How long does transcranial magnetic stimulation last when treating depression?
Is TMS a cure for depression? Does TMS last forever, or does it need to be repeated over time to maintain the antidepressive effects? How does TMS compare to traditional antidepressant drugs?
Antidepressant medications do not always work to treat severe depression. When depression symptoms persist with daily antidepressant medication, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy is an important treatment option to consider.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an electromagnetic therapy that provides lasting relief from treatment-resistant depression. How does TMS work? During a TMS session, magnetic pulses generate a current to provide brain stimulation.
Unlike electroconvulsive therapy, there is no scalp discomfort or risk of dangerous seizures, and far less risk for memory loss. TMS therapy is just as safe as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
By stimulating specific nerve cells with pulse therapy in the prefrontal cortex, using a TMS device, depressive symptoms begin to go into remission. With each treatment session, the patient will notice improvements.
As a depression treatment, TMS is superior to antidepressants in many ways. It does not cause sexual dysfunction, and it provides lasting relief with a short-term treatment plan.
Will TMS treatment last forever?
There is no depression treatment that can promise lifelong relief without any type of maintenance therapy over time. However, even after a year, more than half of TMS patients report that they are still in remission from their depressive symptoms.
As your TMS provider will explain, there are some patients who will benefit from repeat sessions to reinforce the antidepressant effects. Still, going back for TMS once a year, or even several times per year is better than taking antidepressants every single day.
At this time, prior antidepressant medication use is required to establish a diagnosis of treatment resistant depression. Typically, patients must first try at least two different prescribed medications before their insurance company will cover TMS therapy treatment.
After completing a series of treatments, the patient can expect long-lasting relief from their depressive disorder. In the future, insurance companies may decide that TMS is a preferred mental health therapy for depression.
In addition to treating depression, TMS can also provide lasting relief from bipolar disorder. Deep TMS is used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder.
While a series of TMS treatments is not a permanent depression cure, it can provide very long-lasting relief. Magnetic pulse therapy with TMS has a strong track record of treating major depressive disorder for up to a year at a time, or longer.
What do TMS success stories tell us about how long TMS lasts?
The TMS success rate is excellent, with over half of patients with depression reporting symptom relief at one year or more. In the short time that this new therapy has been available, it is proving itself over and over again.
The success rate of TMS is reflected in the many individual stories of people who are happy to never have to go back to antidepressant tablets, such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, or Lexapro. These SSRI drugs are known to cause chemical disturbances in the brain, and they can increase the risk of suicidality.
Imagine a magnetic therapy machine that can improve your mood without the need for drugs that alter the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. The TMS depression success rate goes beyond how long a series of treatments last.
In looking at the success rate of TMS for depression, we must also consider the reduction or elimination of antidepressant drugs. Also, we must consider the issue of transcranial magnetic stimulation vs electroconvulsive therapy.
TMS achieves the same goals as electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT. Yet, it does not carry nearly the same risk, and it is far easier to tolerate TMS treatments.
How long does TMS therapy last compared to traditional antidepressant drugs.
In order to compare magnetic stimulation to medications that block reuptake of serotonin in the brain, we must first assume that SSRI drugs work to relieve depression at all. Recent studies imply that it is possible that these medications that have been on the market for decades may be mostly ineffective.
We must also assume that they are safe to take. SSRIs have black box warnings, ordered by the FDA, informing doctors and patients that these medications can increase the risk of suicidality.
So, in making these assumptions, how long do TMS results last compared to SSRIs, or other antidepressant drugs? What we should ask is this: how long do the effects of TMS treatment last after a short-term series of treatments has been completed?
SSRI drugs are tablets or capsules that are taken on a daily basis. When the patient first starts therapy, they are told to take one dose by mouth daily. They are also told not to expect any improvement for at least 2–4 weeks or longer.
What happens after the initial month of SSRI therapy is over? The doctor then tells the patient that improvements are gradual and subtle. How does the patient know that the treatment is working if the effects are so subtle, they are difficult to detect?
TMS, on the other hand, works when SSRI drugs, and other antidepressants, have failed. After the treatment series is complete, the patient feels relief from depression without having to take a pill, capsule, or tablet every day.
By any measure, TMS is the longer lasting therapy compared to antidepressants. Many TMS patients would also agree that TMS is far more effective as well.
Are there good TMS centers in Maryland and the Washington Metropolitan Area?
How can I get the best TMS for depression in Maryland? You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that our center is located conveniently in Annapolis, Maryland.
We offer the best TMS experience in the area. Patients with treatment-resistant depression are welcome to reach out and email or call our office to learn more about the TMS experience.
We also offer ketamine infusion for depression. If you are wondering, “is ketamine and TMS better than ketamine infusion alone for depression?”, we can give you answers based on your unique situation.
TMS is safe, effective and affordable. In fact, most insurance companies will cover TMS therapy. Please schedule an appointment today to learn more about what makes our TMS program uniquely suited to helping people overcome treatment-resistant depression.