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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation or rTMS is an emerging treatment for medication-resistant major depressive disorder. Most of the population has significant depression, and some may not respond to conventional antidepressant medications or psychotherapy. For people who do not get better on traditional treatments, other treatments, brain stimulation options like TMS in Glendale are sometimes necessary.

What is rTMS?

The treatment leverages a device, an electromagnet, that generates a powerful, focused magnetic field. The device is powerful enough that if you place it over the brain area that moves the thumb and applies a few pulses of simulation, you will see the person’s thumb loop.

Doctors use rTMS therapeutically to target brain areas involved in the self-regulation of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. By repeatedly stimulating these areas hundreds of times a day, the treatment can gradually strengthen their activity, synchronize the areas of the network, bring them back together, and hopefully improve the person’s system.

Are you a candidate for rTMS?

rTMS therapy is for people who have already tried at least two reasonable courses of medication or psychotherapy. TMS patients show strong responses with noticeable improvement in their symptoms on standard scales. There are significant differences to consider before going to more invasive options, such as electroconvulsive therapy and others. Whereas ECT is delivered under anesthesia and requires the induction of a seizure for its therapeutic effect and is sometimes problematic for generating cognitive side effects, such as memory impairment, rTMS does not seem to do any of those things.

What should you expect during rTMS treatment?

Your doctor will deliver the treatment while you are awake in a chair without any anesthesia. There is no induction procedure necessary for the treatment to take effect. It also does not seem to have any cognitive impairment as an adverse effect of treatment. The three downsides of our TMS are relatively straightforward:

  • It takes 20 to 30 sessions of rTMS to get a maximum effect. So for most people, the biggest is that they have to come into the hospital for 20 or 30 visits to get an optimal result of the treatment.
  • It can feel a little bit like static electricity shocks to the forehead on the face. Most people will rate them as painful, especially during the first week. However, most patients find it tolerable and can make it to the end.
  • The only profound side effect of rTMS is the possibility of getting a seizure. However, this is a fairly rare effect.

If your rTMS is successful, your technician will follow you on one or two occasions for three months, making specific recommendations. One of those recommendations where rTMS is successful is for the person to enroll in the course of mindfulness-based stress reduction or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. These treatments are similarly effective to medications in preventing relapse, back into depression, and extending the duration of treatment.

Contact 2nd Chance Treatment Center if you have any questions concerning rTMS to determine the best treatment for your depression symptoms.

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