TMS Treatment for Depression

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment for depression that has been used for over 40 years. TMS is useful for those who have not responded to other forms of treatment, such as medication or therapy and is an option worth considering for anyone struggling with depression.

Medicare  & DVA covered*
No out-of-pocket fees**
Non-invasive treatment

* No-out-of-pocket fees for Medicare patients who meet the Depression eligibility criteria.
** Read more about the cost of TMS and Medicare coverage

TMS therapy is a treatment that utilises magnetic fields to influence brain waves and is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation. This makes it an effective solution for patients who suffer from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and ADHD.

TMS devices operate externally, without direct physical contact with your body. TMS targets the nervous system (specifically nerves in the brain) in order to treat depression. The treatment itself involves the use of a magnetic coil to target your brain’s natural electrical activity.

How Successful is TMS Treatment for Depression?

According to Harvard Health, around 50% to 60% of TMS patients have a meaningful change in mood following TMS treatment for depression. This means that they leave their treatment cycle feeling more asymptomatic than when they started.

Furthermore, it’s reported that most TMS for depression patients feel better for many months after treatment stops.

What’s the cost of TMS for depression?

In Australia, there are no out-of-pocket fees for Medicare patients who meet the depression eligibility criteria. This means that for most depression patients, TMS treatment is free when done at the Neuralia TMS clinics.

Here is a rundown of the prices for TMS treatment at Neuralia TMS:

Consult Type Consult Fee Medicate Rebate Out-of-pocket Cost
Initial Consultation $81.70 $81.70 $0
TMS Mapping Session $166.80 $166.80 $0
Standard TMS Session (most common) $143.15 $143.15 $0
Extended TMS Session $180 $143.15 $36.85
Follow-up Review with TMS Doctor $81.70 $81.70 $0
Cancellation Fee (<24 hrs notice) $50 NA $50

Does insurance (Medicare) cover TMS?

Eligible patients can get TMS treatments with no gap payment and have their out-of-pocket expenses paid for by Medicare under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

Find out more about TMS and Medicare.

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How does TMS Depression Treatment Work?

TMS targets the root of depression by using magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.

The treatment is believed to improve the functioning of neurotransmitters that are associated with depression. The pulses, which are delivered using a hand-held device placed on the scalp, activate the nerve cells, leading to a decrease in symptoms.

TMS is typically done on an outpatient basis over the course of several weeks and has been found to be a highly effective depression treatment in Perth.

It has been particularly useful for those who have not responded to other forms of treatment, such as medication or therapy, and is an option worth considering for anyone struggling with depression.

What Types of Depression can TMS Treat?

TMS can help with the following types of depression:

Types Of Depression TMS can Treat
The Different Types Of Depression TMS Can Treat

1. TMS for Depression and Anxiety

TMS has been mainly used since the 1980s to treat depression. It has quickly become one of the most popular treatments for patients who don’t respond well to antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.

The fact that it is a non-invasive treatment has made it particularly useful for patients with depression who want to skip the side effects that come with standard medication.

2. TMS for Agitated Depression

Agitated depression simply refers to major depressive disorder but with the added feelings of agitation. Symptoms of agitated depression include higher levels of aggression, a short fuse, and general irritability.

TMS has proven itself as a useful solution to agitated depression because the electromagnetic pulses produced by the TMS machines gently stimulate that part of the brain responsible for regulating mood. This could help produce prolonged feelings of calm.

3. TMS for Adolescent Depression

Major depressive disorder in adolescents has been proven to carry prolonged depressive episodes into adulthood. This becomes an aggravated issue if it remains completely untreated.

For this reason, TMS has been chosen as an appropriate treatment for adolescents in order to alleviate the most dangerous effects of depression that could arise during adulthood.

4. TMS for Bipolar Depression

Bipolar depression is a disorder typically associated with wild swings of mania and happiness, interspersed with prolonged periods of depression. Bipolar depression is a particularly tricky form of the disorder when it comes to finding the right treatment.

The current literature on TMS and the ongoing studies show that it could be an effective treatment to help alleviate some of the more overwhelming symptoms of bipolar depression.

What Are the Side Effects of TMS Treatment for Depression?

Since TMS is a non-invasive treatment, it is generally viewed as well-tolerated and low-risk for most patients. There are, however, a few notable side effects that you should consider. These side effects are typically mild to moderate and will start to decrease over time, as you attend more treatment sessions.

Common side effects include:

  • Slight scalp discomfort
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Tingling or twitching facial muscles
  • Lightheadedness

In extreme cases, TMS can cause seizures, but that is a rare occurrence.

What is the Depression Continuum, and How Does TMS Treatment Help?

Research suggests that the prefrontal cortex, a brain region involved in decision-making, may play an important role in depression. This region is known to be involved in regulating emotions and controlling behaviour, and has been linked to changes in mood and behaviour in response to stress.

It is thought that disruption of the prefrontal cortex could lead to the development of depression, or worsen the symptoms of existing depression. By using TMS to treat depression, doctors and specialists focus specifically on the prefrontal cortex.

Studies show that by stimulating this brain region with the magnetic pulses produced by TMS machinery, the way that nerve cells fire could change. The result of this is that it may alleviate some of the symptoms associated with depression.

What happens during TMS for Depression?

A TMS therapy session goes as follows:

What happens during Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Depression?
Process of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Treatment for Depression
  1. The TMS machine with a magnetic coil attached to a mechanical arm is placed above the patient’s head at the correct position. The patient will be in a comfortable seat.
  2. During the first treatment session, the patient’s individual stimulation dose (i.e. the amount of energy required to stimulate the patient’s brain cells) will be determined. This dose may be rechecked during the treatment course to ensure patients get the correct stimulation level.
  3. Once the correct placement and stimulation dose have been determined, the TMS machine will deliver precise impulses to a small brain section.
  4. After the treatment session, patients can immediately drive and resume normal activities. No medications are given, and patients are completely awake during the whole process.

What is the TMS Protocol for Depression?

The protocol for TMS treatment will vary on a patient-by-patient basis. This depends on the individual needs and responses to treatment. Generally, however, TMS treatment for depression typically takes four to six weeks.

Patients will receive treatment sessions five days a week, with each session lasting about 30 to 60 minutes. As mentioned above, some patients may need additional sessions, while others may respond sooner.

How Can TMS Help Me?
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Neuralia TMS is Here to Help You Overcome Depression

You now know everything there is to know about TMS Treatment for depression. If it sounds like a treatment option that suits your needs and your symptoms, then be sure to contact Neuralia TMS today. We are here to help you.

At the Neuralia TMS clinic, our medical director, Dr Shanek Wick, is a certified TMS practitioner who can help you get the treatment you need. The team will greet you with a smile, and be with you every step of the way!

FAQs

  • While sadness normally lasts for a short period of time, people with depression experience sadness in a more intense and prolonged state.

    Experiencing low mood or diminished motivation may signal depression, especially when accompanied by alterations in appetite or sleep, feelings of guilt or inadequacy, challenges in concentration, and pains, including symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia.

  • TMS has above been shown to be successful for around 50 – 60% of patients.

    Electroconvulsive Therapy, or ECT, has been proven to rapidly reverse some symptoms of certain mental health conditions. It can, however, have severe side effects, including memory loss.

    Neurofeedback, like TMS, is a non-invasive treatment. It generally has fewer side effects than ECT, but more research is needed to establish its effectiveness for depression.

    TMS, for the time being, is the most effective, well-researched, and safest treatment of the three.

  • Following TMS treatment, you’ll still be able to drive and resume normal activities immediately. There are generally no lingering effects from the TMS treatment sessions.

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Dr Shanek Wick – Author Bio

Dr. Shanek Wick, a distinguished Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, specialises in holistic mental health care with a focus on interventional psychiatry, neurostimulation, and addiction.

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Neuralia TMS are the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) specialists in Perth, WA. TMS is non-invasive treatment for depression and several other conditions.

Phone: 6230 3996
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 6230 2231
Healthlink ID: neuralia

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