What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
In 2008, the FDA approved the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS, as a treatment for major depression. It was proven to be a medically safe and effective solution for treatment-resistant depression as well as other mental disorders. At Shore Clinical TMS, we have found this to be very accurate.
TMS is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate neurons (brain cells) in specific parts of the brain. This leads to ‘awakening’ of parts of the brain that are inactive in depression. Through a process called ‘neuroplasticity’, the brain begins to go through structural and functional changes, which allows the brain to alter in a way that eliminates symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses. Within weeks patients find that they are more optimistic, energetic, focused, relaxed, and mentally clear.
TMS therapy works by providing electromagnetic pulses to a part of the brain known to be directly associated with mood regulation, motivation, decision-making, memory, cognition, and many other things. Indeed, this area (the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) is shown to be weaker in those diagnosed with depression. Stimulating this area causes the brain to change at a microscopic level and to create new connections with deeper parts of the brain. Once the deep limbic system structures change, so do your emotional and behavioral patterns! Ultimately, this pharmaceutical-free intervention improve the brain’s ability to regulate mood, emotion, motivation, and many other aspects of cognition.
It is important to note that TMS is nothing like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – more commonly known as electroshock therapy. TMS does not require anesthesia and is exceptionally well tolerated as compared to the side effects often seen with medications and ECT. With TMS, the most common side effect is a slight headache during or after treatment. With time, patient’s find the headaches are much less frequent and bothersome. A rare but serious side effect is the potential for a seizures. For this reason, TMS may not be appropriate for people at high risk such as those with epilepsy, a history of head injury, or other serious neurologic issues. However, at Shore Clinical TMS we have never had a patient experience a seizure.
TMS is a safe and effective treatment for individuals diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) who have not experienced satisfactory improvement from antidepressant medication or who feel medication is causing unwanted side effects. TMS Therapy can be used as a stand-alone treatment or used in conjunction with medication.
At Shore Clinical TMS & Wellness Center, we have helped hundreds of people beat their life-long depression. People of all backgrounds, ages, demographics, and types of depression have found TMS to improve their symptoms more than any other psychiatric medications. We believe TMS and neuromodulation as a whole are the future of mental health care, and are excited to be able to bring this technology to the residents of South Jersey.