What Is Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?


What Is Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

If you are living with depression, medication-based approaches could provide some relief for your symptoms. However, if antidepressants are not effective or you prefer not to take medication, your doctor may recommend repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation as an alternative treatment.

Do not let the name intimidate you. rTMS is a noninvasive treatment that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in your brain. Through rTMS, many people have found relief from the sudden feelings of hopelessness, dread and intense sadness that characterize depression.

How Does rTMS Work?

While depression has several possible causes, many people develop mood disorders due to imbalanced neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Most medication for depression works by bringing your brain chemistry to manageable levels. Instead of sending chemicals through your bloodstream and into your brain, rTMS takes a more physical approach to alleviate the feelings associated with depression by attempting to alter your brain chemistry through the use of external forces.

Most treatments involve an electromagnetic coil that delivers a painless magnetic pulse into your frontal lobe, the area that controls mood and depression. These pulses activate the nerve cells in this region.

Many health professionals who practice rTMS believe some forms of depression directly result from underperformance in the frontal lobe. rTMS generates magnetic pulses to stimulate these areas of decreased activity, helping reduce feelings of depression and other symptoms.

What to Expect During rTMS Treatments

What is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation like? For example, when you arrive at your doctor’s office for your appointments, they will have you recline in a chair while they press an electromagnetic coil against your forehead. From there, the machine will send the magnetic pulses into the afflicted areas.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is a quick and easy treatment. You may feel a knocking or tapping sensation while the device is active, but aside from that feeling, the process is relatively painless and noninvasive.

women receiving a TMS treatment with a doctor and specialist giving the treatment - caption explaining how you might feel knocking or a sensation from the device


Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Side Effects and Other Considerations

Because repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is noninvasive, the side effects people may feel are not as drastic or potentially risky as other, more invasive procedures and chemical-altering drugs. Today, rTMS is one of the safest and most tolerated methods for treating depression.

Unlike vagus nerve stimulation, rTMS does not require any form of invasive surgery or implantation of electrodes. It also doesn’t cause seizures or require any form of sedation.

However, rTMS has some mild side effects you should be aware of.

  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Discomfort around the stimulated area
  • Tingling, twitching or spasming facial muscles

In rare circumstances, patients may experience some uncommon side effects.

  • Seizures
  • Mania — more prevalent in those who suffer from bipolar disorder
  • Hearing loss — only if you do not wear the proper ear protection

After receiving your treatment, you can drive yourself home and go about the rest of your typical daily activities.

If you have a metal or implanted medical device in your body, particularly your head, you will need to consult with your doctor before treatment. The magnetic field produced by the electromagnetic coil may make you ineligible to receive treatments.

Other Disorders rTMS Can Treat

While repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has proven to help clients living with depression, this treatment can also alleviate the effects of a handful of other conditions.

  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Hoarding disorder
  • Autism
  • Stroke
  • Migraines and chronic pain
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

rTMS is not a cure for any condition. Instead, this treatment alleviates severe symptoms, making these conditions slightly more manageable and less debilitating.

For all these health challenges, rTMS works in much the same way. An electromagnetic coil sends magnetic pulses into areas of your brain linked with your specific medical condition. The resulting stimuli help reawaken unused areas.

The FDA has not approved rTMS as a treatment for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. Researchers are currently conducting further testing and study.

Our rTMS Treatment Process

At Principium Psychiatry, our goal is to help you as best we can. Many who suffer from depression choose us to help them with their rTMS treatments.

What sets us apart?

  • We always provide the best treatment possible based on scientific evidence, considering new and updated information regarding better techniques or technology.
  • We only hire experienced professionals who specialize in a wide range of treatments and conditions.
  • To provide you with the best possible rTMS treatment, we’ve partnered with NeuroStar to deliver the most extensive and focused rTMS treatment available.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Near Me

Don’t let depression impact your quality of life. If you feel your current treatment strategies are no longer doing enough to help you, contact your doctor and discuss rTMS treatments as an alternative solution.

Our goal is to treat every patient who comes through our doors with the utmost compassion and respect. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, we will treat you with the kindness and care you deserve.

Dr. smiling and talking with a patient overlaid with a graphic explaining how you should contact Principium Psychiatry for treatment

We accept everyone who wishes to better themselves and reclaim their lives by learning to manage depression. Contact Principium Psychiatry to begin your rTMS treatments and see how we can help with your mental health. Call us at 212-335-0236 or book an appointment online!

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