Depression is a treatable mental disorder. Unfortunately, not everyone can benefit from traditional treatment methods. TMS therapy can help people recover from depression when other medications and therapies have failed.
This new therapy has showed positive results for patients suffering from ailments such as major depression, anxiety, migraines, autism and more. This has led many to ask about the long terms effects of TMS.
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In 2008, the FDA approved Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive method for stimulating brain activity and the regions of the brain associated with depression. The use of magnets and coils has proven to be a safe technique better than any other available treatments.
Lasting Effects of TMS Therapy
According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, two-thirds of 120 patients who tried TMS therapy didn’t experience episodes of relapse during the year following treatment. The study concluded that TMS therapy can treat depression when all other paths of antidepressants and therapies haven’t worked.
Treatment can cost a lot lasting several weeks for a complete session, but worth it. TMS therapy is still cost-effective given how depression impacts the lives of the patients. It offers longer lasting benefits with almost no side effects and doesn’t require a host of potentially toxic medications.
TMS is considered to be a safe and relatively painless procedure. That being said, it can cause some discomfort associated with its side effects.
Common Side Effects of TMS
Side effects consist mainly of mild to moderate pain at the site of the stimulation. But will improve and decrease over time after the patient’s session. This may include the following:
- Scalp discomfort at the site of stimulation
- Tingling, spasms or twitching of facial muscles
- Neck pain
- Seizure and syncope
- Ringing in the ears
Uncommon Effects of TMS therapy
Serious side effects in TMS therapy are rare. If they do occur, symptoms may include:
- Mania for people with bipolar disorder
- Hearing loss if there is not enough ear protection during therapy
Before anyone can undergo TMS therapy, doctors need to assess the physical well-being of the patient. TMS machines operate like MRI and have some issues with metallic materials as the treatment can displace or heat objects. Also, electric pulses from the TMS machine may disturb electronic circuitry in some implants. Other problematic objects and patient histories include:
- Metallic pieces near the head
- Pacemakers and other implantable medical devices
- History of seizures or epilepsy
- Any medications like neuroleptic agents
- Patients who are pregnant
- People with suffered from serious head injury
- Any history of substance abuse in the past
- Patients with brain surgery or any medical conditions associated with epilepsy
But there are certain things that the medical provider can do to lower risk, including:
- TMS therapy should only be done under the supervision of a trained and licensed physician
- A medical practitioner should be ready to carry out proper attention in the event of seizure
- Therapy should be done in a medical setting with appropriate emergency facilities
Currently, more study is needed to understand the long-term side effects of TMS therapy. But one thing remains constant based on recent studies; TMS therapy can efficiently treat depression in the long run.