About Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

What is TMS

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive procedure where changing magnetic fields are used to stimulate the brain’s nerve cells.

TMS has benefited individuals when more traditional treatments such as antidepressant therapy have failed.

TMS can improve the burden of physical pain alongside depression and other psychiatric conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In more recent years, TMS has been used for numerous other medical conditions including medical rehabilitation (for post stroke recovery), fibromyalgia and to provide relief from tinnitus.

At Optimis, different regions of the brain are precisely targeted by placing a specially designed coil near the scalp.

Your Optimis team utilises Neural Navigation.

Why is TMS used?

Depression is a treatable condition. But for some people, standard treatments aren’t effective.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is typically used when standard treatments such as medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy) are not effective.

TMS may be an appropriate treatment option for adult patients with treatment resistant major depression, who have failed to achieve a satisfactory response from prior trials of antidepressant medications (defined as “treatment resistant depression”).

The aim of TMS treatment is to lift your mood. With an improvement in mood there is often an associated improvement in sleep, appetite, energy and concentration and a decrease in negative thoughts. TMS is an acute treatment for depression and you will require ongoing treatment from your psychiatrist to maintain remission.

How does it work?

TMS treatment is a non-invasive treatment based on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which delivers magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the part of the brain controlling mood, which is often underactive in patients with depression. The brain is an organ that functions through complex electrochemical processes, which may be impaired by certain types of mental illness.

Scientists believe TMS acts by temporarily altering some of these processes, thereby returning function to normal. TMS treatment delivers magnetic fields via a coil that is applied to one side of the patient’s scalp, generally above the left side of the head (above the dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex). Repeated stimulation of this part of the brain has been proven to produce an antidepressant-like effect on people suffering from depression.

The magnetic field produces tiny electrical currents which then go on to activate cells within the brain, which (as believed) release neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain), which do play an important role/function in mood regulation. Since depression is believed to be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters/chemicals in the brain, TMS treatment helps restore the balance of these chemicals in the brain and goes on to relieve the symptoms of depression.

BENEFITS OF TMS VS OTHER THERAPIES

It is a drug-free treatment and can be used safely in combination with your current treatment regimen.

It may work faster to improve your mood, understanding and everyday function compared to antidepressants and psychological therapy

It has a shorter treatment time of 4-6 weeks compared to antidepressants and psychological therapy, which range from a few months to lifelong therapy.

It is not invasive and doesn’t require admission to hospital or anaesthesia like ECT does. Treatment in an outpatient clinic allows you to carry out daily life, rather than being admitted to hospital.

It can be more effective than medication and is recommended for patients who have not responded to antidepressants.

TMS does not have the side effects associated with antidepressants and ECT.

TMS does not cause memory loss, weight gain, sexual difficulties and is not damaging to your scalp or hair growth.

TMS can be stopped at any time, there are no withdrawal symptoms.

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