Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a depression treatment that is non-invasive and doesn’t involve the use of any drugs. In TMS therapy, the prefrontal cortex of your brain is stimulated with a magnetic field. This helps brain cells function and regulate your mood more effectively. It gently stimulates the areas of the brain that are under-active with depression.
At Embrace Psychiatric Wellness Center, we offer safe, effective, and FDA-approved treatments that are designed to help patients feel like themselves again. We are a certified TMS treatment center, with locations in Westfield and Freehold, NJ.
During your appointment, one of our certified, personable, and trained team members will help make your mental health treatment experience comfortable and enjoyable throughout each session.
One of our highly trained TMS technicians, Renee, provides all the answers to your questions about this treatment:
What is TMS?
TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) uses a highly focused series of magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which tends to be under-active in individuals with depression.
Who is a good candidate for TMS?
TMS is FDA-approved for adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) and/or anxiety. Most insurance companies require a patient to have failed traditional antidepressants prior to approving TMS treatment. TMS can be used in conjunction with medication, or as an alternative to medication. TMS is safe for individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What are the contraindications for treatment?
Contraindications for TMS include the presence of metal implanted in or around the head (such as cochlear implants, stimulators, or drug pumps, etc.). Individuals with seizure disorders or a history of seizures would need to be considered on a case-by-case basis and may require clearance from a specialist.
What are the common side effects of TMS?
TMS is a generally well-tolerated treatment with few relative side effects. Some common side effects are minor scalp discomfort at or around the treatment site, facial twitching, and headaches during the first few treatments.
How long does it typically take for TMS to be effective in treating depression?
Some patients see a decrease in depressive symptoms within the first few weeks of treatment, for others it may take until week four or five to see results. Everyone is different so if it takes longer to notice symptom relief, it does not mean the treatment is ineffective. TMS is designed in such a way that results continue even after the 36 sessions are complete.
What is the difference between TMS and ECT?
TMS is non-invasive and is not to be confused with Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). TMS uses magnetic impulses to stimulate specific regions in the brain that play a role in depressive symptoms. Unlike ECT, TMS requires no recovery period or long-lasting side effects, such as memory loss, making it easy to resume your daily activities after a TMS session.
How to prepare for your first TMS session?
Feel free to bring anything that will make you comfortable during treatment. You may want to bring water and keep some OTC medicine on hand in case of a headache. Some individuals use earplugs during their sessions, which our office can provide if preferred.
What happens during a typical TMS session?
During a typical TMS session, we will have you sit or recline in the chair while the technician positions the machine in the correct spot (which is determined for each patient during the TMS mapping). Once treatment begins, the technician will be in the room with you for the duration of your session. Feel free to relax in silence, listen to music or a podcast (without headphones), or chat with your technician – whatever makes you feel most comfortable!
How long is the course of treatment?
TMS sessions occur daily for approximately 20-30 mins a session, Monday through Friday, for 36 consecutive sessions.
Will missing a session do anything?
We understand situations arise that may prevent patients from attending a session or two, which will not impact the overall effectiveness of TMS. However, we strongly encourage patients to attend sessions on a consistent basis to get the most out of TMS.
Is TMS covered by insurance?
TMS is covered by most major insurance companies.