8 Benefits of TMS Therapy
Here are a few of the main advantages of TMS therapy:
TMS therapy provides completely noninvasive brain stimulation. This means that when you receive TMS treatment, it will happen externally to your body.
The most interaction that you’ll have with the TMS machine or practitioner is the placing of a magnetic coil against your head. This makes TMS one of the most comfortable treatments to receive.
2. Drug Free
TMS is a drug-free treatment, which makes it safe to use in combination with other medications and therapies.
3. Effectiveness in Treatment-Resistant Depression
Recent studies have shown that TMS is a useful therapy for depression in patients who have proven to be unresponsive to antidepressant medication. TMS thus provides a helpful alternative to patients who have exhausted conventional treatments for mental disorders.
4. Minimal Side Effects
Unlike most other treatments for mental disorders like major depressive disorder, anxiety, and ADHD, TMS has minimal side effects. There are no withdrawal symptoms should you decide to quit TMS treatment, and it won’t cause any major adverse effects.
5. Potential for Long-Lasting Results
According to research by Somani et al and Carpenter et al [1,2], 60-65% of patients who had tried at least 2 antidepressants with minimal responses, reported an improvement in their depressive symptoms following a course of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). This shows that when taken over a long period of time, TMS can produce long-lasting results against the mental health disorders it targets.
To better understand these statistics, let’s compares the effectives of TMS with antidepressants. The 2006 STAR*D trial remains one of the largest studies ever conducted that aimed to determine effectiveness of different treatments for treatment resistant depression. 
Here are some of its key findings:
- Only 40% of people responded to their first antidepressant.
- If the initial SSRI was ineffective after 6 weeks, switching to another resulted in a 25% response rate.
- If the second SSRI didn’t work, switch to a third antidepressant or antidepressant combination resulted in a response rate of 16.8%. This performance is significantly lower compared to TMS, which its response rate of 60-65% at the same stage of treatment.
- Somani A, Kar SK. Efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in treatment-resistant depression: the evidence thus far. Gen Psychiatr. 2019;32(4):
- Carpenter, L.L., 2012 et al. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for major depression: a multisite, naturalistic, observational study of acute treatment outcomes in clinical practice. Depression and Anxiety, 29(7), pp.587-596.
- Rush et al. STARD Investigators Group. Sequenced treatment alternatives to relieve depression (STARD): rationale and design.
6. Reduced Dependency on Medications
One of the major issues that comes with going on a course of antidepressant or antianxiety medication is the fact that dependencies can result. TMS has no withdrawal and patients are able to stop treatment cycles without feeling any physical or mental addictions.
7. General Mood Improvement:
TMS therapy, through targeting a specific part of the brain, like the prefrontal cortex, stimulates nerves and increases neural activity. This has proven to cause general mood improvements for people struggling with depression. This could even lead to increased energy levels and motivation.
8. Broad Treatment Scope:
TMS is primarily used to treat major depressive disorder. However, research has shown its efficacy in treating a much wider scope of mental health disorders. Let’s take a deeper look at the conditions TMS is suitable as a treatment.
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Side Effects or Downsides of TMS
TMS treatment has non-severe side effects that most patients are unlikely to experience. These potential risk or downsides include:
- Slight scalp discomfort
- Headaches and migraines
- Tingling or twitching facial muscles
Some of the more severe, but extremely uncommon side effects include:
- Manic episodes (particularly in patients with bipolar disorder)
- Hearing loss (only if ears aren’t properly protected during treatment)
Is TMS Right for You?
There are a few things to consider when deciding if TMS is the right treatment for you:
- Take into account the benefits mentioned and discussed above
- Speak to a practitioner or medical doctor regarding your medical history, symptoms, and disorders.
Contact the helpful team here at Neuralia TMS to book a consultation and perhaps a treatment cycle for TMS.