The Benefits of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
At Midwest Recovery Centers, we offer, when appropriate, transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS. This non-invasive procedure is used in mental health to treat certain conditions, especially depression, but others, including addiction, as well. In most cases, TMS is used when other treatments, including therapy and medication, are ineffective.
How Does TMS Work?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses magnetic fields that stimulate the brain’s nerve cells. A magnetic field stimulates nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, which regulate mood.
The procedure can involve the following general steps:
- An electromagnetic coil is put on the scalp of the patient.
- When activated, the coil generates a magnetic field to induce small electrical currents in targeted brain cells. The currents are thought to influence the brain’s neural activity.
- The magnetic pulses produced by TMS are thought to depolarize brain neurons, leading to the release of neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are associated with mood regulation.
- TMS can also change neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize by forming new neural connections. This is thought to be part of why TMS is therapeutically beneficial.
- The frequency and duration of TMS sessions can vary depending on an individual’s specific treatment plan, but often, it involves daily sessions spanning several weeks.
TMS is always administered under the supervision of trained healthcare professionals at Midwest Recovery Centers.
The Benefits of TMS
TMS has several potential benefits in the treatment of depression and other mental health conditions. These include
- It’s a non-invasive procedure, so it doesn’t require surgery or any instruments to be inserted into the body.
- TMS is generally well-tolerated by most patients, not requiring anesthesia. Patients can resume normal activities right after each session.
- TMS is effective in treating depression, especially in cases where other treatments haven’t been successful. It’s often considered for people with treatment-resistant depression.
- TMS doesn’t cause systemic side effects like medications can. They’re generally limited to headaches or mild discomfort at the treatment site.
- There’s targeted stimulation of specific brain regions.
- It’s usually performed on an outpatient basis, so patients don’t need to be hospitalized, although it can also be part of inpatient treatment programs.
- There are some instances where TMS can be used as a maintenance treatment to prevent a relapse of symptoms after an initially successful treatment course.
- The Food and Drug Administration approves TMS to treat certain conditions, including major depressive disorder.
Is TMS Safe?
TMS is considered a safe treatment overall when administered by trained professionals. It doesn’t require anesthesia, and it’s been approved by regulatory agencies. Healthcare professionals administering this treatment are trained in specific protocols and safety guidelines. They assess each patient’s suitability for TMS, monitoring them during their treatment.
There are a few contradictions where TMS might not be suitable for someone, such as people with a history of seizures or individuals with metal implants in or near the head. Your healthcare team will assess your physical and mental health symptoms and concerns when creating a treatment plan at Midwest Recovery Centers.
What Is TMS Used to Treat?
Primarily, TMS is used to treat certain mental health conditions. It’s FDA-approved to treat major depressive disorder in people who haven’t responded well to traditional antidepressant medications and talk therapy. It’s also approved in the U.S. for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. While depression is the primary indication for TMS, conditions that have been looked at in terms of potentially benefiting from this treatment also include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
A healthcare professional determines the most appropriate treatment for specific mental health conditions. The treatment is approved abroad for many other conditions, including addictions, chronic pain syndrome, multiple sclerosis, anxiety disorders and more.
Can TMS Be Used as Part of Addiction Treatment?
There’s research to suggest that TMS can have effects on brain regions linked to cravings and addiction. It’s been studied in the context of substance use disorders like alcohol and cocaine addiction.
In addiction treatment, TMS is most often used in combination with behavioral therapies, support groups, counseling and sometimes medications.
Frequently Asked Questions About TMS
What Happens During TMS?
TMS works by delivering magnetic pulses to some regions of the brain to influence neural activity. It’s thought to work by modulating neurotransmitter levels and promoting changes in neuroplasticity, especially in the parts of the brain linked with mood regulation.
Is TMS Safe?
TMS is generally considered safe if administered by trained healthcare professionals. Typically, it’s well-tolerated and doesn’t cause systemic side effects, but there are contradictions, and people with certain medical conditions may not be eligible for the treatment.
What Are the Side Effects of TMS?
The most common side effects of TMS are temporary and mild. They may include scalp discomfort or headaches at the treatment site and usually diminish throughout treatment.
How Long Do TMS Sessions Last?
A typical session of TMS can last from 20-40 minutes, although this varies.
Is TMS Painful?
TMS typically doesn’t cause pain, although some people may feel slight or mild discomfort or a tapping sensation on the scalp during treatment.
Does Insurance Cover TMS?
Insurance coverage varies for TMS, with some plans covering it for certain conditions and others not. This is why Midwest Recovery Centers offers this treatment as part of the comprehensive package when staying at our Mental Health Inpatient. We are tired of seeing barriers for individuals to receive quality care. We will absorb any lack of coverage by insurance for TMS when patients come to our facility.
Take the Next Step
Midwest Recovery Centers is a full service behavioral health treatment center, including a primary mental health residential program. Our treatment approach focuses on individualized planning for each person to help them find recovery, mental wellness and an improvement in their quality of life in every way. Our treatment providers include medical and psychiatric experts, as well as licensed clinical therapists. We use not only TMS when appropriate but also cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), experiential group therapy and more to help you heal completely.
If you’d like to learn more about TMS at Midwest Recovery Centers or any of our other treatments, please reach out today.