Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Alternative Major Depression Treatment
As is happening in many areas of medicine where traditional methods fail to alleviate symptoms, alternative treatments are being embraced now for the treatment of depression. The most promising new treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) is deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS).
What is dTMS Treatment?
Deep TMS is a safe and noninvasive therapy that uses magnetic fields to produce electrical currents in the brain. These targeted currents are able to stimulate the areas of the brain in the prefrontal cortex that have been underactive, a common trait in an individual with MDD. By rebalancing the brain chemistry in the mood center of the brain, the patient experiences improvements in sleep, concentration, and mood.
A typical dTMS session involves the patient sitting in a comfortable chair, fully alert. A helmet containing a padded coil is placed on the head, and is activated by technology similar to an MRI machine. The patient feels tapping on the scalp where the magnetic pulses are delivered.
Deep TMS differs from standard TMS in two significant ways. The coil configuration for dTMS is called an H-coil, designed to target both the medial and prefrontal cortex. In addition, the magnetic fields penetrate up to 6 cm into the brain, versus 2-3 cm with the standard TMS technology. The result is that dTMS treatment for MDD produces significant improvement in symptoms in half the time of standard TMS, with each session lasting only 20 minutes. Typically, five dTMS sessions per week for 4-6 weeks are prescribed for major depression treatment.
Is dTMS Safe?
The ongoing clinical trials studying the safety and efficacy of TMS and dTMS continue to demonstrate that it is both safe and effective in treating MDD. Because no anesthesia is used, there are no serious side effects associated with dTMS. The patient is able to drive him or herself after the treatment sessions and resume all normal daily activities. This is in contrast to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in which patients receive general anesthesia, and the risks associated with it, and may suffer cognitive effects, such as memory loss, after treatment.
Minor side effects have been reported by a small percentage of patients treated with TMS or dTMS. Some have reported mild to moderate headache, and some reported irritation at the scalp site. Both of these effects tend to diminish and disappear over the course of the treatment period.
Deep TMS Treatment Results
For a person suffering from medication-resistant MDD, dTMS offers hope. Often by the time an individual seeks an alternative treatment for their major depression they have already experienced several disappointments trying various antidepressants. The drugs often cause very unpleasant side effects such as insomnia, weight gain, sexual problems, and digestive disturbances, only adding to their sense of frustration.
TMS has been shown to be quite effective in relieving the symptoms of MDD where drugs had failed. After about two weeks, patients using dTMS treatment report improvements in sleep. As the therapy continues, many report clearer thinking and increased concentration. By the end of the 4-6 weeks of treatment, patients notice their overall mood and state of mind have improved significantly. Because MDD is a relapsing condition, follow up sessions may be indicated at a future time.
Achieve TMS East Leading Provider of dTMS in Massachusetts
Achieve TMS East is the premier provider of dTMS treatment in the state of Massachusetts. Being experts in the field of treating major depression, the doctors, clinicians, nurses, and technicians are united in their dedication to helping people who suffer from MDD. With three beautiful offices in Hampshire Country to serve patients, Achieve TMS offers a serene and therapeutic setting to promote healing. Contact us for more information on this exciting alternative treatment for major depression. Call us today at (877) 297-5816.