Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive medical treatment used for individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) who have not experienced adequate improvement from antidepressant medications. Here’s how TMS works and how it can help with depression:

1. Principle of TMS:

  • TMS involves the use of a coil placed against the scalp, which generates magnetic pulses.
  • These pulses pass through the skull and stimulate specific areas of the brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex.

2. Brain Stimulation and Neurotransmitters:

  • TMS is believed to modulate neuronal activity and affect neurotransmitter levels, particularly serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which play key roles in mood regulation.
  • By influencing these neurotransmitter systems, TMS may alleviate depressive symptoms.

3. Stimulation of Prefrontal Cortex:

  • The prefrontal cortex is associated with mood regulation and is often underactive in individuals with depression.
  • TMS targets this area to stimulate neuronal activity, promoting increased blood flow and encouraging neural connectivity.

4. Neuroplasticity:

  • TMS is thought to induce neuroplastic changes, meaning it can alter the structure and function of neural circuits over time.
  • This may contribute to long-term improvements in mood and alleviate symptoms of depression.

5. Treatment Sessions:

  • TMS typically involves daily sessions over several weeks (usually about 4-6 weeks).
  • Each session lasts about 20-40 minutes, and the patient can resume normal activities immediately afterward.

6. Non-Invasiveness:

  • Unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), TMS does not require anesthesia, and patients remain awake during the procedure.
  • It is considered a non-invasive and well-tolerated treatment option.

7. Side Effects:

  • Side effects are generally mild and include scalp discomfort or headache at the treatment site.
  • Seizures are an extremely rare side effect, and TMS is considered safer than traditional forms of brain stimulation like ECT.

8. Effectiveness:

  • TMS has been shown to be effective, especially for individuals with treatment-resistant depression.
  • Response rates vary, but some patients experience significant and lasting improvement in depressive symptoms.

9. Patient Selection:

  • TMS is typically recommended for individuals who have not responded well to antidepressant medications.
  • It is important for a healthcare professional to assess and determine if TMS is an appropriate treatment option for a specific individual.

 

Remember, if you need further guidance or support, don’t hesitate to reach out to your mental health professional or contact us for assistance.