On TMS And Depression: Frequently Asked Questions


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Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a form of treatment that is non-invasive. It works by directing repeated magnetic energy pulses at particular aspects of the brain responsible for mood regulation. These magnetic pulses go through the skull and activate brain cells that can enhance communication between the brain’s various parts. When TMS pulses are brought at steady intervals, it is called repetitive TMS. How this process works is not yet clear, but the activation seems to have permanent effects on how the brain functions, which can alleviate symptoms of depression and improve one’s mood.

Thinking about magnetic pulsations passing through the brain might scare you or make you feel unimaginable, such as shock therapy effects that you see in movies. But the pulses utilized in TMS are essentially the same strength and type as the magnetic pulsations used in MRI scanning machines and are known to be very safe. Additionally, in contrast to electroconvulsive therapy, TMS does not need any form of post-therapy downtime or sedation, and it comes without any side effects in cognition or memory. In fact, most people who have tried TMS claim that they experience lesser side effects compared to their antidepressants.

What TMS Is For

In the United States, TMS therapy has just been permitted for treating major depressive disorder. However, trials have been ongoing for dissociative identity disorder and other conditions that may cause depression and other mental illnesses. While depression is treatable, TMS is usually recommended when regular treatment forms like medications, self-help strategies, and therapy have not been effective. In the case of medicine therapy, the effects are too intense.

In Europe, on the other hand, TMS has been approved for several other diseases, including stroke rehab, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, chronic pain, nicotine addiction, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has even shown positive outcomes in conditions like fibromyalgia, autism spectrum disorder, tinnitus, Tourette syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.

TMS For Depression

Depression can dramatically impact you, affecting the way you feel, think, and perform in your everyday life. Many people are capable of attaining relief through therapy, medication, or a combination of different treatments. In contrast, for others, hopelessness creeps in as nothing provides them with a sense of relief and relaxation.

If you are one of those who are diagnosed with major depression that has been resistant to all other forms of treatment, then TMS therapy might be the right choice for you. Just as taking antidepressants targets brain stimulation, TMS functions the same way using magnetic pulses.

TMS Effectiveness

Most past and current studies have produced outcomes that support transcranial magnetic stimulation to improve depressive conditions that are resistant to standard treatments. For individuals with major depression that has not improved by taking medications, more than 50% experience relief of their symptoms using TMS. In contrast, one in three individuals experiences complete remission of their symptoms.

Having said that, it does not necessarily imply that TMS is a proven cure for severe depressive conditions and that one’s depression won’t recur. In fact, the positive outcomes from TMS are inclined to last for about just a year following treatment. However, it is vital to keep in mind that depression is the result of the imbalance of chemicals in the brain but is also caused by a mixture of psychological, social, and biological factors. This means that your relationships, coping strategies, and lifestyle changes as well may have added to your depression. Hence, you can utilize the improvements in your motivation and energy from TMS therapy to initiate talk therapy or perhaps with lifestyle modification, such as exercising, finding support, and improving your eating habits.

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Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about depression. 


What is the number 1 cause of depression?

Experts agree that depression is not necessarily a result of having too little or too many brain chemicals. Instead, there are many potential causes of depression, including genetic susceptibility, medications, medical conditions, mood regulation, and stressful life situations.

Is it possible to diagnose yourself with depression?

Self-screening examinations are instruments that will help one evaluate his or her own mental health. These examinations identify signs and symptoms that could present in certain mental disorders. They could also assist in recognizing patterns of substance use or patterns of emotions.

What are the different types of depression?

Below are some of the most popular types of depression:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Atypical depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Postpartum depression

Is melancholy the same as depression?

Melancholy has a history that dates back to the Hippocratic period. Its modern definition was founded on Kraepelin’s manic-depressive disorder. Depression is a prolonged or profound misery in one’s daily life. However, melancholy has a unique feature of mood that cannot be translated as extreme depression.

What is a melancholy mood?

By definition, a melancholy mood suggests depression of the spirit or mind, leading to misery. It is a feeling of dejection or sadness.

Is melancholy a disorder?

While melancholic depression was previously identified as an independent disorder, the APA no longer recognizes it as a distinct mental disorder. Rather, melancholia is now acknowledged as a specifier for major depressive disorder.

Can melancholy be happy?

The idea of sadness signifies misery and certain desperation, while melancholy implies grief with a purpose, a feeling with which a person can be enveloped like a blanket. To be engulfed in melancholy is to submerge in purposeful unhappiness, the kind that makes a person happier.


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After completing TMS therapy cycles, standard treatments for depression – psychotherapy and medication – may be ordered as continuing treatment. It is unclear if maintaining long-term TMS sessions will further improve one’s depression. This entails continuous treatment when you have been relieved of your symptoms, hoping to prevent depression symptoms from coming back. However, if your symptoms visibly improve with TMS and eventually the symptoms recur, TMS therapy can be done again. This is known as re-induction.