Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive medical procedure that involves the use of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in your brain to improve depression symptoms. TMS is considered the lasting solution when other depression treatments, such as psychotherapy and medications, have proven unsuccessful. TMS is also called rTMS or repetitive TMS, as it involves delivering repetitive magnetic pulses. In this post, we will tell you why you should have your Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation procedure done by Psychiatric Consultants of Atlanta.
Different types of TMS
There are several ways to perform Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, with each type using its magnet strength and varying ways to apply the magnetic field. Below are some of the different types of TMS procedures:
- Pulse patterns. TMS procedures can use different patterns of pulses for treatment. An example is theta-burst stimulation (TBS), where a total of 15 Hz (pulses per second) are used. Using these high burst patterns helps speed up the treatment, making it about five or six times faster than other methods.
- Magnet strength. Most Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation procedures use magnets that generate a magnetic field with a strength of 1.5T or 2T, similar to that of a magnetic resonance imaging scanner. However, the area of the magnetic field for an MRI is much larger.
- Pulse frequency. TMS usually involves high-frequency pulses at five pulses per second (5 Hz) or low-frequency pulses at one pulse per second (1 Hz).
- Magnetic coil type and stimulation target. Different types of magnetic coils are used to target different brain structures. For instance, Deep TMS involves an H-shaped helmed coil aiming at deeper brain structures than TBS and rTMS.
Why is transcranial magnetic stimulation done?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive treatment often considered when other treatment options fail to work. TMS procedures offer an alternative to treatments like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Below are some of the conditions treated with Transcranial magnetic stimulation:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Essential tremor
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Eating disorders
- Traumatic brain injury
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Stroke Complications
How does TMS work?
During transcranial magnetic stimulation, your healthcare provider will place an electromagnetic coil against your scalps near your forehead. The electromagnet coil then delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates the nerve cells in the brain region involved in depression and mood control. Apart from being invasive, TMS procedures do not require anesthesia and can be easily carried out on an outpatient basis. However, repetitive TMS procedures are done in a practitioner’s clinic or office. This is because it usually requires several treatment sessions to achieve satisfactory results. The session can be held five times a week for four to six weeks.
During your first TMS treatment, you will be taken to a treatment room and given an earplug to wear during the treatment. You will then feel tapping on your forehead as an electromagnetic coil is placed against your head. Your healthcare provider will regulate the amount of magnetic energy required by increasing the magnetic frequency until your hands or fingers twitch, which indicates the reference point. A TMS treatment usually lasts for about one hour.
What Are the Risks Involved?
While TMS treatments are generally considered to be safe, there are sometimes accompanied by some side effects, such as:
- Hearing loss if there is poor ear protection during treatment
- Spasms, twitching, or tingling of facial muscles
- Scalp discomfort at the region of stimulation
Psychiatric Consultants of Atlanta is a well-known psychiatric care center that offers reliable treatment solutions for different psychiatric challenges. Led by Byron K. Evans, MD, and the highly skilled team of experts, they will provide you with a TMS procedure to help lower your depression and anxiety levels. Get started today and book an appointment or call us at 770-766-9141.