Frequently Asked Questions About Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
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At Serenity Mental Health Centers we offer a variety of treatment options, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). 

Because TMS hasn’t been around as long as other treatments like medication or therapy, many people don’t know what it is and may have a lot of questions.

Hopefully, we can provide you with some further insight into this amazing treatment and help you decide whether or not it is right for you or your loved one.

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What Is TMS Therapy?

TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. It is a treatment typically used on depression and OCD patients with difficult-to-treat symptoms. TMS is also noninvasive and non-systemic, meaning it doesn’t use any drugs.

How Does TMS Therapy Work?

TMS uses magnets, like an MRI magnet, to deliver pulses into the brain that stimulate the areas affected by depression or OCD. 

Unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), TMS doesn’t require the use of general anesthesia. Patients remain fully awake and alert during treatments. And they can immediately return to their daily activities. 

There are two types of magnetic coils that are used in TMS: the figure-eight coil and the h-1 and h-7 coils. 

At Serenity Mental Health Centers, we use the h-1 and h-7 coils, which were developed by Brainsway and have been proven to reach deeper into the brain, providing better, longer-lasting results.

Does TMS Therapy Cause Side Effects?

TMS has very few reported site effects. The most common side effect is a slight headache that usually goes away within a few minutes after treatment. Patients also report that their headaches stop within the first few weeks of treatment. 

Other side effects include facial twitching, jaw discomfort, tingling in the scalp, and in very rare cases, seizures. However, seizures only occur in about 0.1% of patients.

How Long Does TMS Therapy Take?

A typical TMS session takes about 20–30 minutes. And one course of TMS therapy usually consists of five treatment sessions a week for four to six weeks. 

The exact number of sessions you receive will likely depend on what TMS protocols you are receiving as well as how much your insurance approves.

How Long Until I Notice a Change?

Some people notice a change in their mood within the first couple of weeks of treatment. 

For others, the change happens more slowly, and they don’t notice anything until the end of their treatment. Some people even didn’t notice a change until their friends and family pointed out how different they seemed. 

Remember, everyone is different, so it’s hard to predict how you will respond to the TMS therapy. 

It’s important not to be discouraged if you aren’t seeing the results you want right away. Give it time, and try to focus on the positive aspects of your experience.

Do I Have to Stop Taking My Medication Before I Start TMS Therapy?

Whether or not you continue with your medication is up to you and your psychiatrist. It is completely safe to go through TMS therapy while taking an antidepressant. 

Before you start TMS, you and your doctor will discuss the best course of action regarding any medication you’re taking.

Can Anyone Get TMS Therapy?

TMS is approved by the FDA as a treatment for adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, psychiatrists may prescribe TMS as an off-label treatment for other conditions like anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, and other serious mental health issues. 

Psychiatrists may also decide to prescribe TMS to patients who are under 18. Here at Serenity, we work on a case-by-case basis. We evaluate each patient individually to determine whether or not they could benefit from TMS.

How Much Does TMS Therapy Cost?

The cost of TMS therapy depends on your insurance coverage as well as the condition the TMS is being prescribed to treat. 

If you can’t afford the costs, we at Serenity can work with you to develop a payment plan that fits within your budget. We believe everyone should be able to access this amazing treatment option. 

If you think TMS therapy could be a good option for you or a loved one who is struggling with depression, OCD, or another condition, contact us at Serenity Mental Health Centers to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified psychiatrists.  

We are also open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday so we can provide flexible appointment times for people with busy schedules. Give us a call anytime during those hours at (480) 630-4794.

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