Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a promising therapy to alleviate symptoms of several mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. If you or a loved one are planning to undergo TMS treatment it’s normal to have questions.
How many TMS treatment sessions are needed? How long until the TMS treatment starts working? How long do the effects of TMS treatment last?
These are all reasonable questions and it’s good to remain informed. The more educated and prepared you are for TMS treatment, the better the experience may be.
Keep reading for answers to your questions about TMS treatment.
What is TMS Treatment?
TMS treatment uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerves in certain areas of the brain. It is used primarily for diagnosed depression and anxiety. However, it is also being researched as a therapy option for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Alzheimer’s, and chronic pain.
During a TMS treatment session, the electromagnetic stimulation is applied. These signals to the brain cannot be felt, so there should not be significant pain or discomfort during the session.
The impulses are intended to activate areas of the brain that control mood. For example, when a person is depressed there is an area of the brain that may be underactive. Therefore, applying stimulation could increase the activity and reduce the symptoms of depression.
How Many TMS Sessions are Needed?
A typical TMS session lasts about 15 to 45 minutes depending on the condition and the treatment plan. There is no preparation required for each session. Generally, people are able to return to work or resume normal activities immediately after their sessions.
The first cycle of TMS sessions is usually 5 days a week for 4 to 6 weeks. After the first cycle, the sessions will reduce gradually until your mental health care provider recommends you stop. Always consult a doctor or healthcare professional if you have questions about your treatment plan.
If the first cycle of TMS sessions does not have the desired effect, a person may go through another cycle of treatment. Usually, the following cycle requires treatment 2 or 3 days a week instead of 5. Each person’s treatment plan may vary.
How Long Does it Take for TMS to Start Working?
It’s normal to wonder how long it will take before feeling the effects of TMS treatment. Everyone’s experience with TMS is different. Experiences vary based on several factors including personal brain chemistry.
Some patients start to feel the benefits of TMS treatment within the first 2 weeks of treatment. Others don’t notice the effects until several weeks into treatment.
Younger people may experience the benefits of TMS faster than older people because their brains adapt faster to changes.
For people that are using TMS treatment for depression, those taking anti-depressants may also experience benefits faster than those that are not taking anti-depressants. Anti-depressants are not for everyone. Talk to your doctor or a mental health specialist if you think anti-depressants may help you.
As with other forms of treatment, TMS works differently for different people. If you are currently on TMS therapy, be patient and follow your healthcare providers plan.
How Long do the Effects of TMS Last?
This is another common question among people interested in TMS therapy. The effects of TMS vary from person to person, but research is promising.
One study found that 50-60% of patients with depression experienced benefits from TMS that they did not receive from other treatment methods. Much of the research done on the effects of TMS is focused on depression. TMS treatment for other mental health conditions is still being researched.
Patients that benefit from TMS treatment can experience full remission from their symptoms. Others may experience a significant decrease in symptoms. Most patients continue to see an improvement in their symptoms for a year or longer after treatment.
Research on the longevity of TMS treatment is overall positive. Many patients notice a significant improvement in their condition long-term. Some even have a life-long improvement.
Patients may choose to undergo another cycle of TMS treatment at any time if their doctor recommends it. The speed of treatment benefits and the long-term effects of TMS vary. More research is being done to study to long-term effects of TMS but so far the results show a meaningful change for patients struggling with depression and other mental health conditions.
Is TMS Treatment Safe?
TMS treatment is regarded as a safe and effective treatment for depression. It may be able to offer relief from symptoms that typical medications could not.
The electromagnetic treatment is also regarded as safer than electroconvulsive therapies. However, there may be a few mild short-term side effects from TMS treatment.
After a TMS treatment session, a patient may experience soreness around the treatment site. Headaches or lightheadedness is also possible. If you experience side effects following TMS treatment, talk to your doctor.
Will TMS Treatment Work for Me?
It is difficult to predict whether TMS treatment will work well for an individual. Age, diagnosis, the severity of symptoms, and current treatment plan can all affect whether treatment is successful. Not to mention that there is still a lot researchers don’t know about the human brain and how each person’s brain differs.
If you have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, OCD, or PTSD TMS could work for you. If you have previously tried other forms of treatment or medication and they have not worked, maybe it’s time to try TMS therapy.
You can talk to a specialist to see if TMS treatment is right for you.
Live Life to the Fullest
Mental health conditions like depression can take away from a person’s quality of life. But with cutting edge technology like TMs treatment, it’s possible to help those suffering from mental illness.
Now that you know more about TMS and how long the effects of TMS treatment last you can consider whether TMS treatment might be right for you or a loved one.
If you have additional questions or want to book a free consultation, contact us today.