Clinical depression remains the topmost health problem in the US and affects more than 40 million adults each year. Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability and is more prevalent in women than in men. Around 75% of people suffering from mental disorders remain untreated in developing countries. It’s a growing mental illness worldwide as pharmaceutical companies race to develop new drugs for the treatment of common depressive disorders. The medical community continues to search for new and safer alternative therapies, which eventually led to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation was first developed in 1985, and was considered safe for treating various disorders. It received a monumental step by getting the US Food and Drug Administration approval in 2008 as an alternative treatment for Major Depressive Disorder. As a non-invasive and non-systemic procedure with minimal side effects, health care providers consider TMS as a safe and effective treatment for depression.
TMS is Safe and Easy
Compare to conventional depression treatment which requires taking prescription drugs, TMS therapy has not been associated with undesirable side effects like addiction. Patients will not experience excruciating side effects like sleep problems, digestive problems, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction. Most patients can only feel mild to moderate temporary discomfort at the site of the coil following the first round of treatment.
Doctors and experts can confirm that TMS therapy is a safe and effective alternative treatment for Major Depressive Disorders. And because of it’s continued success, there a number of on-going studies experimenting with TMS as another form of treatment for various diseases.
It’s a proven safe technique for all patients; TMS is gaining popularity across the globe. As an FDA-cleared method, TMS consistently show its efficacy in treating other health problems like PTSD, stroke, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, eating disorder, even as pain management.
A Good Alternative to Prescription Medications
TMS is a non-invasive and non-systemic technique that has lasting positive effects. Even with patients who failed to respond to previous prescription medications and psychotherapies. This relatively new technique targets the brain area associated with depression. It regulates brain chemistry thus promoting a well and balance activity in the brain.
It uses electromagnetic pulses similar to MRI and precisely targets the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This helps to regulate the mind’s unique electrical activity. TMS can activate inactive brain cells while suppressing overactive regions without the use of any antidepressant drugs.
Prescription Drugs’ Adverse Side Effects
Using prescription drugs and antidepressants may work for about a fraction of people suffering from Major Depressive Disorders. Sadly, the majority of the patients do not respond to these medications and its long-term effectiveness, side effects, and costs are some of the downfalls of antidepressants. But the biggest concerns in taking prescription drugs are the debilitating consequences. Experts estimate about 70% of people who tried alternative therapies like TMS have a better chance of recovery and beating depression, in the long run, compared to taking medications.
TMS directly stimulates brain neurons and in building new neurotransmitters to release ‘happy hormones’ within the brain structure. The technique jump starts the brain in having the natural action of regulating its structure and chemistry. Even without any prescription drugs and medications involved, it does not illicit major side effects of addiction and drug overdose. Patients can undergo TMS therapy without the fear of having to take medications or undergo major surgeries.
Health care providers use TMS therapy as a long-term preventive measure for depression relapse, one of its biggest advantages. TMS therapy stimulates the brain in keeping those newly formed neural pathways linked together for the life of the patient.
TMS Side Effects
There are certain side effects that patient may experience during TMS procedure, but these are just minor health concerns. Since the TMS machine function like an MRI, some of its side effects are related to later like headaches and dizziness. Some may experience slight tingling sensation at the site but will eventually subside following the therapy.
However, patients with metallic implants, cochlear implants, pacemakers, bullet fragments, and the likes are prohibited from using TMS therapy. Patients kept fully awake during each session which may last for about 40 minutes in five times a week over the course of four to six weeks of treatment. Since it’s done inside a doctor’s office without any anesthesia or surgery involved, patients can immediately go back to their daily tasks following the treatment.