tmsWith more and more people being diagnosed with depression, the search for effective treatments is more on going than ever.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is gaining traction in the treatment of depression and is showing great promise. In 2008, the FDA cleared the use of TMS for people with major depression who have failed to respond to at least one antidepressant. Neurostar was the pioneer in TMS therapy and is the most widely used device in the USA. Although other TMS devices have come onto the market, their FDA clearance was actually based on Neurostar’s data.

TMS is offered only by physicians, and involves placing a large magnet against the scalp with very precise measurements to target and activate areas of the brain that regulate emotion and behavior. The magnet sends short magnetic pulses to the brain, which activates large networks that can improve motivation, drive, energy, and mood, and the newest strategies can greatly reduce anxiety, obsessive thinking and PTSD symptoms. The treatment lasts as little as 6 to 10 minutes or as long as 40 minutes, and is given 5 days a week for about 4 weeks and then tapered off over another week or two.

You’re awake, chatting or listening to your favorite music or podcast, and then head back to the rest of your day. You may experience a slight headache during and after a treatment, but a mild headache is an inconsequential side effect compared to what some antidepressants cause.

While TMS isn’t a miracle for everyone, it has been a miracle for many. People openly talk about how it saved them, like Neal Brennan and Martha Rhodes. Some patients schedule a follow up session every so often to prevent a relapse. The theory is that stimulating large neural networks to fire together will keep them activated and keep depression at bay.

To learn more about TMS and how it can help you, please contact my office.

To getting you back to your best self,
Lori Calabrese, MD

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