Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) are therapies administered to the brain. They are used to treat mood disorders and mental illnesses. Before we delve into the comparison, let’s define the two.
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Definition Of ECT And TMS
ECT is usually done in a hospital setting. An electric current is used in this type of therapy. The current is administered to the brain via electrodes placed on the scalp. This is intentionally used to result in patients experiencing a series of “generalized seizures.” It is usually associated with certain side effects; the serious ones include memory loss. ECT is also known as shock therapy or electroshock therapy.
On the other hand, TMS is usually done in an outpatient setting and can also be done in a doctor’s office. Usually, TMS has little to no side effects. This non-invasive method stimulates specific regions of the brain using electrical currents. These currents are delivered by pulsed magnetic beams that are of high intensity.
Side Effects Of ECT And TMS
ECT: This type of therapy produces a number of side effects. These include muscle aches, confusion, nausea, and headaches. Because confusion after the therapy is possible, patients are observed for a certain time frame in an inpatient setting. After which, they are released.
TMS: TMS has little to no side effects. However, some patients experience mild discomfort in their scalp. Usually the discomfort is located in the area where the coil is situated. The discomfort usually only lasts for only a short period of time and is remedied by temporarily reducing the magnetic pulse’s intensity. The intensity is then adjusted according to the patient’s needs.
TMS: There has been no report of memory loss after TMS has been administered to a patient. Actually, evidence exists stating that TMS is a good therapy for enhancing one’s cognitive functions.
ECT: ECT is actually related to two different types of memory loss. First, it is associated with short-term memory loss. In this scenario, the patient is unable to recall recent past events. For example, he might not remember what time he woke up or what food he ate before going to the session. The second one is a long-term memory loss. In this scenario, the patient is unable to recall events that happened in the more distant past.
According to medical professionals, TMS is a safe procedure. It does not require the administration of anesthesia. Thus, the patient is not at risk of cardiac or respiratory arrest. In addition, it does not result in serious side effects.
ECT is also considered a relative safe procedure. However, it has more side effects compared to TMS. ECT patients undergo the administration of anesthesia. This carries possible risks. However, the risk of cardiac or respiratory arrest (due to anesthesia) that results in death is about one in ten thousand.
When you are opting for a particular type of therapy, it is best to weigh your options. To learn more about TMS and its benefits, please contact TMS of the Palm Beaches through our Contact Us page.