An Alternative Treatment for Fighting Depression
Depression can slow your life down and make even day-to-day things difficult to get through. Anti-depressant medication can help, but it doesn’t always provide the results you might hope for, or the side effects can be too much. If you’ve been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anti-depressants haven’t offered relief, NeuroStar Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy® could help.
How TMS Works
TMS therapy is a noninvasive treatment that you receive in your doctor’s office. The NeuroStar TMS system uses short-pulse magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in your left prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for mood. People who have had TMS therapy have seen improvements in their anxiety, appetite, aches and pains, and energy level.
TMS therapy is specifically recommended for adults with major depressive disorder.
What to Expect During Treatment
TMS therapy is offered at ThedaCare’s Menasha Behavioral Health clinic. Your first treatment session will last about an hour and a half. A psychiatrist trained in TMS therapy will adjust the machine’s settings and positioning to your specific needs, so you’re as comfortable as possible. A TMS-trained registered nurse will also be present, and will work with your doctor to administer your first treatment. Your registered nurse will then administer all additional treatments moving forward.
After your first treatment appointment, you’ll receive daily, 45-minute treatments every weekday, for about four to six weeks. You’ll be awake during the treatments, resting in a reclining chair while receiving a magnetic pulse from the TMS device. It’s also quiet, so you can listen to music or chat with your registered nurse, who will be in the room with you during the entire treatment session.
Patients who have had TMS therapy describe feeling a pulsing sensation in the part of the head where the treatment is delivered. This sensation may be accompanied by some scalp pain in the same area. After your treatment session, this pain will go away, though you may feel like you’re going to get a headache. These side effects tend to subside after the first week and a half of treatment.
It’s important to know that TMS therapy is intended to accompany, not replace, your other depression treatments. So you will continue taking any medications you’re on, and if you’re working with a psychiatrist or therapist, you’ll still continue to receive his or her care.
Deciding Whether TMS Is Right for You
To make sure NeuroStar TMS therapy is a good option for you, you’ll need to first be referred by your current behavioral health psychiatrist or therapist, or you can call us for an initial phone screening. If the phone screening indicates TMS therapy may be an option for you, you’ll then visit our clinic for an evaluation appointment by one of our psychiatrists specializing in TMS. The psychiatrist will talk to you about your situation and the treatment, and determine whether TMS therapy might be a good option for you.
Before starting TMS therapy, you’ll need to make sure it’s covered by your health insurance. The staff at Menasha Behavioral Health can provide assistance with this, but it’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider before you consider or begin treatment.