Treating Depression Without Drugs

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that has been proven effective for treatment-resistant depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a clinically proven treatment for patients with depression or other psychiatric disorders. At our center, we use the Apollo TMS Therapy System, a unique, high quality design which has an inviting, modern look. Access the Apollo TMS Therapy System Brochure here.

What is TMS?

  • Pulsed magnetic stimulation of the brain
  • Safe and Painless – with no surgery, hospitalization or anesthesia needed
  • Effective – 1 in 2 patients respond to TMS (Carpenter et al, 2012)
  • Precise – targeting only the part of the brain thought to be involved in regulating mood
  • Easy on the body – with no medication required and none of the systemic side effects commonly associated with antidepressants — the most common side effect of TMS is a generally mild to moderate scalp discomfort
  • Non-Invasive – no surgery, anesthesia or sedation necessary
  • Non-Systemic – does not circulate in the bloodstream

How Does TMS Work?

Unlike traditional medication, TMS works through the principle of electromagnetic induction. A magnetic coil is placed over the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain involved in mood regulation. The TMS machine generates magnetic pulses, which travel harmlessly through the skull to noninvasively stimulate this area of the brain. The activity of brain cells in the prefrontal cortex is believed to be dysfunctional in patients with depression, and can be corrected through targeted TMS therapy. The prefrontal cortex communicates with deeper brain areas like the limbic system, which are also involved in mood regulation. Through multiple sessions, these changes can become long lasting and many patients achieve remission from their symptoms.

Side Effects and Safety:

TMS is safe and well-tolerated – does not circulate in the blood stream, causing side effects like typical antidepressant medications. Some patients report experiencing slight irritation at the scalp, mild headache or some tingling in areas of the face, jaw or scalp. There is a small risk of seizure associated with TMS, which is less than or equal to the risk associated with antidepressant medication (0.1% per treatment course).

TMS Releases Neurotransmitters in the Brain

 

TMS

  • Temporary scalp discomfort at treatment site (typically only during first week of treatment)
  • Temporary Headache

Antidepressant Medications

 

Is TMS like Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)?

Unlike ECT, TMS:

  • Does not involve sedation or anesthesia, and can be performed in the comfort of our office
  • Does not have negative effects on memory or cognition

Who is a Good Candidate for TMS?

More than 30% of diagnosed individuals with depression and seeking help do not find adequate relief from medication or psychotherapy.

TMS is for patients who:

  • Have depression
  • Have not responded to other treatments
  • Are dissatisfied or want to improve the effectiveness of their existing antidepressant regimen

TMS is not for patients with:

  • Deep brain stimulators
  • Cochlear implants
  • Vagus nerve stimulators
  • Any other active or inactive implants