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TMS Therapy and Depression

December 5th, 2023


What is TMS Therapy?

TMS Therapy, also known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, is a treatment option for various mental health disorders such as depression. During TMS treatment, a magnetic coil is put on top of the scalp that sends short magnetic pulses and can impact neuron activity in different targeted areas of the brain. It is considered a non-invasive treatment approach, given that it is done outpatient, does not require anesthesia, and patients can return to work/ their normal day after treatment. The length of treatment is very dependent on the person and their needs. For some, treatment may consist of visits to the office 5x a week for 30 minutes for several weeks. This is not a one-size fits all and the length of treatment will be determined by the provider. While it may seem like an intense and time-consuming commitment, it can be very effective, especially for individuals suffering from treatment-resistant depression.

What is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Treatment resistance, as some refer to as “stubborn depression”, is a term used to define depression that continues despite multiple other traditional treatments (such as trying antidepressants from different classes, talk therapy, or a combination of the two).

Signs of Depression

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling guilty or like a burden to others
  • Sadness
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Difficulties managing emotions
  • Feelings of being empty or numb
  • Increased isolation or interest in being around others
  • Feelings of exhaustion despite an adequate amount of sleep or never feeling rested

What is Treatment-Resistant Depression

Benefits of TMS for Depression

TMS is typically not the first line of defense for treating depression, given that it can be challenging to allot time daily for several weeks at a time to come in for therapy. However, the time spent up from can provide lasting effects. Depression can feel very discouraging, and it can feel hopeless when one has tried different treatments over and over and they have only slightly mitigated symptoms. The following are a few of the benefits of TMS in treating depression:

Limited side effects compared to other treatment options- As with any type of treatment, there may be benefits and side effects. For TMS, side effects can include headaches and scalp discomfort. Other treatment option scan leave patients with loss of appetite, agitation, and insomnia issues.

TMS Therapy can help improve sleep- Many people who suffer from depression may also be impacted by challenges getting quality sleep night after night. For individuals undergoing TMS therapy, it has been shown to be effective in helping to improve the overall quality of sleep. Those experiencing sleep disturbances such as Insomnia may have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling well-rested. Not getting a good night's sleep can impact one's ability to function during the day and with the improvement of depression symptoms, sleep patterns can also be improved.

TMS Can be an effective treatment alternative- When many think of depression, they think of the traditional treatment options such as medication, psychotherapy (talk therapy), and making lifestyle changes (making adjustments to diet and exercise). While these treatment options can be effective for many, others may have tried a combination of these and may still find themselves struggling.

Medication is not required after therapy- One of the many benefits of TMS for depression is that at no point during TMS or after TMS is medication required. While some providers may recommend an antidepressant to be taken by a pt, TMS alone can be effective for many patients. This can be encouraging or patients who are hesitant to take medication or have not had success with medications in the past.

Services Available

It’s important to realize that every individual experiencing depression is different, and their needs are not the same. What may work for some, won’t work for everyone. At Clarity Clinic, we offer TMS services at two convenient locations, our Arlington Heights location and our Loop location. We have a team of qualified professionals here to help answer any questions you have about TMS services.

Please visit our website to learn more or to schedule an initial consultation.


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