When patients are suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues the first line of treatment is medication and psychotherapy. But these traditional treatment options don’t work for every person. Brain stimulation therapy is another great option when medication and therapy aren’t cutting it. There are two FDA approved brain stimulation methods, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). Both are safe and effective options, but TMS performs better in a few areas.
- There Are Fewer Side Effects
A huge con of ECT treatments is that there are far more, and far more severe, side effects compared to TMS therapy. Common side effects of ECT include nausea, headaches, jaw pain, muscle aches, muscles soreness, and confusion. Patients may also experience memory loss as a result of ECT.
TMS has very few side effects comparatively. Most TMS patients report a mild headache afterward or a slight ringing in the ear from the noise. Both of these side effects typically go away within an hour or so after the procedure. Many patients also stop getting these side effects after a few sessions.
- It’s Usually Cheaper
While mental health treatments have huge values, they also have large price tags. Certain insurance plans may cover ECT or TMS, but many don’t since they are relatively newer treatment options. When it comes to cost comparisons, TMS therapy is typically cheaper on average than ECT. Cost shouldn’t be a factor when choosing the best mental health treatment, but if it is a definite pro of TMS is it’s lower price tag.
- There’s No Stigma
There are stigmas attached to almost every aspect of mental health, but that’s slowly going away. Unfortunately, ECT has a heavy stigma that likely won’t disappear anytime soon. In the past, an older form of ECT, commonly called electroshock therapy, was used on patients. These old-school mental hospitals where this treatment was used were poorly run and often violated patient rights. People unfortunately still have an image in their head of a patient being strapped down and forced to undergo painful electroshocks. Although that’s not the reality of ECT today, the stigma has stuck around.
- There’s No Need For Anesthesia
A huge plus of TMS is that patients do not have to be put under any form of anesthesia. TMS therapy is completely painless and safe. Patients simply show up and then drive away after the session is completed.
With ECT however, patients are required to be put under general anesthesia and need to have an IV inserted. This means they cannot have food or water the night before a treatment session. Patients are also at risk for all the side effects associated with anesthesia medications.
- There’s A Shorter Recovery Period
With ECT, after a treatment session is completed patients are taken to a recovery area. Once the drugs wear off they may be confused or disoriented for a while. It can take patients hours to recover after ECT. TMS, on the other hand, has practically no recovery time needed after sessions. Patients are totally safe to drive themselves home following TMS therapy.
Contact us if you are interested in TMS therapy for brain performance or depression treatment!