Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
TMS for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
With MDD there are biological alterations in the brain, including an imbalance of activity in frontal brain regions. These areas of the brain are involved in important mental processes and also have connections with deeper brain regions responsible for emotions. Due to the ability of TMS to alter brain activity, it was first proposed as a therapy for MDD in the mid-1990s. Since then, numerous studies have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of TMS in MDD, especially in treatment-resistant patients who have not responded to antidepressants.Schedule a Consult
The USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared Magstim TMS Therapy systems for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication in the current episode.
TMS therapy has been recommended by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) since 2010 for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder and it is also approved by the UK National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
If you have a question about TMS treatment that you do not see answered below, please do not hesitate to give Depression MD a call 203-701-9737.
WHAT IS TMS?
TMS is a groundbreaking treatment for depression that uses MRI technology to restore the limited neuronal activity of a depressed brain. It is FDA-approved, non-invasive, covered by insurance providers, and virtually free of side effects.
HOW WELL DOES TMS WORK?
TMS is highly effective for patients with tough-to-treat depression. Over half of patients respond to TMS and more than one-third achieve remission. This is remarkable news for those who have tried multiple treatments without hope of getting better.
HOW LONG DOES TMS LAST?
TMS is a long-lasting treatment for depression. Over two-thirds of patients retain their response one year after completing a cycle of TMS. And even for those patients who relapse, the great news is that over 80% of patients respond to a second round of TMS.
HOW IS TMS DIFFERENT FROM MEDICATIONS?
Over 40% of patients with depression do not achieve remission from antidepressants. Moreover, medications can often produce unwanted side effects, such as fatigue, drowsiness, weight gain, nausea, and sexual problems, to name a few.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF TMS?
TMS is virtually free of side effects because it treats depression in the exact location where it occurs, as opposed to circling the body like medications. Some patients may feel a headache or scalp sensitivity in the treatment location of TMS, which generally goes away within a few days.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF SETTING UP TMS TREATMENT?
After your diagnostic consultation, Dr. Harding will clear you for TMS and we contact your insurance provider to review your coverage. A prior authorization is submitted, which can take up to ten business days. Your first session is then scheduled, and you begin treatment. Treatment is five days a week for six weeks, and each session can last up to 20 minutes.
IS TMS PAINFUL?
The magnetic pulses pass through your scalp and into the desired brain location. You’ll hear clicking sounds and can feel like a knocking, tapping, or tingling sensation on your head. You may have some scalp discomfort or headache, but both can be mitigated with an over the counter pain reliever.
WHAT IS TMS TREATMENT LIKE?
During the first session, measurements are made to ensure that the TMS coil will be properly positioned over your head. The TMS provider then measures the patient’s motor threshold, by administering several brief pulses. The motor threshold is the minimum amount of power necessary to make the patient’s thumb twitch. This varies between individuals. The motor threshold helps the physician determine the amount of energy required to stimulate brain cells for each individual patient.
HOW IS TMS DIFFERENT FROM MEDICATIONS?
The largest differentiator between medication and TMS, is that TMS is non-systemic – it does not pass through the blood stream. Therefore, side effects are typically kept to surface scalp discomfort, or a slight headache.
IS TMS LIKE ECT?
In short, no, not at all. TMS and ECT are very different treatments. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) intentionally induces a seizure. Patients must be under general anesthesia. Recovery from an ECT treatment session occurs slowly, and patients are usually closely monitored for minutes to a few hours after treatment. They are not able to resume regular activity immediately following ECT. By contrast, TMS does not intentionally induce a seizure, does not require sedation, anesthesia, nor muscle relaxants. Patients are able to resume daily activities immediately after a TMS session.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF TMS?
There are virtually no side effects compared to other treatments for depression. The most common side effects reported by patients are mild discomfort at the treatment site and the possible development of a slight headache that typically subsides over time. Although there is a miniscule risk of seizure associated with TMS, the patient’s medical history is considered to help rule out this risk.
IS IT COVERED BY INSURANCE?
TMS is covered by most insurance and Medicare. Our office will determine your coverage prior to treatment.
HAS THERE BEEN RESEARCH ON TMS?
Yes. TMS has been approved since 2008, and ongoing studies on its effectiveness have been published.
WHAT IF I DO NOT HAVE INSURANCE?
We do our best to work with you to make it financially feasible.
WHAT IS MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER (MDD)?
Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations. It is often accompanied by low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain without a clear cause. Treatment resistant depression (TRD) is a term used when there is an inadequate response to medication. A lack of response tends to be from either the medication itself not creating the desired results, or the side effects being difficult to manage. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) was developed to address TRD.
Depression is treatable, schedule a consultation now!
It’s important for you to be comfortable with us before your first visit. So schedule a quick phone call with any concerns or to discuss the care you need 203-701-9737.See All ServicesSchedule A Consult
Dr. Harding is a genuinely caring person!!! She is by far the best that Doctor I have seen on SO many levels! This wonderful woman has a TRUE love and passion for what she does and believes in. Dr. Harding has gone out of her way, above and beyond to show me how much she cares! She is a real down to earth person, easy to talk to and LISTENS. I was afraid to see a new resident when she started because of all my past experiences, but she has been the biggest blessing to walk into my life when I needed it the most! I will forever be grateful for her and the beautiful soul that she has I would and WILL always recommend Dr. Harding to ANYONE
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