Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) vs Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) & Depression

TMS vs ECT: Which works best for depression?

What does TMS feel like?

When you go to a ketamine/TMS clinic, and you sit under the TMS machine for electromagnetic pulse therapy, what happens next? Is there a sensation or feeling during the treatment session?

Many patients describe a tapping or knocking sensation on their head during TMS therapy. Generally, transcranial magnetic stimulation is easy and not unpleasant.

During your session, you can relax, watch TV or listen to music. During TMS, you are awake and aware of your surroundings.

There is no need for sedation or anesthesia. With each session, depression symptoms should progressively improve.

TMS improves brain activity without disrupting it. Non-invasive magnetic pulse therapy is so safe and effective, it is quickly becoming the standard of care for depression treatment when medications do not work.

TMS success rates are high and there are many TMS success stories. It makes sense that a magnetic therapy device would be a superior option over shocking the brain with electrodes placed on the skull.

TMS vs ECT: Which is better for depressive disorder?

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been around since the 1930s. For nearly a century, it was the standard treatment for resistant depression when medications and therapy were ineffective.

What is the risk of having a seizure during electroconvulsive therapy? The risk is exactly 100%. ECT therapy is brain stimulation therapy that works by causing a controlled seizure in the patient’s brain.

During ECT, the patient is brought to the OR and given general anesthesia, which by itself, carries signicant risk. General anesthesia typically requires intubation, meaning that an anesthesiologist places a breathing tube in the patient’s airway and connects them to a ventilator.

While not all ECT patients require intubation, they do get a bite plate to prevent damage to their teeth or tongue during the controlled seizures. The anesthesiologist will provide oxygen before and during the procedure if necessary.

Hospitals schedule ECT patients in the early morning, when fewer people are around. There are significant risks with electroconvulsive therapy, including memory loss.

Fortunately, in recent years, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers a safer and more tolerable alternative. Instead of sending an electric shock through the skull and brain like ECT, TMS uses a magnetic pulse to generate a current in the brain.

Repetitive TMS works for treating depression with less risk and discomfort compared to ECT treatment.

TMS treatment is for people who are serious about overcoming treatment resistant severe depression. They have tried multiple antidepressant medication without success.

Research psychiatrists have tried many invasive therapies to help with treatment resistant depression. Deep brain stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation are invasive procedures, involving risky surgeries.

ECT is non-surgical, but it still requires general anesthesia. Additionally, this form of shock therapy carries significant risks.

TMS, on the other hand is a safe and effective treatment that can be administered in an outpatient clinic. Specialized ketamine clinics are able to offer either ketamine, TMS, or combined ketamine and TMS therapy.

TMS uses safe magnetic fields to induce a mild electric current in specific regions of the brain to stimulate nerve cells. It is a targeted therapy that does not require intubation and it does not require anesthesia.

The TMS treatment success rate is high.

Magnetic pulse therapy works surprisingly well. Patients who thought they had tried everything, are happy to discover that TMS works when medications do not.

Depression is a debilitating mental illness. When you are depressed, getting out of bed in the morning can be nearly impossible.

Getting through the day can feel like pushing a heavy boulder uphill. Even simple daily tasks can be overwhelming.

Going to a psychiatrist to try yet another antidepressant can be discouraging. With each new prescription, you have hope for something different, but it always ends up the same. You are still depressed.

In some cases, patients who see a psychiatrist for depression end up taking many different drugs at once. The more drugs a patient is prescribed, the higher the risk of side effects and adverse reactions.

After medication treatment failure, TMS is like a breath of fresh air. Finally, there is hope for relief from treatment resistant depression.

Read More: How Long Does TMS Last Compared to Other Depression Treatments?

What is the cost of TMS treatment?

Fortunately, TMS is covered by most insurance plans! If you have tried traditional antidepressant medications without success, your TMS clinic can help get your treatment covered.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a proven medical therapy, so health insurance companies typically include TMS as a covered benefit. Your insurance must provide coverage for mental health services, including TMS.

If you have health insurance, you do not need to worry too much about TMS therapy cost or TMS cost per session. Alternatively, if you do not have insurance, ask your ketamine/TMS clinic about affordable treatment plans that meet your needs.

Of course, it is important to prioritize your mental health condition and to obtain effective treatment. However, you should not have to worry about TMS therapy cost being a problem.

How do I find TMS therapy near me?

If you are in Annapolis, Maryland, elsewhere in Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., or the Washington Metropolitan Area, please contact us. The Mood Center provides the best in TMS therapy available in the region.

For people who do not live in the immediate region near our clinic, please Schedule Appointment, so we can help you find the best treatment option where you live. We are dedicated to helping people to get help for major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and other mental health conditions that respond well to TMS.

We look forward to hearing from you. Your first TMS session can be the beginning of the end of your lifelong battle with depression.


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