Depression takes away the joy of living for those suffering from the disorder. About 14 million adults suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Even worse is that there is a lot of evidence showing depression can have serious and detrimental effects on physical health.
The most common signs of depression include:
- Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
- Poor appetite
- Weight problems
- Problems concentrating
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Irritability or restlessness
- Persistent sad feelings
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
Recent studies show that people with depression or anxiety also have a higher chance of suffering strokes or heart attacks. Additionally, some people resort to destructive behavior like substance abuse and self-harm while in various states of depression.
Treating patients suffering from depression is a difficult task. Antidepressants and psychotherapy may offer relief for some people, but many are stuck in a cycle of treatment and relapse.
There is no definite method treating depression, some doctors can only rely on trial and error while hoping for the right combination of therapy and medication. Unfortunately, as many as 50% of patients don’t respond positively to any traditional methods.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved TMS therapy in 2008 as a depression treatment. This new technique uses magnetic pulses placed on the patient’s head.
TMS therapy stimulates the brain’s nerve cells associated with depression. An electromagnetic coil is placed on top of the patient’s head near the forehead. This sends out pulses painlessly to activate the nerve cells associated with mood control. TMS therapy can lessen the symptoms of depression and improve the overall mood of the patient.
It can treat the disorder as effectively as antidepressants or psychotherapy. The only difference with TMS therapy compared to other conventional treatments is the absence of any serious side effects. People who did not respond to medications and psychotherapy can benefit well from TMS therapy.
Success Rate of TMS therapy
TMS therapy can offer patients with the benefits of the traditional treatment with fewer side effects. The method uses magnetic pulses to alter the neural pathways in the brain that show little activity. These magnetic pulses help reset some of the brain’s pathways.
During a TMS therapy session, patients are seated comfortably in a chair, awake and fitted with a helmet. Patients can only feel a repetitive light tapping on the scalp. Usually, TMS sessions last for about 37 minutes for a period of 20 to 30 treatments over a 4 to 6 week period. After each session, patients can immediately resume their normal routines. Many reported having significant improvements in:
- Sleeping patterns
- Fewer episodes of ‘depressive’ thoughts
Many TMS trials show positive results in reducing symptoms of depression. This therapy is a safe alternate method for treating depression. Due to the high success rate, many people are becoming interested in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy.
One study conducted across 22 medical centers in the US, Canada, Europe, and Israel wanted to prove the efficacy of TMS therapy through a total of 230 patients who failed to improve using conventional depression treatments. The findings of the study show that 38.4% of patients experience a decrease in depression symptoms and a low relapse rate. This makes doctors and psychologists optimistic about the future of this treatment method.