Depression Treatment – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS Therapy) is an FDA-approved non-invasive method of brain stimulation that uses precise, special magnets to normalize neural activity. TMS Therapy can be used for the treatment of severe depression and major depressive disorder in addition to these other ailments:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Dementia
  • Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance abuse
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

TMS Therapy for depression has been shown to be highly effective according to studies and patients’ testimonials. This depression treatment aims to calm the brain.

How Does TMS Therapy Work?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a FDA approved non-invasive procedure that uses a small, computer-controlled electromagnetic coil to deliver short, powerful bursts of focused magnetic energy on areas of the brain. These TMS magnetic fields are similar in strength to a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation works on groups of neurons in the brain controlling how neurons start firing. These magnetic pulses target specific parts of the brain inducing an electrical current in specific nerves. This electromagnetic stimulation of TMS therapy works on nerve cells in a complex way that is believed to reduce depression and other brain-related conditions.

More info is HERE

The TMS Therapy Process

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is non-invasive and doesn’t require any anesthetics, so you can even drive home after treatment. However, due to the strong magnetic fields used and needing to sit for up to an hour at a time, we need to determine if the procedure is right for you and no pre-existing conditions will affect TMS treatment.

TMS Therapy Pre-treatment

Before undergoing TMS therapy you will first need to do the following:

Physical Exam – We will evaluate your health and make sure no physical issues will arise from TMS treatment. We will ensure you will have no problems sitting for treatment and do not have any conditions that will be affected by the electromagnetic instrumentation such as pacemakers.

Psychiatric Evaluation – We will evaluate your condition and see if TMS therapy will be effective or whether another treatment is needed.

Please let us know if you have any pre-existing conditions that may affect TMS therapy treatments:

  1. Implants or Medical devices: Let us know if you have any metal objects or devices affected by magnets
    • Pacemakers
    • Implanted devices (such as insulin pumps)
    • Metal implants or objects (including possible bullet/shrapnel fragments)
    • Stents
    • Hearing aids / cochlear implants
    • Brain activity monitoring devices
  2. Medication: Any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medication you are taking.
  3. Seizures: Any personal or family history of seizures or epilepsy
  4. Brain/Head Injuries/Illnesses: Tumors, strokes or concussions.
  5. Migraines/Headaches: If you suffer from frequent or recent headaches.
  6. Other medical conditions: Let us know of any other medical conditions.

What to Expect During TMS Treatment

During your first TMS therapy session, which can last up to an hour, you will sit in a reclining chair with a TMS device over your head. As the device can be loud, much like an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, you will be given ear plugs to protect your ears. The TMS therapy will produce tapping sensations on your head lasting a few seconds. The doctor will then determine the machine’s strength by observing any twitching in your fingers. Follow-up TMS therapy treatments should last about 40 minutes. You will be awake and alert during each treatment. After TMS treatment, you can expect to return to work or drive.

Treatment Frequency

TMS therapy treatments will require up to five treatments per week for 4- to 6-weeks. As you undergo TMS therapy, we will determine if treatment is effective and whether to continue treatment or change to a different therapy or treatment.

Possible Risks of TMS Therapy

TMS treatment is non-invasive and does not require surgery or implants. TMS therapy, unlike electroconvulsive (ECT) therapy, should not have a risk of seizures and does not require sedatives. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy is generally a safe treatment, however some side-effects should be considered.

Possible Side-effects of TMS Therapy

Most patients experience no problems with TMS therapy, however, mild- to moderate side-effects are possible with TMS treatments, such as:

  • Mild headaches: These generally diminish over the course of the treatment or, if it persists, can be treated using over-the-counter pain medication.
  • Facial twitching / scalp sensations: TMS treatments may activate scalp or facial muscles. Treatments can be modified by adjusting coil positioning and stimulation settings. Often these sensations tend to diminish over the course of treatment.
  • Hearing problems: TMS machine produces a loud noise and, like an MRI machine. Patients will use earplugs during the treatment to reduce hearing risks. However, patients may still complain of hearing problems immediately following treatment. No evidence suggests these effects are permanent if earplugs are worn during the treatment.

You can find further info on TMS side effects HERE

Our compassionate services on moderate to severe depression have made huge differences in the lives of people from Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and surrounding California areas. We can help you or a loved one needing kindhearted and effective mental health treatment.

If you are affected by severe depression, please don’t hesitate to contact Mountain View Psychiatry and TMS today by calling 650-969-6772 or contact us today to discuss options.

For further information and reading on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy, please visit these resources:

Mountain View Psychiatry & TMS
525 South Drive, Suite 207
Mountain View, CA 94040
Phone: 650-231-4490
Fax: 650.969.3309
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