Accelerated TMS Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide

by | May 31, 2023

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment option for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of these disorders. 

TMS has recently gained popularity as a safe and effective alternative to traditional treatments. However, many still question how TMS works, its effectiveness, and potential side effects.

Are you looking for a comprehensive guide to understanding accelerated TMS? Look no further! In this blog, we will cover the most important aspects of accelerated TMS and answer some of the most frequently asked questions to provide a better understanding of this treatment option.

What Is TMS Therapy?

TMS therapy is a non-invasive procedure using magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It’s like using a magnet to activate specific brain parts that regulate mood. 

The magnetic pulses are generated by a coil placed on your scalp and connected to a machine. The machine sends magnetic pulses through the coil and into your brain, which can help regulate mood and reduce symptoms of depression.

During a TMS therapy session, you’ll sit in a comfy chair, and the coil will be placed on your scalp. You might feel a tapping or knocking sensation on your head, but it’s generally not painful. 

TMS therapy is usually done in a series of sessions over several weeks. The number of sessions and the frequency of treatment will depend on what you need and the specific treatment plan your healthcare provider recommends. 

TMS therapy is safe and effective if you have depression but haven’t responded well to other treatments. It’s a non-invasive procedure that doesn’t require any anesthesia or sedation, and it has minimal side effects. 

TMS therapy can help improve your mood and reduce your symptoms of depression. It might be a good option if you want to avoid the side effects that can come with antidepressant medications.

How Accelerated TMS Therapy Works

Accelerated TMS therapy is a type of TMS therapy that uses a higher frequency of magnetic pulses to stimulate the brain. 

This higher frequency means your treatment time is shorter; you receive multiple daily treatments over several days. The idea is that delivering more magnetic pulses in a shorter time can make the treatment more effective and efficient.

It’s important not to confuse theta bursts with accelerated TMS. Traditional and accelerated TMS can incorporate theta bursts, a high pulse rate that speeds up sessions so they only last about five minutes.

Besides theta bursts, there’s also the H1-coil. An H1-coil is used in deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) to treat MDD. It’s designed to stimulate the prefrontal cortex in the brain, an effective method for treating MDD symptoms. 

We know of studies that have found deep TMS treatment with the H1-coil to be a safe and effective clinical tool for treating MDD in adult patients who haven’t seen improvement from antidepressant medication. 

There’s lots of jargon involved. But in short, the H1-coil is a type of coil used in dTMS to treat major depressive disorder. It’s safe and effective for adult patients who haven’t seen improvement from antidepressant medication.

Now that we’ve reviewed accelerated TMS, let’s look at the benefits of accelerated TMS therapy over traditional TMS therapy.

Benefits of Accelerated TMS Therapy

Accelerated TMS therapy offers several advantages over standard TMS therapy, including reduced treatment time, convenience, higher remission rates, lower dropout rates, and lessened side effects.

Reduced Treatment Time

One of the primary benefits of accelerated TMS therapy is the reduced treatment time. With this therapy, you’ll receive multiple treatments per day for several days, allowing for shorter treatment times. This makes it a much more convenient option if your schedule is busy or your commute to your treatment center is longer. 

Higher Remission Rates

We know of studies showing that accelerated TMS therapy has higher remission rates than standard TMS therapy. Those who received accelerated TMS therapy had a higher remission rate than those who received standard TMS therapy. This indicates that more patients can fully recover from their depression symptoms with accelerated TMS therapy.

Lower Dropout Rates

Accelerated TMS is associated with lower dropout rates than standard TMS. We believe this is because there’s not as much commitment involved. Even with severe MDD, you might not have time to attend TMS therapy sessions for weeks. But attending several sessions daily for several days might be much more realistic. Hence, those who try accelerated TMS are more likely to complete their course of treatment. 

Fewer Side Effects

Finally, there’s evidence that accelerated TMS therapy may have fewer side effects than standard TMS therapy. There could be scientific evidence behind this that we have yet to discover. But it could also be from not wearing the coils for as long. This may make the treatment more tolerable for some patients.

The Accelerated TMS Therapy Process

The accelerated TMS therapy process involves a few steps. First, you’ll have a consultation with a TMS specialist to evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and any previous treatments you’ve tried. They may also perform some tests to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

After that, the specialist will develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. This plan will include the frequency and duration of treatment sessions and the number of sessions required. They’ll also explain the potential benefits and risks of the treatment and what to expect during the sessions.

During the treatment sessions, you’ll sit in a chair while a TMS device is positioned over your scalp. The device will deliver magnetic pulses to specific areas of your brain, which may cause a tapping or clicking sensation on your scalp. 

The sessions usually last between 20-30 minutes, and you’ll receive multiple sessions per day over the course of several days. Advanced facilities can provide these sessions in as little as five minutes. 

Monitoring your progress throughout treatment is important to ensure you’re responding well. This may involve regular check-ins with the specialist and assessments of your symptoms and overall well-being. If you’re not responding to the treatment as expected, they may adjust the treatment plan to optimize its effectiveness.

In short, the accelerated TMS therapy process involves consultation and evaluation, treatment planning, treatment sessions, and progress monitoring. The goal is to customize the treatment to your needs and ensure it works effectively while minimizing potential risks or side effects.

The Accelerated TMS Therapy Process

Who Can Benefit From Accelerated TMS Therapy?

Accelerated TMS therapy can benefit people struggling with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s especially beneficial if you haven’t responded well to other treatments like medication or talk therapy.

If you’re dealing with depression, accelerated TMS therapy can be a game-changer. In fact, it’s been shown to be particularly effective for people with treatment-resistant depression, meaning they haven’t responded well to other treatments. 

But it’s not just depression that can be helped by accelerated TMS therapy. People with anxiety and OCD can also benefit from this treatment. Studies have shown that it can reduce anxiety symptoms and improve the overall quality of life for people with these conditions.

The great thing about accelerated TMS therapy is that it’s non-invasive and doesn’t involve medication, so it’s a low-risk treatment option. Plus, it’s convenient and doesn’t take up too much time. You’ll typically receive multiple sessions per day over several days, so it’s a relatively short-term treatment.

If you’re struggling with a mental health condition and haven’t found relief from other treatments, I recommend accelerated TMS therapy. It could be just what you need to start feeling better and get back to living your life to the fullest.

What Makes A Good Accelerated TMS Candidate?

If you’re wondering if accelerated TMS therapy is right for you, there are a few things to consider. Thankfully, TMS therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for many people with certain mental health conditions. However, it’s not for everyone. 

Here are some things your TMS provider may think about when deciding if you’re a good candidate for TMS therapy:

  • Diagnosis: TMS therapy is typically used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. TMS therapy might be a good option if you’ve been diagnosed with one of these conditions and haven’t had much luck with other treatments. However, it’s important to remember that a diagnosis is not required to receive treatment.
  • Severity of symptoms: If your symptoms are getting in the way of your daily life, TMS therapy is a good way to get some relief. TMS therapy can help with things like sadness, anxiety, and irritability.
  • Medical history: Your TMS provider will want to ensure you don’t have any conditions or medications that could cause problems during TMS therapy. For example, if you’ve had seizures or have metal in your head, TMS therapy might not be your best choice as it could negatively interact with the coils.
  • Age: TMS therapy is usually used in adults, but it might be an option for adolescents and teenagers in some instances. It depends on whether the helmet can properly fit to gather the necessary data and provide the proper treatment. Your TMS provider will help determine if TMS therapy is right for you based on your age and condition.
  • Other treatments: TMS therapy could be a good option if you’ve tried other treatments like medication or therapy and they haven’t worked well.

So, if you’re thinking about TMS therapy, talk to your TMS provider. They’ll help you determine if it’s a good choice based on your needs.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

Most major insurance providers offer coverage for accelerated TMS. Insurance policies typically give patients access to in-network medical providers.

The cost of accelerated TMS can vary. The location of the TMS provider, whether they’re an advanced facility, and the number of sessions you need will all determine how much a session of accelerated TMS costs. If you’re paying out of pocket, you’ll want to research to find your area’s most affordable, high-quality provider. 

If your insurance covers accelerated TMS, you may need to reach your deductible before insurance kicks in. After that, you’ll likely only pay your copay and any costs that insurance doesn’t cover. Accelerated TMS can be affordable if you find the right in-network provider.

Choosing a Provider: Factors to Consider

Choosing the right provider for accelerated TMS therapy can be important. After all, you’re establishing a provider-patient relationship, and it’s important for you to feel comfortable. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a TMS provider:

  1. Experience: Look for a provider who has experience with TMS therapy and has treated patients with conditions similar to yours. You can ask about their training, credentials, and experience with TMS therapy.
  2. Equipment: Make sure the provider uses state-of-the-art TMS equipment that is FDA-approved. Ask about the type of equipment they use and how often it is serviced and maintained.
  3. Location and availability: Consider the location of the TMS provider and whether it’s convenient for you to get there. Also, check their availability and scheduling options to make sure they can accommodate your needs.
  4. Insurance coverage: Check to see if the TMS provider accepts your insurance and the out-of-pocket costs. You can also ask if they offer financing options or payment plans.
  5. Patient reviews and testimonials: Look for patient reviews and testimonials online to understand the provider’s reputation and patient satisfaction.
  6. Communication and rapport: Consider how comfortable you feel communicating with the provider and whether they take the time to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Considering these factors, you can choose an experienced TMS provider who uses high-quality equipment, is conveniently located, accepts your insurance, has positive patient reviews, and communicates well with you. 

Questions to Ask Before You Start Treatment

Before starting accelerated TMS therapy, it’s important to ask your provider some questions to help you understand the treatment and make an informed decision. Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  1. What is your experience with TMS therapy, and how many patients have you treated with similar conditions to mine?
  2. How many sessions will I need, and how long will each session last?
  3. What can I expect during a TMS session, and will it be painful or uncomfortable?
  4. What are the potential side effects of TMS therapy, and how common are they?
  5. How will you monitor my progress during TMS therapy, and how will we know if it’s working?
  6. Are there any restrictions on activities or medications during TMS therapy?
  7. What other treatment options do you recommend if TMS therapy is ineffective for me?

By asking these questions, you can better understand what to expect during TMS therapy and whether it’s the right treatment option for you. Your provider should be happy to answer any questions you have and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Red Flags to Look Out For

We’ve discussed insurance covering accelerated TMS and what questions to ask your provider before you begin. Now, let’s discuss some red flags. If you notice any of the following signs in the providers you speak to, I recommend picking someone else. Here are some red flags to look out for when choosing a TMS provider:

  1. Lack of experience: A provider who lacks experience with TMS therapy or has yet to treat patients with conditions similar to yours could be a red flag. It’s important to choose a provider with the necessary training, credentials, and experience to provide safe and effective treatment.
  2. Poor communication: A provider who doesn’t take the time to answer your questions or address your concerns could be a red flag. Effective communication is essential to understanding the treatment and being comfortable with the process.
  3. Lack of coordination with other healthcare providers: A provider who doesn’t coordinate care with your doctor or therapist could be a red flag. TMS therapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments, and coordination with other healthcare providers can help ensure that you receive comprehensive care.
  4. Inadequate screening: A provider who doesn’t review your medical history or ask if you have any metal in your body or implanted devices could be a red flag. These factors can affect the safety and effectiveness of TMS therapy, and a thorough screening process is essential.

How to Prepare for Accelerated TMS Therapy

How to Prepare for Accelerated TMS Therapy

If you decide to undergo accelerated TMS therapy, you can do a few things to prepare for the treatment process, including: 

  1. Talk to your doctor: Before starting TMS therapy, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your medical history and any medications you’re taking. Your doctor can help determine if TMS therapy is a good option for you and if your medications need to be adjusted.
  2. Avoid alcohol and drugs: It’s important to avoid alcohol and drugs, including caffeine, before your TMS therapy sessions. These substances can interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment.
  3. Dress comfortably: You’ll be sitting in a chair for the duration of your TMS therapy sessions, so it’s important to wear comfortable clothing. Avoid wearing anything that’s too tight or restrictive.
  4. Eat a light meal: A light meal before your TMS therapy sessions is a good idea. This can help prevent nausea or lightheadedness during the treatment.
  5. Bring something to occupy your time: During your TMS therapy sessions, you can relax and listen to music or watch TV. However, you should bring something else to occupy your time, such as a book or crossword puzzle.
  6. Arrange for transportation: You may feel slightly lightheaded or disoriented after your TMS therapy sessions. It’s essential to arrange for transportation home, especially if you’re driving a long distance.

Following these tips can help ensure a successful TMS therapy experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the top most commonly asked questions about TMS therapy:

    1. What conditions can TMS treat? – TMS is primarily used to treat depression but has also been used to treat other conditions like anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
    2. How effective is TMS? – TMS has been shown to be effective in treating depression. However, the effectiveness of TMS may vary by person.
    3. How long does it take to see results from TMS? – You may see improvements in your symptoms after just a few sessions of TMS. However, it’s also possible to not see improvements until several weeks into the treatment. We recommend attending all your treatment sessions to maximize your results.
    4. Is TMS covered by insurance? – TMS is often covered by insurance, but coverage varies by provider. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to determine if TMS therapy is covered under your plan.
    5. Are there any side effects of TMS? – While TMS is generally considered safe, some potential side effects include headache, discomfort, and interference with medical devices. However, these side effects are rare and usually mild.
    6. What is the difference between TMS and rTMS? – TMS and rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) are both non-invasive treatments that use magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. However, rTMS involves delivering magnetic pulses repeatedly over a period of time, while TMS involves delivering magnetic pulses in a single session.
    7. Is TMS painful? – TMS is a painless procedure. However, it is possible to experience mild discomfort or a tapping sensation on your scalp during the session.
    8. How long do the effects of TMS last? – The effects of TMS can vary by person. Some individuals may experience long-lasting improvements in their symptoms after a course of TMS treatment, while others may experience a temporary improvement that requires maintenance sessions to sustain.
    9. Can TMS be used in conjunction with other treatments? – Yes, TMS can be used in conjunction with other treatments for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
    10. How does TMS compare to other treatments for depression? – TMS is a non-invasive alternative to traditional treatments for depression, like medication and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). While the effectiveness of TMS may vary by person, it is effective in treating depression with fewer side effects than medication or ECT.

See If Accelerated TMS Is Right for You With Brain Health Center

Accelerated TMS is a safe, effective treatment option for numerous mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. If you want to try accelerated TMS – or any form of TMS – in a state-of-the-art facility with trained providers, contact Brain Health Center. 

Brain Health Center has locations in Salt Lake City and St. George, and our St. George location is equipped for long-distance treatment. All of our treatment options come with a free, 30-minute brain mapping. 

Contact Brain Health Center for more information or to get started.