TMS vs. ECT: What is the Difference?

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TMS vs ECT

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and what Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)? What is the difference between the two?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation sounds terrifying. Electroconvulsive therapy sounds even more frightening.

Both TMS and ECT are alternative solutions for when antidepressants fail to improve symptoms of depression. While the procedures of TMS and ECT are quite different, both are brain stimulation therapy.

What are the pros and cons of TMS vs. ECT? How does each of them work?

Odds are, if you are reading this, you have tried many different kinds of antidepressants that have not worked for you. If you are feeling frustrated or disheartened about your pursuit of overcoming depression, then look no further. We will review the differences and similarities between TMS and ECT, so you can make the best decision for improving your brain health.

What is TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) refers to the procedure of placing a magnetic coil close to someone’s cranium and sending magnetic pulses to stimulate specific nerve cells typically associated with depression.

TMS is non-invasive, and patients remain awake the entire session. Patients are encouraged to read or listen to music during the procedure as it is not noisy or disrupts any activity patients choose to pass the time. Patients are safe to drive home after treatment is finished.

TMS takes place over an extended period of time, with sessions happening five times a week for about six weeks.

TMS entails an extended time frame because you are essentially rewiring neurons in your brain. Nerve connections do not develop overnight. Developing healthy connections takes time as well.

What is ECT?

Electric Convulsive Therapy (ECT) involves applying electric currents directly to a person’s brain to induce a mini-seizure.

You might be familiar with ECT from what you have seen in the movies. The depiction of ECT in film has created a tremendous stigma against ECT.

Today, ECT is safer and more comfortable for patients than it has been in the past.

ECT is an invasive procedure. With ECT, patients are placed under general anesthesia while patients experience light seizures. While ECT is much safer than it once was, patients still need to be monitored during and after the procedure.

People considering ECT should be aware that they will need a driver to and from their sessions and they will need to take off extended time from their place of work.

The Equipment

ECT requires a surgical suite to administer the procedure and a stay in a recovery room once therapy is finished.

The ECT machine itself looks like a dated receiver with a few cords that lead out to two handheld grips with circular leads. They are placed on the patients’ temples for 60-second, sending an electrical current, causing your body to seize temporarily.

A monitor is utilized to track heart rate, oxygen levels, and other vitals.

Notable details to carry out ECT:

  • Recovery time/ possible overnight stay
  • Sudation
  • An IV
  • May require oxygen treatment
  • Mouthguard (prevent your teeth from cracking)

TMS is a simple, same-day procedure that requires zero recovery. TMS treatments are carried out on NeuroStar’s state-of-the-art comfortable chairs directly in the clinic.

The NeuroStar machine looks like a dentist’s chair with the technology of an MRI machine. Patients are sat on the NeuroStar chair and reclined for comfort.

The magnetic stimulator looks like a detachable showerhead, like as in the head, with a handle and a hose. It is placed on the area of the brain the therapist has deemed needing stimulation.

A monitor is used to track the motor threshold which is the predetermined frequency and intensity of the magnetic pulse measured by your doctor.

What Are the Side Effects of TMS vs. ECT?

One of the pros of TMS is that TMS generally has very few side effects.

The potential side effects include discomfort at the location of the magnetic coil and a headache towards the beginning of your treatment. With time, the headaches will completely disappear. Altogether, TMS is a very safe procedure and poses very few risks.

ECT, on the other hand, can lead to many side effects that may lead to complications.

ECT can lead to feelings of confusion and memory loss after the procedure. The experience of seizures may cause you to have headaches, jaw aches, and soreness in muscles.

Electroconvulsive therapy can also lead to complications from general anesthesia or heart conditions.

Which Type of Brain Stimulation Therapy is Better?

The answer depends on your preference and health condition. We can review the pros and cons to help you determine which type of treatment is best for you.

The benefits of TMS therapy are that TMS yields very few side effects. TMS is an FDA-cleared treatment for depression, and it serves as an alternative to medication. It is good news for people who have not had great experiences with antidepressants.

TMS does feature a handful of cons, however. Since TMS is still a relatively new form of treatment, not all insurance companies will cover TMS. TMS works best when used in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy.

What about ECT? What are the benefits of ECT?

ECT is also a great alternative for people with treatment-resistant depression. ECT can treat extreme forms of depression and has a more significant effect when compared to TMS.

What are some of the drawbacks of ECT?

ECT yields many side effects, including achiness, memory loss, and confusion. Complications are a great risk for people with heart conditions or who respond poorly to general anesthesia.

Pelorus TMS

If you are interested in TMS and live in New Jersey, choosing Pelorus TMS could be the right choice for you.

Pelorus TMS has several clinics is located in New Jersey. The clinics that specifically offer TMS treatment are located in Morris County and Somerset County.

Many major insurance companies cover TMS treatments as an alternative to treatment-resistant depression. Since TMS is still a relatively new procedure, not all insurance companies will cover the cost.

Pelorus TMS will walk you through what to expect with TMS treatment in addition to the information presented here. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an exciting innovation for treating people with treatment-resistant depressive disorder.

Contact Us Today

Now that you have learned the pros and cons of TMS vs. ECT, what are you waiting for?

Contact Pelorus TMS today to book your first appointment.

TMS offers a unique and special opportunity to create a favorable prognosis for individuals suffering from depression. With time, your depressive symptoms will disappear entirely with very few adverse side effects, if any.

We hope to hear from you soon. Together, we can defeat depression for good.

Will TMS Affect My Personality?

Will TMS Affect My Personality

There are several reasons that someone might require TMS treatment, whether you’ve got Autism or you’re one of the 300 million people that suffer from depression. One of the most common questions asked when it comes to TMS therapy is, “will TMS affect my personality?”

We understand that it can be scary not having the answers, and it’s for that reason, we’ve created a brief guide that will give you the peace of mind you need to move forward with your therapy.

What is NeuroStar TMS?

TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation and is a treatment that the FDA has cleared for use in treatment-resistant depression. TMS may be prescribed after medications and talk therapy have been unsuccessful in lowering your depressive symptoms.

TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses repetitive magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. These magnetic fields create electrical currents in parts of the brain associated with mood, allowing the treating clinician to target depression at the source.

How Does NeuroStar TMS Work?

NeuroStar TMS therapy requires a machine such as Neurostar to perform TMS treatments. Imagine a dental hygienist chair with the technology of an MRI machine. The chair reclines to a comfortable position to provide maximum comfort while the session is being performed.

During treatment sessions, you will have a coil placed on your scalp near the forehead area. Once positioned, the machine will begin delivering electromagnetic pulses that will help stimulate the area of the brain, whose function is to control your mood.

The theory is that the treatment will help stimulate the brain areas showing a reduction in brain activity. As the treatment is conducted, the hope is that it will help improve the symptoms a person may be experiencing and increase their mood.

Sides Effects of NeuroStar TMS

When you’re undergoing this type of therapy, there are some side effects that you may begin to experience. The first and most common side effect is a headache.

Depending on where you are in your treatment plan, your headaches may vary in severity from mild to severe. Another side effect of the treatment is irritation of the scalp.

If you continue to experience this kind of irritation, you might want to reduce the pulses’ strength delivered to your head.

Will NeuroStar TMS Affect My Personality?

We understand that one of the biggest fears you have is experiencing changes to your personality. NeuroStar TMS therapy won’t change your personality or alter it in any way.

What this therapy will do is help to stabilize your mood. The treatment can help to start the neurotransmitters responsible for balancing your mood. Think of the five-factor model of personality when considering the benefits of TMS.

Some of the benefits you stand to gain include:

  • Increase in energy
  • Improved levels of motivation
  • Better concentration

These are just a few of the benefits that we have to share with you when you seek this form of treatment.

NeuroStar TMS Therapy

Are you ready to seek treatment but don’t know of a provider with the services you need? Contact Pelorus TMS.

Not only do we offer TMS services, but we have a skilled staff that can answer any questions you might have surrounding this form of treatment.

The Link Between Stress and Depression

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link stress and depression

Stress is not only commonplace in our daily lives; it’s normal. However, the degree of stress that we experience and its sustained nature can trigger depression in some individuals.

Chronic stress, in particular, has links to mental health disturbances like depression. However, it can often be challenging to determine when stress has crossed the line and become a mental health problem since so many of the symptoms of the two conditions can overlap.

Here, we’ll explore the link between stress and depression and provide tips for effectively managing both.

What Is Stress?

Stress describes a set of reactions when the brain and body are subject to pressures, demands, or even dangerous situations. While stress is a term most often used with negative connotations, it’s actually a useful response in many cases as it triggers us to become more alert and motivated.

When placed under stress, the brain releases hormones that surge all over the body. These hormones trigger our “fight or flight” response. The stress forces us to contend with the situation or flee from it depending on circumstances.

Often, situations require a more intense focus, and stress can compel us to provide the appropriate response to many situations that are challenging or downright unsafe.

What Are Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress?

Stress can manifest itself in our lives in different ways. That’s why its signs and symptoms can vary from person to person.

An individual might experience more physical signs of stress, while another might experience more mental discomfort. These symptoms may range between mild and severe.

The psychological symptoms of stress may include:

  • Memory difficulties
  • Trouble concentrating, thinking or maintaining focus
  • Constant worry
  • Reduced self-confidence
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Increased irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling unhappy
  • Finding it difficult to relax

Physiological symptoms of stress may include:

  • Headache
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stomach upset
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Muscle tension or discomfort
  • Fatigue/lack of energy

What Are the Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Stress?

Stress doesn’t only affect our brains and bodies. It can also impact our behaviors. The impact can be harmful unless we can identify the stress and manage to cope with it in healthy ways.

The negatives signs and symptoms of stress can include:

  • Withdrawing from friends and family (social withdrawal)
  • Eating more or eating less
  • Exhibiting changes in sleep patterns
  • Increases in nervous habits like nail biting or teeth grinding
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home or work
  • Not performing tasks as well as before
  • Declining productivity
  • Increasing the use of cigarettes, caffeine, alcohol, or even drugs

The behavioral aspects of stress, mainly when they manifest as negative behaviors, can actually cause more stress.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health condition that also negatively affects how someone feels, thinks, and acts. In a given year, as many as 16 million people are likely to experience major depression. Depression may have both known and unknown triggers.

Experiencing loss and grief can lead to depression. However, this mood disorder can also be caused by chronic stress.

When someone is depressed, they feel less interest in doing things they may have formerly enjoyed. They may also feel sad and hopeless; these feelings can persist and even worsen over time if the condition remains unaddressed or left untreated.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?

There are many signs and symptoms associated with depression, and many are also associated with chronic stress.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Feeling sad or blue for an extended period of time
  • Losing interest in activities once enjoyed (i.e. reading, watching television)
  • Finding it difficult to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Experiencing changes in appetite (i.e. eating more than usual or eating too little)
  • Loss of energy / increased feeling of fatigue
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Having trouble thinking, focusing, or making decisions
  • Experiencing thoughts of death
  • Considering suicide

As you can see, several of the symptoms between stress and depression are related. In fact, some people may not be aware of whether they are suffering from stress or depression.

What Is the Link Between Stress and Depression?

Stress, especially chronic stress, causes the body’s stress-response mechanism to work overtime. As the body responds, hormones like cortisol flood the body and may remain at elevated amounts.

On the other hand, stress can lead to a decrease in other hormones like serotonin and dopamine associated with mood regulation. Low dopamine and serotonin levels are associated with depression.

Moreover, these hormones are also involved in regulating other activities in our lives like sleeping, sex drive, eating, and more. When they become unbalanced, we are likely to experience changes in our feelings and behaviors.

After a time of the stress response failing to “shut off,” the negative feelings can pave the way to the development of depression.

Stress Management

Whether you are aware that you are vulnerable to depression or note that you’re under increasing stress, you’ll want to manage stress as effectively as possible.

By managing your chronic stress well, you may be able to keep depression at bay. It’s when chronic stress is ignored and left unmanaged that it can lead to depression.

There are many ways to cope with stress in healthy habits that can enhance physical and mental health. To cope with stress better and reduce the risk for depression, consider increasing your daily activities.

Activities to cope with stress include:

  • Exercise (i.e., walking, running, swimming, biking, aerobics, etc.)
  • Reading
  • Listening to music
  • Yoga classes
  • Talk to a therapist

Remember that chronic stress can also cause physical health problems such as heart disease. It’s essential to manage stress effectively so that it doesn’t lead to more pressing health concerns, including the development of mental illnesses like depression or anxiety.

Managing Depression and Stress with NeuroStar TMS Therapy

If you have been diagnosed with depression, it’s also essential to manage this condition effectively so that symptoms improve and the depression doesn’t worsen.

If you find that medications are ineffective for treating your depression, you may be the ideal candidate for TMS therapy.

Pelorus TMS specializes in transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of depression. With improved management of stress and depression, you may be able to reduce their adverse effects and experience greater well-being.

Living with Treatment-Resistant Depression

treatment-resistant depression

Feeling sad or down every now and then is normal, and a part of everyday life. We all experience some moments of sadness, hopelessness, and even depression. If you get these feelings that aren’t fleeting, the feelings that last weeks, months, even years, it’s a clear sign of depression.

Many people have found help with their depression through some form of treatment, medicine, or therapy to help their symptoms. There are those who have tried to utilize these same methods to no avail.

Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD) is a condition in which people are unresponsive to the standard treatments. It takes some time to realize if you have TRD. You need to allow antidepressants and psychotherapy an appropriate amount of time to ease symptoms before they can be diagnosed.

Are you or a loved one living with Treatment-Resistant Depression? There’s good news, you can still overcome many symptoms that come with TRD. Here are some different ways of living with Treatment-Resistant Depression.

What is Treatment-Resistant Depression

Treatment-Resistant Depression can affect anybody. It’s eerily similar to other various forms of depression. It doesn’t respond positively to the traditional forms of treatment for depression.

Most people living with Treatment-Resistant Depression, and their doctors, won’t actually know it’s TRD, until much later. Most won’t know until they find out their antidepressant medication isn’t working or soothing their symptoms.

There are those at a much greater risk for being diagnosed with Treatment-Resistant Depression. Those who are at a greater risk have:

  • History of Depression
  • Underlying Medical Conditions
  • Sleep Disorders/Insomnia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Older in Age (Senior Citizens)
  • Genetics
  • Metabolic Disorders
  • Been Diagnosed with Depression for a Long Time
  • Been Diagnosed Incorrectly

Some other potential causes could include the severity of the symptoms and anxiety. The severity of depression can be mild, moderate, or major. Those with major depression have a much greater risk of developing treatment-resistant depression.

Since TRD is resistant to traditional treatments and modalities, as the name suggests. What can you do if you or a loved one is living with Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Understanding the Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis

While there hasn’t been a proven cause for depression or other related mental health illnesses. 

Genetics plays a large role in determining who and how someone is impacted. Genetics can determine if someone is predisposed to depression itself, and how they will respond to certain treatments. If a parent has major depressive disorder, their child is more likely to develop the condition as well.

Treatment-Resistant Depression symptoms are the same as depression. TRD has the addition of no response to antidepressants or psychotherapy (including cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral activation, psychodynamic, and interpersonal). TRD is a kind of major depressive disorder, but can sometimes be a misdiagnosis in place of bipolar disorder.

A misdiagnosis could potentially be why standard depression treatments aren’t working. It’s important to talk to your doctor about that possibility. Verifying with your doctor that the standard treatments potentially aren’t working because of external factors like drug or alcohol abuse is also pertinent.

If you’ve been using these standard treatments for a few months and have experienced no remission in your depressive symptoms. Sometimes the most difficult thing to do is admit (to yourself and others) that you haven’t had relief from your symptoms. Talking about your experience can help your doctor or mental health specialist understand how to better help you.

The Fast-Acting Treatment Options if You’re Living with Treatment-Resistant Depression

Living with depression, especially when it is treatment-resistant, is debilitating. It’s the leading cause of disability in the U.S. today. Each individual being robbed of everyday joys deserves to find a treatment that works for them. Luckily, researchers are constantly working on new plans for depression treatments.

After you’ve been diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, there are a few common advanced treatments that can help relieve your symptoms. The most frequently used advanced treatments for TRD include electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, ketamine, and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. 

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

This may sound alarming, but general anesthesia is used and the electric currents are applied only in a controlled setting. Today it’s much safer than the chair-strapped kind portrayed in 1950’s movies. This therapy is now commonly used on pregnant women unable to take antidepressants and older adults unable to bear side effects.

While it is generally safe and often effective in those unable to feel relief with standard treatments. The risks can include confusion immediately after the therapy, memory loss, nausea and headaches. These are often treated with medication.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

This type of treatment involves the external activation of your tenth cranial nerve. This nerve controls the parasympathetic nervous system (often called rest and digest). This is effective because if your vagus nerve isn’t activating when it should. Your body is constantly in fight or flight mode (controlled by the sympathetic nervous system).

Traditionally, a device can be surgically implanted into the chest with a wire threading up to the nerve, located along the back of the neck and wrapping around near the clavicle. However, new non-invasive devices have been created and approved in most of Europe. The FDA approved these devices to treat certain headache disorders. Vagus nerve stimulation is often used for epilepsy and pain, in addition to severe or treatment-resistant depression. 

Ketamine

A fairly new treatment for depression but has historically been used as an anesthetic during war. It is sometimes referred to as a miracle drug because of its rapid-acting suicide reduction rates. The two ways to be treated is a nasal spray called esketamine, or racemic ketamine which is given intravenously. 

This drug causes fewer side effects than any other used for depression and anxiety. Some side effects induce high blood pressure, perceptual disturbances, and dissociation. Ketamine also has highly addictive qualities, and long-term use has additional negative side effects that are still being researched. 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a series of sessions in which magnetic pulses target underactive areas of the brain, caused by depression. The sessions are often a brief 20 minutes, continuing daily for about 6 weeks. This treatment is not to be confused with electroconvulsive therapy and has a longer-lasting impact on changes in the brain.

The side effects are considerably less than other advanced depression treatments. While risks do include headaches, scalp discomfort, and light-headedness, only 5% of patients experience these symptoms. The treatment does not require sedation, is FDA-cleared, non-invasive, non-medicated, and covered by most insurance providers. 

Find out more about repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation from the experts.

TRD is treatable, and help is available

Most people with treatment-resistant depression realize the term “living with depression” is an oxymoron. Battling with depression, surviving with depression, or existing with depression are more accurate at times.

While there are holistic and mindful practices to handle depression, these often are not enough to cure symptoms completely. 

Choosing to find a treatment that can reduce and relieve your treatment-resistant depression symptoms is the first step to living your life again. Understand that your brain’s treatment resistance is not your fault, and there is nothing you have done wrong.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to be proactive, and improve your quality of life. Even if you’re living with treatment-resistant depression, contact us, to find out how we can help you today!

How Antidepressants Work vs. TMS

Do you or a loved one struggle with depression? 

There are several types of treatment that doctors and psychiatrists recommend for depression. They often go in different stages.

First, they may recommend therapy. CBT (or cognitive-behavioral therapy) is often the first option for people who are seeking treatment.

If the patient needs more help, many doctors recommend trying antidepressants to see if they help. People with treatment-resistant depression don’t always benefit from these medications, though.

After these efforts haven’t worked, some people choose to try TMS. TMS is transcranial magnetic stimulation. It’s a non-drug approach to treating depression. 

If you’re interested in receiving treatment for your depression but you’re not sure what’s right for you, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn all about how both TMS and antidepressant medications work to help you feel better.

What Are Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are medications that are supposed to help the patient manage their depression. They come in various classes, and it’s normal for patients to need a trial-and-error process before they find the proper medication for them. 

Most psychiatrists recommend that someone tries antidepressant medication before moving on to more intensive or unique treatment styles.

How Do Antidepressants Work?

Because there are several kinds of antidepressants, they all operate in different (but similar) ways. They focus on three primary neurotransmitters: dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. 

Antidepressants aim to increase the availability of these neurotransmitters in the brain. 

Here are the main kinds of antidepressants (though there are others) and how they function.

SSRIs

SSRIs are the most popular kind of antidepressant. SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

It is one of the newer classes of antidepressants, and it’s often considered the most effective. It works by blocking the reuptake of serotonin in the brain so it’s more available.

SSRIs are also popular for anxiety, eating disorders, and other common mental health conditions. 

They consider SSRIs to be safe when taken the right way. They can cause nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and sexual dysfunction. Many people report emotional numbness.

SNRIs

SNRIs are similar to SSRIs with one primary difference: Norepinephrine.

SNRI stands for serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Like SSRIs, SNRIs prevent serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake, making it more effective for certain patients. 

They may cause nausea, fatigue, and constipation. 

Atypicals 

Several antidepressants are hard to classify. They may be alone in their class.

The first and most popular is Wellbutrin, an NDRI (norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor). People reported feeling more alert and energized with this medication.

Trazodone is a SARI (serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor). This should stop serotonin receptors, so serotonin is more available within the body. Though it’s an antidepressant, it’s sedating, so it’s typically less desirable.

Remeron is a noradrenergic antagonist. It blocks the release of adrenaline, so people who experience depression triggered by stress may find it helpful. 

Who Are Antidepressants For? 

Antidepressants are the first line of defense when it comes to depression. If someone is reasonably healthy, has no thoughts of suicide, and doesn’t struggle with side effects, antidepressants are a good choice.

It’s important to talk to a doctor if you experience severe side effects, are pregnant, or are taking other medications that may not work well with antidepressants. 

What Is TMS?

TMS is a relatively new method for treating depression. It’s FDA-approved and non-invasive. 

It stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. In other words, it uses magnets to stimulate nerves in the brain to help alleviate depression. While it sounds scary, it’s safe and has very few side effects. 

How Does TMS Work?

When you go in for TMS treatment sessions, the doctor will place an electromagnetic coil against your scalp near your forehead. 

This coil emits magnetic waves that feel like taps or pulses. These waves should help to stimulate nerve cells in the part of your brain that controls your mood. 

It is a painless process, though some patients may encounter some discomfort while they’re adapting to it. 

Each session is about 20 minutes long, five days a week, and patients receive treatment for 4-6 weeks (in comparison to long-term treatment through medication management).

If the patient wants to continue traditional treatment, TMS can work alongside therapy and medication. 

Who Is TMS For?

TMS is perfect for anyone who has already tried conventional depression treatments. Many clinics require that patients try several antidepressant medications before trying TMS. 

TMS is particularly popular amongst people with treatment-resistant depression.

With that in mind, TMS isn’t for everyone. 

People with metal implants in their heads aren’t suitable for TMS due to the magnets. It is also true of people who have mental health conditions. Conditions that are contraindicated for TMS include bipolar disorder and certain types of brain damage. 

If you experience treatment-resistant depression and want to see if TMS is a good solution, talk to a doctor.

TMS and Antidepressants: What’s the Right Depression Treatment for You?

Antidepressants are helpful to most people who experience depression. While finding the right medication is difficult, it’s helpful if your brain is wired for it.

If you have treatment-resistant depression, however, this might not be true. While therapy and antidepressants can do some of the work, you may benefit from TMS therapy as an addition to your treatment plan or as a replacement for your current medication.

If this is something that you’d like to try, we’d like to meet you.

At Pelorus TMS, our team of professionals want to help you heal. Contact us to set up an appointment to see if TMS is a good treatment option for you.

How Long Do the Effects of TMS Treatment Last?

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Nearly seven percent of American adults struggle with depression each year. It’s a disease that can feel inescapable at times.

When medications and therapy just aren’t getting the results you want, it can feel like you’re out of options. 

That’s where TMS treatments come in. A relatively new option, many are still apprehensive about whether TMS is truly effective. Moreover, some question how long the effects of TMS treatment last.

That’s what we are here to answer today. Read on to find out what TMS is and how effective it can be. 

What is TMS Treatment?

TMS is short for transcranial magnetic stimulation. While the name sounds very scientific and perhaps a little scary, it’s completely safe and non-invasive. 

TMS directs recurring magnetic energy pulses to the parts of your brain which guide mood control. These pulses pass painlessly and harmlessly through your skull.

The idea of magnetic pulses probably conjures up some scary images, but don’t worry. The pulses you feel during TMS are no more harmful than ones you are exposed to during an MRI. 

There are no sedatives needed, nor will you feel any lasting physical effects afterward.

TMS stimulates brain cells so that it improves communication in other parts of your brain. TMS pulses that pass at regular intervals are known as repetitive TMS or rTMS. 

What is TMS Used For?

In the United States, TMS has been cleared by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to treat major depressive disorders. 

Many go to a non-drug option when traditional treatment options have proven ineffective or the side effects have become too severe. 

In Europe, however, TMS has been approved to treat several different conditions. These include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • OCD and other anxiety disorders

As such, TMS is trusted in countries for both mental and physical disorders. 

How Does TMS Work?

When using TMS treatment for depression, we know that those who suffer from it have low activity in parts of the brain involved in mood regulation. TMS, therefore, stimulates those areas. 

In other words, it “resets” the brain and decreases some of the effects of depression.

Basic TMS treatments have small electromagnetic coils lightly placed on the patient’s head. Then, magnetic pulses are delivered to a specific area of their brain as a stimulant. 

Like we mentioned earlier, these pulses are harmless and are similar to an MRI than to anything else. This drug-free, painless, and safe procedure takes about 30 to 40 minutes. We recommend that you undergo the procedure about five times for a stretch of four to six weeks. 

Whether or not someone feels the positive effects of TMS relatively quickly differs from person to person. Some might need a few weeks, while others will feel the effects in only a couple of hours. How TMS will affect you is assessed by your TMS physician. 

What Devices Are Used in TMS?

You may be asking: “What incredible machines conduct TMS?” There are a few different types of machines. 

Some TMS devices include:

Surface TMS

Surface TMS devices use a figure 8 magnetic coil. They penetrate about 0.6 inches underneath the skull to get to brain regions. 

Deep TMS

Deep TMS, as the name suggests, penetrate deeper into the skull, about 1.6 inches all told. It uses a larger H-coil that makes for greater magnetic energy to get deeper into the brain. 

Rabid TBS

Rabid theta-burst therapy devices are quicker than the TMS devices mentioned above but are just as reliable and safe. Sessions with rabid TBS take about 3 to 6 minutes rather than the 20 or 40 required by other TMS devices. 

Simple brain stimulation devices are also available, but many haven’t been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. How effective they are, we still don’t know. 

When consulting your physician about CMS, make sure you know what devices are being used and which ones are appropriate for your condition. 

How Long Do the Effects of TMS Treatment Last?

While TMS is entirely safe and reliable, it can be a time commitment. Many want to guarantee that it will be effective.

TMS isn’t a cure for depression, but it can help you manage your symptoms. Aside from the physiological aspects of depression, things like your social and family life can affect your moods. 

With that said, TMS has yielded positive results in recent years. Many have noted improved changes in their lives after taking on the treatment, particularly those who’ve tried other forms of treatment.

In terms of how long the effects of TMS treatments last, it all depends. Depression is complicated, and the combination of social and physical factors can determine how effective TMS can be. 

Your brain reacts to things differently than other people, so gauging how long the effects of TMS treatments last will be quite variable. 

Patients of TMS treatment report that they experience life improvement results lasting six months, up to a year after treatment. A report from 2013 found that about 60% of those who took on TMS treatment cited improved mental states after a year, while the rest reported complete remission. 

TMS treatment is not the be-all and end-all. It’s reductive to frame it as a last resort for those suffering from depression. 

Instead, it’s something that individuals can turn to when they feel like their depression treatments aren’t enough. When safely combined with other forms of treatment, whether that be medication or therapy, it can elevate your results.

It’s brought tremendous amounts of happiness and success to chronic depression patients, which is why it’s worth considering despite slight variability in how long the results last.

Leverage the Benefits of TMS Today

If you’re considering TMS, you understandably will have wanted to know how long the effects of TMS treatment last. Hopefully, this article can inform you and others about how long these effects last and how they can positively affect your lives today. 

Are you searching for reliable TMS therapy in the New Jersey area? Contact us today, and we’ll provide the right solution.

How Does Depression Affect the Brain?

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Around the world, there are more than 264 million people that suffer from depression. Depression can make it difficult for individuals to carry on with daily activities and is a leading cause of disability worldwide.

Most people know that depression can leave someone feeling sad, hopeless, tired, and uninterested in things they once loved. However, they might not realize that depression can have a lasting effect on the brain, the impact of which can sometimes reverberate long after a depressive episode has ended.

How does depression affect the brain?

Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

How Does Depression Affect the Brain Physically?

Many people might not realize that depression can change the physical brain and affect a person psychologically. These include brain inflammation, shrinkage, connective and structural changes, and oxygen restriction.

Brain Inflammation

How does long-term depression affect the brain? According to some studies, it appears that the longer a person is depressed, the more inflammation can build up.

Researchers believe that there is a connection between inflammation and depression. It’s unclear, though, whether depression causes inflammation or the other way around.

Numerous complications can arise from brain inflammation because it can cause the death of brain cells.

Excess dying brain cells can lead to:

  • Decreased neurotransmitter function
  • Shrinkage
  • Reduced neuroplasticity, or the ability for a person’s brain to change as they get older

These complications can lead to issues with memory, learning, mood, and brain development.

Brain Shrinkage

It appears that depression can decrease the size of certain regions in the brain. However, there is an ongoing debate over which brain regions get smaller due to depression and to what extent they shrink.

The current understanding is that the following parts of the brain can potentially shrink as a result of depression:

  • Frontal
  • Prefrontal cortices
  • Hippocampus
  • Thalamus

The length and severity of depressive episodes link to how much different regions of the brain decrease in size.

Connective and Structural Changes

When a person experiences depression, it can also cause connective and structural changes to the brain.

Some connective and structural changes include:

  • Affecting attention and executive function by reducing the functionality of the prefrontal cortex
  • Causing memory impairment by reducing the functionality of the hippocampus
  • Affecting emotional regulation and mood by reducing the functionality of the amygdala

How does untreated depression affect the brain? Longer-lasting depression potentially leads to persisting dysfunction in memory, mood, attention, executive function, and emotional regulation.
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Oxygen Restriction

Evidence also suggests that there is a link between depression and reduced oxygen in the body. When the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, it can lead to inflammation, brain cell injury, and brain cell death.

How Does Depression Affect the Brain’s Cognitive Abilities?

Depression doesn’t just leave people feeling sad or hopeless, but it can also get in the way of your ability to think. It is believed that a reduction or interruption of the brain’s chemical messengers might cause depression, which can also impair cognitive abilities.

Memory

Memory loss is a relatively common symptom of depression. A study from 2013 found that people with depression had difficulty identifying objects that were similar or identical to things they had seen moments before. Another study from 2015 suggested that short-term memory loss might be a result of depression in some cases.

Attention

It isn’t uncommon for people who suffer from depression to have a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as attention deficit disorder. People with depression are also more likely to have issues with attention. Researchers don’t exactly know why people with depression are more likely to have attention problems. They do know, however, that they are correlated.

There can also be cognitive side effects to antidepressant medications. It is a good idea to talk to your doctor if you notice a sudden onset of attention issues. If antidepressants don’t work for you, you might consider Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a non-drug treatment with no side effects.

Decision Making

Even minor decisions can become difficult to make when you have depression. Things like what to do next or where to go to dinner can lead to agonizing indecision. Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy is a tool to help patients combat this issue.

Executive Function

When you have executive function impairment, it can interrupt your ability to do simple tasks. Things like remembering to return a phone call or paying bills can become incredibly difficult.

Your executive function is in charge of getting things done like:

  • Managing time
  • Remembering important details
  • Planning and organizing
  • Shifting focus

Luckily, there are behavioral approaches and educational strategies that can help improve their executive function.

Are Antidepressants Not Working For You?

Now that you have a better understanding of how depression affects your brain, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it.

Depression is a severe mental health condition that can impact every aspect of your life. It can affect everything from your job or school to your relationship to your hobbies.

Many people opt to take medication to help reduce their depressive symptoms. However, others try to avoid potentially harmful side effects of these prescription drugs or have found the medication unhelpful.

If this is the case for you, you might consider Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) — a non-medication treatment for depression.

It is an FDA-cleared non-drug depression treatment that is non-invasive and free of side effects. So far, over one million treatments have been administered, resulting in long-lasting symptom relief, and covered by most insurance.

If you or a loved one are interested in whether or not TMS is right for you? If so, contact us today to book an appointment!