Battling a major depressive disorder can be frustrating, at best, and seemingly futile, at worst. While antidepressants have proven useful, the fact is that up to two-thirds of people with depression don’t achieve adequate relief from the first antidepressant they try.
While trying another antidepressant is one route, Dr. Diana Ghelber and the experienced mental health team here at the Institute for Advanced Psychiatry offer another option — transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy.
In the following, we explore how TMS works and how successful it has been in addressing depression.
The history of TMS
Recognizing its efficacy and the need for more solutions for major depressive disorder, the FDA approved TMS therapy for depression in 2008 and, since that time, we’ve been helping scores of people break free from the mood disorder, especially those with treatment-resistant depression.
How TMS works
With TMS therapy, we target certain areas of your brain that are associated with regulating mood with magnetic pulses. Our goal with these pulses is to break up concentrations of neurons that we believe are responsible for your symptoms of depression to encourage healthier neural pathways.
One of the many benefits of TMS therapy is that the treatments are completely noninvasive. We place a coil around your head to deliver the energy, which passes harmlessly through your skull to target the intended neurons in your brain.
In most cases, we recommend a series of TMS treatments — five times a week for four to six weeks, for example — until you begin to see improvement and your new neural pathways are functioning well.
The treatments themselves last only about 20 minutes, after which you’re free to get on with your day.
How well does TMS work?
To give you an idea about how well TMS works, let’s take a look at a couple of studies. In the beginning of this blog, we referenced a study that found that two-thirds of people who try an antidepressant don’t achieve adequate relief with the first medication. Now, let’s look at some other numbers — 50-60% of people who fail to get relief from antidepressants do succeed with TMS therapy. In fact, one-third of people achieved full remission from their depression.
Another review found that patients who underwent TMS therapy alone for major depression had a significant reduction in symptoms compared to the sham controls (those who did not receive TMS).
Our own experiences here mirror these studies, and we’ve been able to help patients finally break free from depression using TMS therapy.
If you’d like to explore for yourself whether TMS therapy may hold the key to solving your depression, contact one of our offices in Granbury or Fort Worth, Texas, to set up a consultation.