What is TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a fast-acting and medication-free treatment for depression. Find out why more providers are looking to offer TMS using the Apollo system.
Antidepressantsnot working?TMS can help
We need effective, scalable therapies to address a growing, unmet need in mental health
Statistics from before the COVID-19 pandemic show, approximately one billion people worldwide suffer from a mental health disorder.
Of this population it is estimated only around 10% seek dedicated psychotherapeutic care, with a further 30% only receiving general care from a primary health service. It is therefore estimated 60% of this population are undiagnosed or are not receiving care.
With recent advances in science and healthcare, there are now more effective and targeted therapies available, however, practices and institutions struggle to be able to scale these solutions in order to address the growing need faster and more sustainably.
Saloni Dattani, Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2021) - "Mental Health". Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health'
Is TMS reimbursed?
TMS Therapy is widely reimbursed by both private and public health insurance companies. It is also recommended by the American Psychiatric Association if an individual has not received the needed benefits from one antidepressant, TMS Therapy should be considered as a next treatment option instead of changing to a different antidepressant.
Who is TMS recommended to?
TMS in Depression
TMS is a safe and effective treatment for depression. It is particularly recommended for patients who did not respond to medication or other forms of treatment.
Scientific studies have shown that two out of three patients felt they benefited from TMS.
TMS can also be used for patients looking to lower the dose of antidepressant medication or for anyone hoping to cease taking medication entirely. This would be done under supervision of a doctor. Magnetic stimulation can therefore be an excellent way to support this transition process.
TMS Targets Select Brain Circuits
These are images from a SPECT Scan1 (single photon emission computed tomography) scan of the cumulative results from 12 men receiving TMS.
The red-orange in these images show increases in blood flow in the brain as a result of TMS treatment. The bottom left image shows increased blood flow below the TMS coil. Other images also reveal increased blood flow in deeper brain regions involved in mood regulation and correlate with how TMS treats depression.
This scan is an example of how TMS only directly effects the brain circuits involved in mood regulation and not other circuits as medications do, resulting in unwanted side effects.
1. Kito, S, et al. (2008).
How TMS programs work and what to expect in a session
For best results, TMS sessions need to be scheduled daily or at least twice a week. Some patients notice antidepressant effects after approximately 5 sessions. However, it’s important to remember that just as the individual causes of depression differ so does the response to treatment. Generally, we recommend between 20 to 30 sessions to consolidate the antidepressant effects. You can complete a full course of treatment within one to two months.
This makes TMS a fast-acting treatment programme for patients looking for an alternative to antidepressant medication.
All TMS treatments are supervised by a trained psychiatrist, psychologist or psychiatric nurse. The sessions are conducted in a comfortable treatment chair, where a magnetic coil is placed over your head. The coil generates a pulsating magnetic field, stimulating the target areas within the brain. The magnetic field generates a noticeable ticking sound. While the stimulation is not painful, many patients notice a tingling sensation on their scalp.
Advantages of TMS
TMS therapy focuses on the areas of the brain that controls mood. Unlike Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), there have been no reported negative effects on thinking and memory, or any other normal brain functions.
During TMS therapy, there is no need for sedation or anesthesia. The patient is awake, alert, and can resume normal activities right after a treatment session. This makes TMS a viable treatment offering for hospital settings and outpatient therapy centres.
TMS is 100% free of side effects associated with medication. Unlike traditional antidepressant medications, TMS therapy does not cause weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, fatigue, or negative cognitive effects.
Typically, only a 6-week course of 45 minutes per day treatments are needed, unlike medications that can take months to stabilize mood. After a course of TMS Therapy, most patients enjoy long-lasting benefits.
TMS therapy uses magnetic energy to stimulate brain cells, helping the brain to naturally release the chemicals necessary for proper mood regulation. Patients who have not been helped by medications may prefer this treatment option.
Backed by science
We only apply protocols that have shown clinical efficacy. By combining TMS with psychotherapy, 66% of the population who suffer depression achieved positive outcomes, according to recent studies.