More than 8% of American adults experience depression, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). That’s about 21 million people dealing with feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, sadness, and low self-esteem regularly.
Fortunately, many people benefit from medication therapy to help them manage their symptoms and improve their lives and well-being. Still, medications aren’t always effective. In those instances, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be an effective alternative.
At The Marcann Group, our team helps people in Glendale and Phoenix, Arizona, manage symptoms of treatment-resistant depression with TMS therapy tailored to their needs. Here, learn how TMS works and how it can help you enjoy better mental health and an improved quality of life.
Although researchers are still learning about how and why depression happens, they do know that it involves brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals affect how nerves inside your brain communicate with one another and help regulate mood.
Depression affects the way your brain produces and uses neurotransmitters. Most antidepressant medications target neurotransmitters to regulate their expression and use. Unfortunately, these drugs aren't always effective.
TMS uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate brain tissue and brain nerve activity. For depression, those pulses are carefully controlled and calibrated to target the areas of the brain most commonly implicated in depression and its symptoms.
TMS works in several ways to help manage depression symptoms. First, it increases the release of neurotransmitters, including serotonin — a chemical involved in depression and mood regulation. Increasing the availability of these chemicals helps your brain function and communicate more effectively.
At the same time, TMS supports new connections between nerves — an effect called neuroplasticity. That gives your brain the tools to “rewire” itself, improving neural communication that helps brain function. These new neural connections support long-term improvement in depression symptoms.
Finally, the electrical impulses released during TMS improve circulation in targeted areas of the brain. In turn, improved circulation supports healthy brain metabolism, providing your brain with the oxygen and nutrients it needs for optimal function.
TMS sessions take 40-60 minutes, and they’re performed in the office. Best of all, there’s no downtime afterward. All you need to do throughout your session is sit back and relax.
During treatment, we place the TMS device on your scalp, near your forehead. The device features a magnetic coil that releases bursts of electromagnetic energy. The energy pulses are painlessly absorbed through your skin. The only sensations you may experience are a series of taps on your forehead as the energy cycles on and off during treatment.
TMS can be a safe and effective treatment for many people with depression, but it’s not a good choice for everyone. You shouldn’t have TMS if you have frequent headaches, a history of seizures, or a pacemaker or other implanted medical device that could be affected by the magnetic current.
If you have depression and traditional therapies haven't helped, TMS could be the solution. To learn more about TMS, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at The Marcann Group today.