The idea of placing magnets on your head may seem odd as a medical procedure. But, nowadays, it is a method used to treat many mental conditions. This treatment, like any other therapies looking to treat mental illnesses, doesn’t offer an absolute guarantee for success. So, how successful is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
How TMS Works
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is exactly that. They place a high power electromagnet on key places on your scalp or forehead. This is to deliver magnetic pulses that affect your brain cells. There is no surgery, needles, cutting, or any other invasive procedures involved other than maybe a little adhesive. TMS stimulates certain areas of the brain, targeted to treat depression. According to some research, it also has potential to treat autism or Asperger’s.
An Alternative to Pills
People who seek alternatives to dangerous mood-controlling medications can now turn to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. In some cases, people who suffer depression do not respond to psychiatric drugs. Some cannot tolerate the drugs or find other holistic methods ineffective. In other cases, patients cannot use drugs to treat their conditions. An example would be pilots or other people who need to be functional while under treatment and cannot take psychoactive drugs.
Depression is a gripping condition. It cannot easily be detected due to a person’s inclination to isolate themselves. The condition can go undetected due to ignorance and misinformation of people around the affected person. This is often the case for adolescents who cannot tell depression from the normal roller-coaster emotions of puberty. If left unattended, depression can lead to further damages to the person quality of life. In severe cases, it can end in suicide or other permanent damage.
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TMS Success Rate
According to most clinics that offer TMS, the success rate of treating persistent depression with TMS range between 70% to 80%. In severe cases of depression, the full treatment has a 60% to 75% success rate. This is to fully treat or significantly reduce the symptoms. The treatment involves numerous sessions, lasting 25 or more procedures. The effect is gradual and may come with some side effects, but all can be managed. Once a patient reaches about half the recommended treatment cycles, dramatic improvements can be seen.
The success rates are not just from the treatment alone. Like all manner of conditions such as addiction, maintenance is key. The success rate is solid, but maintenance is what keeps remission at bay.
Nearly 20% of patients who undergo this treatment do not produce successful results. But for those who did find the treatment effective, their lives have been changed for the better. Their days in the dark have brightened to a colorful new perspective. They are given hope for better living that everyone else experiences naturally. This chance of a better life reflects how TMS can offer a positive impact.
Still, TMS is still a young technology. Further clinical trials are done every day to see how else TMS can improve and affect the brain. There are clinical trials already set to try TMS treatment on people suffering from constant migraines. Further research can only tell how we can benefit from TMS and how the therapy can be used more effectively.
To set up an appointment for TMS in Florida or to simply ask any questions you might have about the procedure, feel free to contact us anytime.
Research into the way our brains work has progressed exponentially over the last few decades. We are the only life on earth that looks into ourselves, what makes us tick, what makes us think, and what makes us, us. Our brains function through signals, powered by electricity created by our own body.
We’ve tried to master the way the brain utilizes electricity. This started by directly inserting pins that delivered charges to the brain. The brain responded, allowing us to get a rough map of what part of the brain controls which part of the body. Afterwards, we experimented to make practice safer and more beneficial. Still, we continued to search for other methods since inserting pins into the brain is, well, pretty scary.
There are many technological leaps made in this field like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Another path we took is through Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
What is TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
It needs three things: an electromagnetic coil, a machine to deliver precise electric signals, and your brain. The electromagnetic coil delivers a weak magnetic pulse that stimulates brain cells. The stimulation causes neurons to react. This produces certain effects that could be benign or beneficial to people. As far as the research is going, it’s positive.
Adverse Effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
With positive effects always come adverse effects. Like all medicine, the goal is to produce as much benefit while minimizing the negative effects. The procedure can cause loud “taps”, simulating sound. Some patients can have their hearing lessened for an hour or two. In some rare cases, it can cause fainting and minor memory impairment. The cases are isolated but possible.
Uses of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
TMS is used to diagnose damage from stroke, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders, injuries and other damages to the neurons, both in the brain and the spinal cord. The effects are measured, allowing doctors to get a proper map of which functions are compromised.
It’s also used to treat major depression. According to research, it has effects on slowing down addiction. With continued therapy, it allows effective suppression of mental impulses due to addiction and withdrawal.
The same effects were shown to have improvements in treating migraine and other neuropathic pain. This is recommended for conditions where regular treatment of drugs are ineffective, or if the patient cannot tolerate the regular treatments
Future Implications of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
The potential benefit of TMS is not fully embraced yet. But further research shows positive results for treating Autism Spectrum and Aspergers. There are also aspirations and speculation about the use of TMS in furthering brain development. There’s prospective data that may suggest TMS can help stimulate brain cells. Its effect on depression also shows potential for treating other psychological disorders. This can range from emotional or mood disorders caused by trauma or other pathological reason.
Clinical trials are still ongoing. The effects of electromagnetism on the brain is still in its infancy, but as time passes, our technology evolves exponentially.
We live in a more mentally-compromised world today – at least there is much more awareness of mental health now. There are 350 million people who suffer from depression according to the World Health Organization. At least 16 million of those people live in the United States. There are 40 million Americans whose lives are negatively-impacted by Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety disorders often come coupled with other disorders, like substance abuse, depression, and more. Obsessive compulsive disorder affects 2.2 Americans as well. Due to the many disorders that debilitate the population today, millions of prescriptions are given. This has a ton of profound side effects that are sometimes arguably worse than the conditions being treated.
Solutions a Worldwide Epidemic
That is why research is being done to find ways that can help the mental situation the world is living in. The search for an effective panacea for mental illnesses is continuing day-by-day. One of the most promising cures that have little to no negative long-term impact is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
TMS encourages the neural pathways that focuses on the limbic system. It encourages it to do more of its work. This, in turn, fosters more positive chemicals in the brain to counteract the effects of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. People who suffer from depression and anxiety have a weakened limbic system that does not function “normally”. Rather than getting prescription pills to carry chemicals that force your brain to function in an unnatural manner, TMS simply uses magnetic vibrations to stimulate the limbic system.
TMS Side Effects
There is little to no negative side effects when someone goes through TMS therapy. The most common complaint is just a minor headache. This is expected since the brain is stimulated much more than what it normally goes through. This is similar to someone who has just started working out and is feeling some muscle pain. TMS functions like working out, but it targets very specific areas. Can you imagine doing 15000 push-ups and 10000 laps around the gym? That is what TMS does but in a more scientific way. Since the areas of the brain that fosters positive sensations does not get to produce a lot of activity, the therapy session makes those areas of the brain to work more.
Why do TMS don’t have a lot of negative side effects? This is because this kind of therapy is both non-invasive and non-systemic. It is non-invasive because it does not open up your body with cuts like a surgical operation. It is non-systemic because you do not ingest it orally. This is unlike antidepressant drugs and other prescription pills. A surgical operation has the risk of complications. Plus, taking oral medicine does have effects that are not wanted and not intended, like damage to the liver and kidney.
Major Results, Minor Problems
If you go through a TMS session, the most unwanted side effect would either be some minor headaches throughout a day or at most a few days. Other side effects include minor hearing impairments and discomfort in some areas of your head. Studies have shown no negative side effects for 257 patients, with 45% of those patients reporting complete remission. Another study regarding TMS includes more than 800 patients surveyed. Other than a headache for a few days that can come and go, no negative long-term side effects were seen.
TMS is Worth Looking Into
Imagine the liberating feeling of no longer being chained by your depression or your anxiety. To put the icing on the cake, there are no long-term side effects as proven by real-life medical case studies. You can have a more joyful life without the medicines and you give the happy area of the brain more exercise. You can get that only through TMS. To learn more, Contact TMS of the Palm Beaches today.