If you follow along with the things happening at MindPath Care Centers or in the general mental healthcare world, you may have heard about a new service called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy or “TMS.” You’re probably wondering, with a name like that and how it looks, what does it even do and is TMS therapy even offered near you?
In short, TMS is a non-medication therapy cleared by the FDA to help treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and smoking addiction in patients who have not found relief with standard treatments. It can be a helpful form of alternative therapy if you have not found any lasting or meaningful change to your quality of life from other treatments. Not only is TMS therapy easy and noninvasive, but more than 60 clinical trials have shown it to be effective.
But let’s go a little further in-depth and explain exactly who stands to benefit from this service and how it works:
What does TMS Therapy do?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation involves sitting in a comfortable chair in one of our offices while a technician places a machine onto your head. Instead of you taking medicine, the TMS machine uses short, magnetic pulses, sent through a magnetic coil, to stimulate nerve cells in the parts of your brain believed to be involved in regulating mood and emotions.
It may sound scary, but these magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine used in hospitals. The main difference is that, instead of using it to view large areas of your body or your whole brain, the pulses reach only about 2-3 centimeters into the brain, only affecting the area directly beneath the treatment coil.
As the magnetic pulses move into your brain, they produce tiny electrical currents, activating brain cells that are thought to release serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. In many people, mental health conditions may be caused by an imbalance of these chemicals (also called neurotransmitters) in the brain. You might feel like you’ve entered a sci-fi movie, but TMS Therapy is based in reality and may be able to relieve your symptoms by restoring these chemicals to the proper balance.
Before you can start TMS, you receive a health assessment to determine your specific needs, and then you may start out with daily sessions for 3-6 weeks. If needed, you may have tapering sessions for 3 more weeks.
If TMS works for you, you will see your symptoms improve or even go away completely. This may take a few weeks of treatment.
What are the benefits and side effects?
While individual results can vary, MindPath’s TMS treatment remission rates for depression collectively are significantly higher than that of other published studies. MindPath found that, out of 181 patients from 2019-2020, 89% of them had greater than 50% improvement in symptoms and 61% went into remission. Only 11% had no response to the treatment.¹
This is great news for the future of mental health and, as TMS is still being researched and tested for different conditions and different parts of the brain, we are committed and pride ourselves in immersing in the latest discoveries.
On the other hand, you may be wondering about what the side effects are when using a machine like this. One of the best parts of TMS is that it has very minimal side effects.
With TMS Therapy:
- You are awake and alert during the treatment
- You don’t need anesthesia or sedation
- The treatment is “non-systemic,” meaning it does not involve medication taken by mouth, so nothing is circulating in your bloodstream
- You can resume your usual activities immediately
- Your memory or mental clarity is not affected
But, like any other type of treatment, some side effects are possible. These may include headaches, discomfort where the coil is placed, tingling or spasms of facial muscles, and/or lightheadedness. Most of these side effects are mild and go away shortly after each session – diminishing over time. Sometimes, as well, symptoms may feel worse before they start to improve, but it is usually not something to worry about.
Where can I receive TMS Therapy?
We offer TMS at six locations across North Carolina. These include
- 1130 Situs Court, Ste 109
Raleigh, NC 27606
- 3610 Bush Street
Raleigh, NC 27609
- 3604 Shannon Rd, Ste 200
Durham, NC 27707
- 4220 Apex Hwy, Ste 200
Durham, NC 27713
- 6060 Piedmont Row Dr S, Ste 500
Charlotte, NC 28287
- 6752 Parker Farm Dr, Ste 100
Wilmington, NC 28405