The question of whether TMS works long-term and whether patients will need to return after some time remains as many patients experience improvements right away or after a few treatments.
The Findings of TMS Research
Understanding how we gauge achievement, both immediately and over the long term, may be made easier by taking a look at three significant TMS research.
One of the earliest TMS research used randomised, double-blinded, sham-controlled trials to investigate the treatment’s effectiveness and safety in the short-term management of MDD. In other words, study participants were unaware of whether they were receiving a genuine TMS treatment or a phoney one. Before the trial began, all study participants stopped taking their antidepressants, and the TMS technicians were instructed to be emotionally neutral, making the trial sterile and, as a result, not particularly spectacular. Studies soon showed it to be beneficial in treating MDD (Major Depression Disorder) with few side effects, but many participants who received the fake treatments showed no improvement.
Where participants knew they were getting a real TMS treatment, they encouraged participants from the initial study to take part. TMS was administered to study participants in a natural, non-sterile environment. Many patients discover that TMS therapy itself is beneficial, making time each day for themselves to be welcomed by kind individuals who are concerned about their well-being. Additionally, patients were permitted to resume using their antidepressants, indicating that TMS may offer even better results when combined with other proven treatments.
Two years later, a comparable second continuation study by Dunner et al (2014) that tracked participants for a year was carried out. After six weeks of TMS treatment, patients had a 62.3% response rate to TMS, and 41.2% of patients had achieved remission. At this point, the results were promising. 62.5% of those who responded were still doing better a year later, and 45.1% of those who were in remission were still doing so. Additionally, it was discovered that 84.2% of patients who benefited from TMS during their first course of treatment but did not experience remission did so again during their second round of treatment.
So, does TMS function over time? Yes is the common response. And for those who later develop symptoms after undergoing TMS therapy, a second session of TMS will effectively get them back on track.
More research is required to understand how to reap the full benefits of TMS therapy and on staying well after TMS treatment. Based on studies about depression and doctors’ and patients’ experiences, it is possible to encourage and prolong the therapeutic effects of TMS therapy with the help of other therapeutic modalities.
Antidepressants can maintain your state following TMS, lowering your likelihood of depressive symptoms resurfacing even if they didn’t work for you prior to the procedure. A safe, preventative measure to encourage your positive response to TMS may be to continue taking an antidepressant for a year following your course of treatment.
Even if counselling didn’t seem to be of much use prior to TMS, talk therapy is incredibly helpful in maintaining wellness. One form of therapy that has received a lot of support is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT assists you in avoiding the cognitive traps that can result in a downward spiral of mood.
Changes in Lifestyle
Maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle, eating well, and exercising frequently will help you stay healthy if TMS therapy was effective for you. Exercise in particular should not be overdone; exercise can have positive effects on health even at low doses. You don’t need to follow a strict routine if your doctor gives you the all-clear. Walking your pets, gardening, or going for a short walk around the block all have great health advantages and can prolong the effects of TMS.
How to Respond If Depression Recurs
Even if you follow all the appropriate steps, depression has a way of returning even when you take all the necessary precautions. It’s critical to keep in mind that you are not to blame for your depression. The wellness pathways in your brain will be strengthened to keep you feeling well, though, the more you stay healthy.
Get back into treatment as soon as possible if you do discover that your depressed symptoms have returned after TMS therapy. Before contacting Neuralia TMS clinic, don’t allow your depression symptoms to persist for longer than a few weeks.
Read more for an overview of how TMS works.
Dunner et al – 2014- A multisite, naturalistic, observational study of transcranial magnetic stimulation for patients with pharmacoresistant major depressive disorder: durability of benefit over a 1-year follow-up period – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25271871/