Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an innovative, non-invasive treatment that relies on magnetic energy to stimulate neurotransmitter activity in specific regions of your brain that regulate your mood. TMS treatments are used as an alternative treatment for depression, including treatment-resistant depression — and TMS is available at Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health in Newport Beach, California.
If you’re considering TMS as a depression treatment, you might wonder what each treatment session entails. Below, Dr. Hadi Estakhri explains the process of receiving a TMS treatment and what you can expect.
What happens at your TMS consultation?
Before you receive a TMS treatment, Dr. Estakhri provides a thorough consultation to ensure that TMS is right for you. The ideal TMS candidate should:
- Be in good physical health
- Be free from any implanted metal devices, including metal plates in your head as well as pacemakers
- Not have a history of seizures
TMS isn’t right for everyone, and should you fall into that group, Dr. Estakhri can suggest other therapies that are right for you. If TMS is right for you, here's what you should expect:
What to expect at your first TMS appointment
TMS is a non-invasive treatment, which means no needles, injections, or incisions are required. You won’t be sedated or need anesthesia. TMS treatments deliver magnetic energy, but to make sure that the magnetic energy reaches the specific areas in your brain, Dr. Estakhri first determines the correct placement of the magnetic coils. To do this, Dr. Estakhri:
- Records measurements and determinants of the correct distances and angles of the coil placement
- Stores the measurements in the TMS machine
Once your measurements are taken, the electromagnetic coils are placed near the front side of your scalp. This location is ideal because it allows the magnetic energy to access your prefrontal cortex. This is the area in your brain that mediates executive function — an area that is often understimulated in people with depression.
What to expect at your subsequent appointments
Because your measurement data is stored in the TMS machine, you won’t need to undergo measurements again. The TMS machine calibrates according to the information previously stored.
During your appointment, you’ll remain awake and seated comfortably in a chair. Each treatment takes anywhere from 20-50 minutes. During this time, an electric current passes through neurons (which are nerve cells) to send electrical impulses. This sets off a chain reaction, and the electrical impulses then trigger a chemical reaction, which boosts your mood.
The treatment isn’t painful, but you may feel a tapping sensation.
How many sessions should you expect?
Even though you may start to experience an improvement in your systems after one session, you’ll receive several TMS treatments to help you achieve remission. According to the experts at Cleveland Clinic, most individuals benefit from 30 sessions of TMS therapy — that’s about five sessions per week over a four to six-week period.
Is TMS therapy right for you?
Are you looking for an alternative treatment for depression? To find out if TMS therapy is right for you, give our Newport Beach, California a call at 949-258-7135. You may also book an appointment by visiting our website.