As medical science continues to evolve, so does our fundamental understanding of what depression is and how it works. As a result, we’ve discovered countless treatments for depression. However, everyone is different, and each case of depression is unique. That’s why some treatments don’t work for some people. If the treatments you’ve tried aren’t yielding the results you expected or you simply want to stay on top of your mental health, maybe you should consider transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Simply put, TMS doctors use magnets for depression by stimulating the areas of your brain associated with mood.
TMS has helped thousands of patients treat their depression. But how exactly does it work? We’ll explain the TMS process in this post, and we’ll also address some questions you may have concerning the procedure itself.
How Using Magnets for Depression Works
The mechanics of TMS rely on electrical charge. In order to really dig into the way magnetic energy affects the brain, it’s important to understand how neurons communicate and what neurotransmitters do.
In short, the neurons in our brains must communicate with one another to process information. Neurons communicate by releasing and receiving neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry a set of instructions for the neuron that receives them. In order to release a neurotransmitter, a neuron requires a small electrical signal.
Once a neuron is “triggered” by an electrical impulse, the neurotransmitter is released and passed along to the next neuron across a small gap between the two called a synapse.
Depression is commonly linked to an issue with the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, three of the key chemicals that regulate our moods. TMS uses an electromagnetic field to manually provide an electrical impulse to the neurons responsible for releasing these neurotransmitters. Once these neurons are triggered, they release the neurotransmitters that can improve your mood.
Now that you understand the basics of using magnets for depression, let’s move on to what you can expect during and after your first TMS treatment.
What to Expect When You First Receive TMS Treatment
When you walk into our office for your first TMS treatment session, you’ll be directed to a room with a comfortable chair inside. Attached to the chair, you’ll see the therapy system, which consists of an extendable arm with a wand on the end of it. The wand houses the electromagnetic coils used during the treatment. The coils inside the wand emit magnetic pulses designed to stimulate the nerve cells in your brain.
When it’s time to start the treatment session, you sit in the chair while the TMS Coordinator positions the wand around your head to target and activate the low-activity areas of your brain responsible for mood and depression. Over time, TMS patients see improvement in their overall mood and symptoms of depression.
TMS is not only effective, but 100% non-invasive. This means that most patients experience zero discomfort during the procedure. However, some patients have reported slight discomfort from the tapping sensation on their scalp. In rare cases, slight discomfort may arise from the inadvertent stimulation of a nerve in the scalp or face. It’s important to communicate with your TMS doctor so they can adjust the settings and alleviate the discomfort instantly.
Are There Any Risks Associated With TMS?
TMS has been a common practice since 1985, and it was approved by the FDA in 2008. Although the vast majority of patients experience no side effects, some patients have reported a few extremely minor side effects like a twitching or vibrating sensation around the face and scalp. In occasional cases, some patients have experienced headaches.
In the rare event that you do experience one of these side effects, they usually dissipate completely within a week or two.
Do I Need to Be Hospitalized to Receive TMS?
When using magnets for depression, there is no need for anaesthetic, sedation or hospitalization of any kind. Additionally, there is no recovery time, meaning you can walk right out of our office, drive, work, operate machinery, and go about your usual business.
We hope we’ve answered a few of the questions you may have had about TMS. If one of your concerns wasn’t addressed in this post, feel free to browse our FAQ section.
Magnets for Depression: Meet Your New York TMS Clinic
We accept most insurance plans at Mid City TMS, including Medicare. So, if you’re wondering whether or not you can afford TMS treatment, our helpful staff is more than happy to discuss your insurance coverage and payment options.
If you’re dissatisfied with your current depression treatment plan, don’t hesitate to contact us online by filling out a short form today. You can also give us a call at 212-517-1867.