The FDA approved transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy in 2008 as safe and effective. TMS is for patients who fail to respond to antidepressants and other forms of depression treatment. TMS is a proven and non-invasive option for treating depression.
It is essential for physicians to be able to recognize patients who are resistant to medical treatment. Physicians also need to know if transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy should be considered as an option.
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Recognizing the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression is the first step of the process. The physicians would need to explain the role and the mechanics of TMS, as well as communicate the safety and efficiency of the treatment, before referring a patient for TMS. Numerous studies over the past several years have shown that TMS produces positive results. Electromagnetically stimulating the brain causes neurons to fire or become active again.
TMS treatment sessions last between 30 and 60 minutes. Patients receive a total of 30 sessions, Monday through Friday for 6 weeks. Patients are observed by a technician during each session, but the patients simply recline in a chair with the TMS coil on their head during the session.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation can improve brain activity in the underactive portions of the brain. This treatment is not the first line of options and is for usually for more major or severe cases of depression. It is also not a certain cure but rather a path to a better direction. 85% of patients continue to do well after a year of treatment.
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