First of all, to discuss how Treating Depression with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is used to treat depression, we need to define exactly what it is. TMS is a ground breaking technique that uses electromagnetic fields to stimulate the brain in ways that mimic the effect of antidepressants by acting like a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and increasing extracellular serotonin concentrations in the brain. This is an experimental application of an FDA approved machine.Learn more about us at Wesley Chapel TMS Doctor
TMS works by positioning the TMS machine over the cranium to transmit short, focused magnetic pulses through the skull where an electrical current is induced in the brain tissue. Unlike electroconvulsive therapy that causes seizures and requires the administration of a sedative, the TMS method is done without sedation and does not cause the major seizures. This is because TMS can target a very small region. At the beginning of each treatment, a health care professional will place the magnet over the head of the patient and proceed to find the motor threshold of the patient. This threshold is defined as the point at which the electrical current is sufficient to make the finger of the patient twitch. This threshold will vary from patient to patient and session to session.
TMS is a better alternative for patients who cannot tolerate antidepressants due to the side effects. This method of treatment has been approved in Canada and Israel for the treatment of major depression in patients not responding to more traditional therapies. This technique has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States yet. For those who have exhausted all other treatment options, this appears to be the choice with the least amount of dangerous side effects. Some of the common side effects to this procedure are headaches, scalp pain at the site of the stimulation, dizziness, facial muscle spasms, and hearing problems. Some of the rare adverse reactions are seizures and mania. Long term effects of this procedure are unknown at this time. More studies are required to discover the long term effect on the brain that has been repeatedly exposed to electromagnetic fields.