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The Beginners Guide to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Depression is by far one of the most common mental illnesses across the globe, impacting an estimated 300 million people. Often characterized by symptoms such as loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of low self-worth, general sadness, sleep challenges, appetite changes, and lack of concentration. It is important to remember that depression emerges due to a variety of intersecting factors. Depression can be brought on by a confluence of genetic factors, life events, medical challenges, or even medications.

For those living with depression, working with a mental health counselor toward recovery is a necessary step to living a healthy life, however, it can often be difficult to know what kind of treatments will be effective. One of the more recent depression treatments that has been gaining traction is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Not sure what it entails? Well, we’re here to answer all of your TMS therapy questions so you can explore whether or not this might be a good option for you.

What is TMS?

At its core, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a procedure that employs magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain in order to help reduce symptoms of depression. When receiving the treatment, an electromagnetic coil is placed near the forehead and deliveries a series of pulses to stimulate nerves in the area of the brain that control mood. The level of stimulation is controlled by the doctor and can be adjusted as needed during treatment. The treatment can also be performed as an outpatient treatment, and there is no anesthesia required for the procedure.

Why Might Someone Receive TMS?

Part of the reason behind the development of TMS is that many people have trouble finding effective treatments for depression. TMS is normally employed when other treatments such as medications and talk therapy aren’t helping to reduce symptoms.

What are Some of the Side Effects?

Overall, TMS is considered to be a safe procedure. It is always important to consider side effects with both your doctor and mental health counselor when looking into any new types of treatment. Most side effects are generally mild and improve shortly after the completion of the session, and may include headaches, facial muscle tingling or twitching, light-headedness, and scalp discomfort. Some rare and uncommon side effects may include hearing loss, seizures, and bouts of mania, particularly in those who have bipolar disorder.

Studies are continuing on whether or not there are potential long-term side effects of TMS treatment.

Consult with Your Mental Healthcare Provider

Before pursuing any sort of TMS treatment, it’s important to consult with your mental health counselor on whether or not TMS therapy is right for you. Those considering TMS will likely also need to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to ensure that it’s a valid treatment option, as well as a physical exam.

If you’re looking for support for your mental health, get in touch with us today at Lighthouse Psychiatry. Our expert staff team offers both counseling and coaching as well as advanced psychiatric services and can help work out a treatment plan that is best for you. Get in touch with us today to schedule your first appointment and let us support you on this journey toward recovery.

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