Traditional and Invasive Treatments VS. TMS for Depression

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, there are many different treatment options to consider. Most psychiatric care centers steer clear from invasive treatment options so that patients can first explore other, less invasive methods. One non-invasive treatment method that is effective in reducing the severity and frequency of depression symptoms, even in patients that haven’t responded well to traditional treatment methods, is TMS. TMS for depression is providing people with an alternative to both invasive and traditional treatment methods.

What is TMS and how Does it Work?

TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It’s a type of treatment for depression that is especially helpful for people living with treatment-resistant depression. This means that depression symptoms haven’t responded to other types of treatments including prescription psychiatric medications and behavioral therapy. It’s an FDA-approved method of treating depressive symptoms that has a very high success rate, low risk of side effects, no recovery time, and is completely non-invasive.

During TMS sessions, patients are equipped with headgear that is attached to the scalp. This headgear includes metal coils that send magnetic pulses through the head in order to reach pinpointed areas of the brain that are believed to be responsible for depressive symptoms. The result is stimulating the brain tissue in order for better functioning. For example, allowing the brain to better produce and release brain chemicals that are responsible for mood management. Thus, helping to reduce symptoms of depression in up to 70% of patients. Furthermore, patients who use this type of therapy consistently often see long-lasting results. And, can get back to their day-to-day responsibilities immediately after treatment.

What are Traditional Forms of Depression Treatment?

TMS is a relatively new approach to treating depression, as the FDA approved it for depression treatment use in 2008. Traditionally, depression has been treated by the use of behavioral therapies and psychiatric medications. In many cases, the use of a combination of treatments can further help people with depression to reach remission. But, not all patients have found success with traditional depression treatments, hence the many individuals living with treatment-resistant depression.

Antidepressant medications are successful for many people living with depressive disorders. However, they are not successful in completely reducing the severity and frequency of depressive disorders for everyone. Every person’s brain works differently, so medication may not be effective for everyone. Furthermore, antidepressant medications can come with a host of different side effects. So, many people who are living with depressive disorders and have used antidepressant medications may be looking for alternative treatments in order to stay away from unwanted side effects. Since TMS doesn’t have a high risk of side effects and the side effects that are present are not long-lasting or life-altering, many people who don’t have success with antidepressants or who don’t want the side effects of these medications may consider TMS as an alternative.

What are Invasive Treatments for Depression?

While invasive treatments are often the last resort for depression treatment, they are still available. People who are considering these types of treatments may want to consider TMS first in order to try a non-invasive method out before going through a surgical procedure or something that may require time to recover. Typically, invasive depression treatment options involve implanting devices into the brain during a surgical procedure. Examples of these types of devices include trigeminal nerve stimulation and deep brain stimulators. These devices work by blocking and stimulating nerve impulses located in the brain that can help to reduce symptoms of depression.

However, many people who undergo these procedures to get these implants may find that, even after undergoing surgery, these devices don’t work completely to eliminate symptoms. And, that recovery time is difficult after brain surgery. For these reasons, it can be helpful to eliminate all other options before choosing an invasive option for depression treatment, like TMS.

Choosing TMS for Depression as a Treatment Option

TMS is becoming more widely available for people living with depressive disorders. Delray Center for Brain Science offers TMS for depression in order to provide people living with treatment-resistant depression or those who want to consider alternative depression treatment another option. Find out more about our TMS sessions and what to expect from our website.