The Success of TMS in Treating Clinical Depression

Clinical depression is a highly complex mood disorder affecting thousands of individuals across the world. The introduction of Transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS, a non-invasive treatment to stimulate the brain, gives these people a ray of hope to overcome their depression.

How Does TMS Work?

The non-invasive treatment uses devices that influence the central nervous system activity. The device applies powerful magnetic fields to certain parts of the brain that trigger clinical depression. No anesthesia is required.

The Different Types of TMS Devices Used to Treat Clinical Depression

There are three different types of TMS devices a doctor may use to treat clinical depression:

  1. Surface Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or Surface TMS uses a figure of eight magnetic coil, which penetrates 0.6 inches under the skull to reach certain regions of the brain.
  2. Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of dTMS uses a larger H coil, which enables the magnetic energy to enter deeper into the brain, penetrating 1.6 inches under the skull.
  3. Rapid TBS “theta burst” Therapy is a safe and effective device used to treat clinical depression with a session lasting 3 to 6 minutes, instead of 20 to 40 minutes, as is the case with other TMS devices.

What Should People Expect During TMS Treatment?

The doctor will seat the patient in a chair and give them earplugs to wear. They will place a magnetic coil on their head close to the region of the brain responsible for clinical depression. Since they are being treated for major depression, the coil will be placed in the prefrontal cortex, which is located below the forehead.

The doctor will then administer short electromagnetic pulses through the coil. The small electrical current will stimulate the nerve cells. The patient will hear clicking sounds and feel a tapping, tingling, or knocking near their head.

After TMS treatment, there is no recovery time and patients can resume their normal routines, such as driving their car and going to work.

Who Is Not Eligible for TMS Treatment?

Since TMS treatment uses magnetic energy, people with metal in their neck or head may not be eligible for the treatment. However, people with dental fillings and braces can get the treatment. Some metal objects that may make people ineligible for TMS include pacemakers, stents, deep brain stimulators, metallic eye or ear implants, aneurysm clips, and shrapnel or bullet fragments.

Anyone suffering from clinical depression should consult their doctor to determine if they are eligible for TMS.