Anti-depressant medication is often the first course of action, but about 40% of those with depression are not helped by that approach. A new study from Neuronetics has revealed that Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) could be a beneficial option for some who have not been helped by medications.
TMS works by using targeted magnetic pulses similar to that used in an MRI to stimulate the brain. This stimulation encourages blood flow and activity in the area of the prefrontal cortex responsible for regulating mood. Initial treatments requires five 37-minute-long sessions each week for about 4-6 weeks, with some using monthly maintenance sessions.
The most common side effect from TCM is mild pain at the treatment site, though most patients only experience those headaches during the first week. Because the treatment is localized instead of systemic (like oral medications), patients are spared from many side effects such as nausea, fatigue, and changes in appetite.
Over the last 15 years, about half of the patients who have been treated with TMS have seen a meaningful reduction in their symptoms, while about 35% have gone into remission.