Photo of TRICARE US Defence Military Health System

TMS And TRICARE: A Long Overdue Union

The 21st century has seen the rise of anxiety and depression to become some of the more prevalent health concerns across all ages. According to the World Health Organization, depression is a widespread illness faced by about 264 million people of different age groups around the world. The prevalence of the medical condition has led TRICARE, the US Defence Military Health System, to announce TMS as a basic benefit for members of the United States Military. In this article, we consider TMS treatments, benefits, and efficacy.

What Is TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a treatment administered to patients with major depressive disorders. Due to the mood alternating nature of depression, patients with major forms of depression may not get better through medication and talk therapy treatments. TRICARE notes that success is only recorded with about half of the patients treated for major depressive disorders through medication and talk therapy.

Thus, it became necessary to develop a non-invasive treatment method that helps patients achieve higher levels of success in their battle against depression. TMS offers a non-intrusive method of doing this by stimulating brain neurons, particularly the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex (Left-DLPFC), through an electromagnetic coil. Because depression affects an individual’s mood and cognitive activities, TMS works by focusing on stimulating the affected areas of the brain through the Left-DLPFC.

TMS got approved by the F.D.A in 2008 and has since been administered to patients with treatment-resistant depression. The American Psychiatrists Association has also encouraged TMS therapy for patients with major depressive disorders.

Benefits Of TMS

David Penner, a Harvard trained child and adolescent psychiatrist at OlympiaTMS, whose clinic began administering TMS in 2019, has seen 187 patients in the last year and affirms the even distribution of depressive major disorders among ages 18 to 64 with a majority of them female. One of the major benefits of TMS asides from its efficiency is that no form of anesthesia is required. It also has limited side effects which makes it tolerable for most patients.

With the newly approved FDA protocols, TMS treatment sessions have been reduced from a prior 30 minutes to between 3 and 19 minutes. Not only has this helped psychiatrists attend to more patients, but the newly approved protocols have also helped improve the efficiency of TMS therapy. TMS therapy usually features 5 weekly sessions for a duration of 5 to 6 weeks.

TMS therapy is an outpatient treatment and individuals can log on to the OlympiaTMS website to book a session by filling a therapist or psychiatrist form to determine what depression therapy would they need. Further information about TMS therapy, treatment procedures, and periodic contact Dr. Penner at or (360) 539-1736.