forms of TMS have been approved by the FDA. One such form is called theta-burst TMS therapy. Theta burst is also commonly referred to as intermittent TBS (iTBS). This form of TMS significantly shortens the standard treatment protocol. It allows for multiple treatments a day performed over a few days, thus providing effective relief in a much shorter time for some patients.

Before receiving TMS, a TMS therapy-certified physician is recommended to evaluate you to ensure you are an appropriate candidate for TMS. Nearly all major insurance plans cover TMS for the treatment of MDD; however, prior authorization is generally required and typically done by the TMS therapy clinic. While standard TMS is generally covered by insurance, it is important to note that other forms of TMS, such as theta-burst, may not be covered by your insurance.


ABOUT TMS DIRECTORY | TMS Directory connects TMS groups, communities, and individuals across the U.S. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a leading-edge technology that uses magnetic waves to gently stimulate nerve cells in the brain. TMS is a non-invasive treatment most commonly used for the treatment of major depression.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy  | TMS therapy is a particularly useful tool for treatment-resistant depression in patients who have failed to respond to medication or other treatments.

TMS HELPS | If you are someone who suffers from depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or another condition, and you are seeking TMS therapy as a treatment option – TMS Directory can connect you with someone in your area who specializes in treating these conditions with the most advanced forms of medicine.

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Please also see
PHQ-9 Depression Screening
Disability Rating Scale
TMS for the Treatment of OCD
TMS Treatment Bipolar Depression

TMS for Major Depressive Disorder