Depression and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Individuals with depression experience a wide range of symptoms – low energy, fatigue, lack of motivation or concentration, irritability, sadness, inability to feel pleasure, guilt, isolation, difficulty sleeping, increase or decrease in eating, decreased sociability, worry, suicidal ideas or intentions, and thoughts of hurting yourself or others. Unfortunately, people often find that typical antidepressants not only fail to eliminate these symptoms, but also cause an abundance of unwanted side-effects.

Many of our patients are referred to our clinic after receiving a depressive disorder diagnosis that is not improving with routine treatment. Our clinic’s specialization in treatment-resistant depression and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) provides a safe and effective alternative. TMS should be considered amongst the population who want to avoid taking medications (e.g. pregnancy) or in elderly or medically ill people who may not tolerate multiple medication trials.

Treating Depression with TMS

Unlike typical medications, TMS therapy results in long term ‘neuroplasticity’, or remodelling of the brain’s structure and function. As shown in the image above, when the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is underactive, a variety of emotional, cognitive, psychomotor, and neurovegetative problems are experienced. Luckily, TMS stimulates this part of the brain, which allows it to communicate easier with deeper parts of the brain, causing them to function as they’re supposed to more properly and reliably.

To qualify for insurance to authorize TMS treatment, the patient must generally have “difficult to treat depression” or treatment-resistant depression. After approval, the patient will undergo an average of 36 total sessions. Our patients generally notice positive changes after the first 1-3 weeks, improving consistently over the timeline of 6-8 weeks.. After the course of 36 sessions has ended, most people will remain well for more than a year, as the benefit of TMS is more enduring than medication. 

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