What is TMS used for?
TMS is primarily utilized for the treatment of depression and anxiety. There is also benefit noted in the following conditions:
- Addiction (cigarettes, food, opioid)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-natal depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Schizophrenia (negative features)
- Addiction (alcohol, cigarette, food, opioid)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Chronic pain
- Multiple Sclerosis (spasticity)
- Parkinson’s Disease (motor symptoms)
- Seizure disorders
Frequently Asked Questions
TMS is a gentle process in which a focused magnetic pulse stimulates under-active brain cells, activates them to work more efficiently and transforms lives through symptom reduction.
What it is used for?
TMS is primarily utilised for the treatment of depression and anxiety. There is also benefit noted in many other conditions.
No. TMS is primarily recommended for treatment resistant illness and in that context, is intended to be an adjunctive (additional) treatment. That being said, given repose rates and tolerability, increasingly clients are opting for TMS earlier in the course of their illness prior to trying medication. For those that achieve either complete remission or significant improvement, it is important that any changes to medication proceed under the supervision of your usual treating team.
An individual may be suitable for TMS if he or she:
- has a diagnosis of depression (especially treatment resistant depression)
- has had difficulty coping with some of the side effects of medication
- does not wish to take medication
- does not wish to undergo Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
- suffers with any of the other disorders listed earlier (see section what is TMS used for?)
As a general rule, TMS works best when it is given relatively early in the course of the illness, and results are better if the treatment course is completed. Recent evidence suggests that a predictor of response to TMS can be identified after 10 sessions of TMS (2 weeks). Increasingly, our experience shows it works remarkably well, even for clients with a high level of treatment resistance. Depression during pregnancy and breastfeeding can be considered on a case by case basis. Given the nature of the magnetic action TMS, should not proceed if there are any metallic implants (especially in the brain), metal objects or shrapnel in the brain or eye region or cochlear implants.
The usual number of treatments is between 20-30 over a period of 4-6 weeks.
This ultimately depends on the individual. Patients commonly report sustained improvement for up to a year following treatment. For some in whom depressive symptoms recur, an individualised maintenance program can maintain recovery without having to repeat the initial induction course.
Once assessed and the appropriate treatment protocol is determined, the treatment session typically lasts approximately 30 minutes. Clients are at all times sitting comfortably and alert. For this reason we encourage individuals to engage with therapy whilst receiving their treatment. During treatment the magnetic coil is suspended over the appropriate region of the person’s scalp. The client perceives a series of clicking noises followed by a pause as the magnet rapidly turns on and off gently pulsating activating energy to the desired brain region. Following treatment, the client can immediately resume daily activities.
Treatment resistant depression (TRD) is depression that has failed to respond in any meaningful way to conventional treatment (medication/psychological therapy). Depression itself is a complex illness that can diminish a person’s enjoyment or engagement with his/her loved ones, friends, education or career. In addition to the psychological feelings of despair and guilt, it can have a physical basis and adversely affect one’s sleep pattern, energy levels and sex drive, as well as other symptoms such as muscle pain. For some, coping with this illness can become difficult and they can become hopeless, even suicidal. For these reasons, the World Health Organisation recognises depression as the illness with the greatest morbidity. TMS is helping to turn treatment resistance into recovery attainment.
Yes. It is approved by Health Canada (2005), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States (2008) and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), United Kingdom (2015). The treatment has also secured a Conformité Européene (CE) mark in Europe.
To date over 100 peer reviewed publications investigating TMS in depression, including three multicentered randomised sham controlled trials, have been completed. The evidence is consistent regarding the effectiveness and safety of TMS in depression (Clinical TMS Consensus Review 2016).
The core scientific principles of TMS (electromagnetic induction) are well established. Research into its physiological/clinical applications began in the 1980s leading to its approval by Health Canada (2005), as a safe and effective treatment for depression. Since it received FDA approval in the United States, TMS is now covered by insurance policies in 41 of 50 states.