Can TMS Therapy Help My Depression? What You Need to Know

by | Apr 26, 2023

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific regions of your brain. It’s effective in treating depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you are considering TMS therapy for depression, you may wonder what to expect during treatment. In this blog, I’m going to explain what to expect during TMS therapy, including the consultation process, preparation for treatment, the treatment session itself, potential side effects, and follow-up care.

By understanding what to expect during TMS therapy for depression, you can decide whether this treatment option is right for you.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a serious mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in once-enjoyable activities. Depression can affect how you think, feel, and behave, leading to various emotional and physical problems.

If you have depression, you might also experience changes in appetite or weight, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, or thoughts of death or suicide.

Genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors can cause depression. In addition, brain chemicals, hormonal changes, and certain medications can also contribute.

Depression can significantly impact your quality of life, affecting your ability to work, maintain relationships, and enjoy life. Depression can also lead to various physical health problems like chronic pain, headaches, and digestive issues.

Medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes are often used to treat depression.

What Is TMS Therapy for Depression?

If you’re looking for a non-invasive treatment option for depression, you may have heard of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. TMS therapy is a type of brain stimulation that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in your brain.

During a TMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead. The coil delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates the part of your brain responsible for regulating mood. This stimulation can improve your symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions.

While TMS has been around for a long time, new technologies and research protocol advances have made it far more effective in recent years.

Who Is a Good Candidate for TMS Therapy?

TMS therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment option for depression and other mental health conditions. It works by using magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in your brain, which can lead to improved symptoms of depression.

You’re likely a good candidate for TMS therapy if you have depression and don’t like the side effects of antidepressants. In the past, providers would offer TMS as a viable treatment option after patients had failed with other medications. This is no longer the case. Providers who are currently in the field understand that TMS is also a great first treatment option.

TMS therapy may also be a good option if you prefer a non-invasive treatment approach or if you want to avoid the potential risks of antidepressant medication.

It is important to note that TMS therapy is not recommended for everyone. For example, metal implants in the brain or head will most likely disqualify you from TMS therapy due to the potential risks associated with the magnetic fields used during treatment.

If you have a history of seizures, make sure you notify your provider before receiving TMS treatments as the magnetic fields used during treatment can potentially trigger seizure activity. Finally, TMS therapy is not recommended if you’re pregnant due to the lack of research on its safety during pregnancy.

If you believe you may be a good candidate for TMS therapy, I recommend consulting with your mental health provider to discuss your treatment options and determine if TMS therapy is right for you.

How Effective Is TMS Therapy for Depression?

According to the Mayo Clinic, traditional TMS therapy is an effective treatment for depression, with up to 50% of patients experiencing a significant improvement in their symptoms.

However, modern research released in 2021 and 2022 indicates that certain TMS treatments protocols provide full permission to around 80% of patients. Only a select few facilities are able to provide the most modern protocols. If this is important to you, make sure you ask your provider.

TMS is also approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe and effective treatment for major depressive disorder. Plus, a study published in Medical News Today suggests that TMS can be effective in relieving depression symptoms and improving mood.

Although we don’t fully understand how TMS therapy works, some scientists suggest that it may normalize the activity of the nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for mood regulation. TMS therapy can be an effective treatment option if you have not responded to antidepressant medications.

A study published in PubMed showed that accelerated TMS protocols can improve depression symptoms. The study involved systematic review and meta-analysis, making it highly reliable. The study concludes that aTMS is safe and well-tolerated as a treatment option for depressive disorders.

In conclusion, I’ll say that TMS therapy has been shown to be an effective and safe treatment option for depression, especially for patients who have not responded to other forms of treatment. I recommend looking into it, especially if therapy and/or medications haven’t worked for you.

Can TMS Therapy Help My Depression?

What to Expect During TMS Therapy

Of course, before you begin, you’ll want to know what to expect. It’s normal to feel nervous before doing something for the first time. If you are considering TMS therapy, here is what you can expect during treatment:

  1. Consultation: Before starting TMS therapy, you will have a consultation with a healthcare provider who will evaluate whether you are a good candidate for the treatment.

Your provider will review your medical history, current medications, and any symptoms you are experiencing. They will also discuss the risks and benefits of TMS therapy and answer any questions you may have.

  1. Treatment plan: If you and your healthcare provider decide that TMS therapy is right for you, they will create a treatment plan. This plan will include the number of sessions you will need, the duration of each session, and the intensity of the magnetic field used during treatment.
  2. Preparation: Before each TMS therapy session, you will be asked to remove any metal objects, including jewelry and hair clips. You will also be asked to wear earplugs to protect your ears from the sound of the magnetic pulses which are slightly louder than normal conversation.
  3. Treatment session: During a TMS therapy session, you will be seated in a comfortable chair, and a magnetic coil will be placed on your scalp. The coil will deliver magnetic pulses to specific regions of your brain.
  4. Sensations: During treatment, you may feel a tapping or clicking sensation on your scalp. You may also feel a slight twitching or tingling in your facial muscles. These sensations are normal and indicate that the magnetic field stimulates the targeted brain regions.
  5. Frequency: TMS therapy typically involves several weekly sessions for four to six weeks. The number of sessions and frequency of treatment will depend on your individual treatment plan. Some advanced facilities can provide the entire treatment regimen in as little as five days.
  6. Follow-up: After completing your TMS therapy sessions, your healthcare provider will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

You can expect these same steps every time you have a TMS therapy session. If you have any additional questions about TMS therapy, you can ask your healthcare or TMS provider.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of TMS Therapy?

While TMS is generally considered safe, like any medical procedure, it may have potential side effects. Let’s discuss those now.

Common side effects of TMS therapy include mild to moderate headaches, scalp discomfort at the stimulation site, tingling, spasms, or twitching of facial muscles, and lightheadedness during treatment.

Facial twitching is the second most common side effect of TMS therapy during treatment. It is caused by the stimulation of muscles in the face. Some people may also experience facial pain if certain nerves are stimulated during the procedure. Dizziness or feeling light-headed after TMS therapy is also a possible side effect.

It is important to note that these side effects are generally mild to moderate, and they often improve shortly after an individual session and decrease over time with additional sessions. However, I recommend speaking with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about these or any other side effects provider.

How to Find a TMS Therapy Provider for Depression

If you are interested in pursuing TMS therapy as a treatment option for depression or another condition, finding a qualified and experienced provider is important. Here are some steps to help you find a TMS therapy provider:

  1. Research online: There are many online resources where you can search for TMS therapy providers in your area. Start by searching for TMS therapy providers in your city or state.
  2. Ask for a referral: Ask your primary care physician or mental health provider if they can recommend a TMS therapy provider. They may have experience with local providers and can recommend someone with a good reputation.
  3. Check credentials: Once you have a list of potential providers, check their credentials. They should have experience with TMS therapy and be licensed in your state.
  4. Read reviews: Look for reviews of the providers you are considering. You can find reviews on websites like Healthgrades, Yelp, and Google. Also, pay attention to what other patients are saying about their experiences with the provider. Look for providers who have excellent reviews from their patients.
  5. Schedule a consultation: Once you have narrowed down your list of potential providers, schedule a consultation with each. During the consultation, ask about their experience with TMS therapy, the success rates they have seen, and any potential side effects. This is also an excellent time to ask about their treatment approach and any additional services they may offer.

The Future of TMS Therapy

I’m excited about the future of TMS therapy. It looks promising as researchers continue to explore its potential applications and refine the technique.

One area of ongoing research is the development of personalized TMS therapy, which would involve tailoring the treatment to each patient’s specific brain activity and symptoms. Another area of research is using TMS therapy for a broader range of conditions, such as chronic pain, addiction, and schizophrenia.

Overall, the future of TMS therapy appears to be bright, with the potential to offer new and innovative treatment options for a variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Try TMS Therapy With Brain Health Center.

Try TMS Therapy With Brain Health Center 

If you want to learn more about TMS therapy and whether it may be a good treatment option, don’t hesitate to contact Brain Health Center. Our team of experienced providers can help answer any questions you may have and provide guidance on whether TMS therapy is right for you.

We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal brain health and well-being. Contact us today at 435.900.0123 or email us at to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a happier, healthier life.