Understanding the Pros and Cons of TMS Therapy
Mental healthcare is becoming more and more accessible in the United States, offering millions of individuals a chance to live the life they’ve always dreamed of. Today we explore one such treatment called “TMS therapy.”
Research shows that 8.4% of the US adult population has experienced at least one major depressive episode. Studies also indicate that 31.9% of US adolescents and 19.1% of US adults experience anxiety or have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Having a treatment that allows people with anxiety, PTSD, and depression to regain their quality of life can be incredibly empowering. This is where TMS therapy helps.
What is TMS Therapy?
TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, is a new treatment technique designed to help patients manage symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It is a non-invasive method that aims at stimulating the nerve cells that are believed to be linked to these conditions, which are believed to be linked to these medical conditions.
In TMS, a specialized magnetic coil generates repetitive electrical impulses, which affect the brain’s electrical activity. The resultant neural stimulation has been found to increase neuroplasticity. This, in turn, reduces the severity of symptoms for various mood disorders.
Why Was TMS Therapy Created?
Conventional treatments for mental health conditions have been pharmacology and psychotherapy. Unfortunately, not every individual responds well to these treatments.
Even when antidepressants and other PTSD/anxiety medications do work, they may result in multiple side effects. These pharmacology-caused side effects impact the person’s daily quality of life and can sometimes worsen the symptoms of the conditions they seek to manage.
On the other hand, with psychotherapy, various elements need to be met for the treatment to work.
There must be:
– Patient-therapist fitment
– Correct and personalized intervention
– Right time of intervention
If these three elements don’t exist, psychotherapy may not benefit the patient. TMS therapy was designed to address the challenges posed by pharmacology and psychotherapy.
When patients do not want to experience the side effects of medication or doctors feel psychotherapy does not suit the patient’s needs, TMS therapy may be a better alternative.
Advantages of TMS therapy
Here is why TMS therapy is a great treatment option for depression and other mood disorders:
TMS Therapy Is FDA Approved
When medication and psychotherapy don’t work for them, there is a risk that some patients will seek alternative treatments, which may not be regulatory compliant. This can be very risky for your health.
On the other hand, TMS therapy is FDA-approved and compliant with the recommendations of the NICE guidelines, making it a safe and legitimate alternative treatment.
TMS Therapy Has Been Showing Promising Success Rates
According to a report published by Harvard Health, 50%-60% of patients with depression (and for whom other treatments don’t work) have experienced tremendous benefits through TMS therapy. Around 1/3rd of these patients were observed to be in remission for many months after the therapy.
TMS Therapy Is Completely Non-Invasive
TMS therapy is administered by placing a specialized machine against the patient’s head and sending repetitive electrical simulations to the brain. No surgical intervention or even a needle prick is involved in this treatment. Therefore, there won’t be any sutures or scars.
Patients Don’t Need To Go Under Anesthesia For TMS Therapy
Since this treatment is non-invasive, patients don’t need anesthesia. You will remain awake and be responsive when the therapy is going on.
TMS Therapy Does Not Have Many Side Effects
Since TMS therapy does not involve consuming or injecting drugs or anesthesia, no side effects are typically observed with medication. Similarly, some studies show how psychotherapy can have side effects like unhealthy dependency on the therapist, the resurgence of unpleasant memories/feelings, physical deterioration, etc.
None of these exist with TMS therapy. The only minor side effects you may experience with TMS therapy are a mild headache and some facial muscle twitching after the treatment. But this should subside soon after.
Patients Can Get Back To Their Normal Routine Post-TMS Therapy
There is no recovery time with TMS therapy. You can immediately go back to your routine after the procedure.
TMS Therapy Is Non-Addictive
Medication can sometimes cause addictions, which can be very harmful in perpetuating the severity of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. But with TMS therapy, there is no such addictive element involved, making it a very sustainable and holistic treatment.
TMS Therapy Can Be Used To Manage Other Medical Conditions Too
While depression, anxiety, and PTSD are the primary conditions that TMS therapy manages, the FDA has also approved it as a treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and smoking cessation.
Additionally, research is being done to test the effectiveness of TMS therapy for dementia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, TBIs, chronic pain, and other conditions.
Challenges Of TMS therapy
Every medical treatment comes with its own set of challenges, and similarly, there are a few issues surrounding TMS therapy:
People Experiencing Seizures Cannot Get TMS Therapy
It’s been observed that <.02/1000 TMS therapy sessions do experience mild seizures. Patients with seizure disorders may not find TMS therapy as helpful as other patients.
TMS Therapy Is Not Acceptable for People With Metal Implants
With metal implants sensitive to these impulses, TMS therapy, which stimulates the brain using electromagnetic fields, can be dangerous.
TMS Therapy Can Take A Long Time To Complete
For TMS therapy to work, patients need to come in for treatment continuously for 6 weeks, 5 days per week, for about 19 minutes each session.
Once you start the treatment, avoiding gaps between sessions is best. However, this time commitment may not be ideal for everyone.
Not Every Insurance Provider Covers TMS Therapy
Since TMS therapy is relatively new, not every insurance provider will cover this treatment under their mental healthcare clause. That may make this treatment expensive for some patients.
TMS Therapy Isn’t Available Everywhere
Again, because this procedure is relatively new, only some medical professionals may offer this therapy as an option.
TMS therapy can potentially support patients with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions in a holistic way. For many patients, it is beneficial because it offers so many advantages and poses so few difficulties. With TMS therapy, patients can successfully manage their condition while regaining their quality of life and having a chance to create the life they’ve always wanted.
At Pristine Mental Health, reputed doctors have successfully provided TMS therapy for many patients. They specialize in the standard 19-minute TMS therapy and the cutting-edge theta-burst stimulation, which lasts under three and a half minutes. Our state-of-the-art MagVenture 360 patient management system allows us to personalize treatment for your bespoke needs.
Pristine Mental Health also works with hand-picked insurance agencies that cover TMS therapy, and we can provide any financial guidance you need. Contact us today to learn more about TMS therapy.