Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy has been a lifesaver for those with treatment-resistant depression and other mental disorders. A common question psychiatrist’s get is how long does TMS therapy take? The length isn’t always set in stone, but here’s what you need to know.
TMS therapy involves a series of treatments over a length of time. A single procedure typically takes 20 minutes but could take longer depending on the location of the coil. The first TMS session will be longer than the later ones as it will take some more time initially to find the right locations for the coil and the right strength for the magnetic pulses.
Typically TMS therapy is comprised of at least 36 treatment sessions. How long a full course of TMS takes depends on the individual center. Here at Delray Brain Science, in most cases, a full course of TMS therapy will take around 12 weeks to complete, although this could extend longer depending on how an individual reacts to it. TMS is administered 5 days a week during the first 4 weeks of a course, and then it goes down to twice a week for another 8 weeks.
Every patient is different so how long until results will be felt can vary. Some report feeling better as early as two weeks in, while others say they don’t start noticing a change until week 4 or 5. Don’t expect to feel a sudden drastic change. Most patients report small changes first like sleeping better or having more good mornings than usual. It will be small signs of improvement in the beginning, but overall, in the long run, things will be greatly improved compared to how they were before TMS therapy began.
We’ve found that some patients only require one course of TMS, while others may need some maintenance therapy. Factors like age, number of medications tried, mental diagnosis’s, support system, therapy, diet, and exercise can all impact how long the results of TMS last. TMS therapy isn’t meant to be a miracle cure, it’s simply another tool for treatment that should be used alongside other tools for the best results.
While TMS is no holiday miracle, it can bring results and relief to those that don’t get it through traditional medication. Even though the length of a full course of TMS may seem daunting, the sessions are short and results will be felt far quicker than with medications. If you want to learn more about TMS therapy feel free to contact us.