Alternative Therapy for Depression

Brain scans before and after TMS treatment as an alternative therapy for depression show that TMS can stimulate nerve cells in areas of the brain involved in mood control and depression

Hope for Stubborn Depression: TMS offers alternative therapy

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the world and affects at least 17 million Americans each year. Finding the right treatment can take time, but there’s one alternative therapy for depression that may help relieve its symptoms when nothing else seems to work – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS for short – and it’s available right here in Northwest Arkansas at NWA Psychiatry.

What is TMS?

TMS is a safe, innovative, FDA-approved, and effective alternative therapy for depression that doesn’t involve medications or anything invasive. An electromagnetic treatment coil (similar to an MRI magnet) is placed against the scalp and sends brief magnetic pulses to stimulate the nerve cells in your brain that are involved in mood control and depression. People with depression have less activity in these areas of the brain. Stimulating these particular nerve cells increases the brain activity back to normal levels and allows people who are depressed to practice the brain activity that happens naturally during positive thoughts.

Is TMS a good choice for you?

While depression is treatable, some people don’t respond well to typical treatment options. First-line approaches such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy don’t work for everyone. In fact, about two-thirds of people with depression don’t get adequate relief from the first antidepressant they try, and many still have lingering symptoms even after multiple medicine trials. That’s where alternative therapies for depression – such as TMS – can help. TMS therapy has been shown to help 1 in 2 patients see a significant reduction in their depression, and 1 in 3 have seen a complete remission from major depressive disorder. TMS typically is used when standard treatments don’t seem to work. Finding the right treatment can take time, but TMS is a treatment option that could make you feel like you again.

What happens during a TMS treatment session?

A typical treatment plan includes brief sessions that take from 3 minutes up to 20 minutes. These sessions are scheduled up to 5 days a week for 6 to 9 weeks. During the session, you’ll be fully awake and simply sit in a chair while the treatment coil placed near your head does all the work. While the coil generates magnetic pulses, they typically are not painful. Some people may have headaches afterward or mild discomfort in the treatment area. One of the other great things about TMS is that right after your session you’re able to resume regular activities, including driving.

Who can try TMS as an alternative therapy for depression?

TMS is a safe, scientifically-supported treatment option for those struggling with treatment resistant major depressive disorder. It is FDA approved for adults 18 and over and recommended by the American Psychiatric Association to treat major depression when traditional therapies (such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy) have not been successful or have not provided sufficient relief.

How can I find out more about TMS?

If you or a loved one has tried several approaches to manage depression without success, TMS is an alternative therapy that may be an option. NWA Psychiatry is accepting new patients for TMS therapy. You do not have to be a current patient within the MANA system to take advantage of our TMS treatment. Because it is safe and well-established, TMS is covered by most insurances as an alternative therapy for depression. To find out if TMS treatment is an option for you, please call our office at (479) 571-6363 for more information or to make an appointment. Current MANA patients can request an appointment online through their myMANA portal.