Dr. Ravsten is now offering Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a safe and well tolerated, novel treatment to combat treatment-resistant major depression and heal depression at it’s source.
How TMS Treats Depression
Depression is a serious mental health disorder whose symptoms can become severe enough to interfere with day-to-day activities like school, work, social activities or your relationships with others. Left untreated, depression can last a very long time.
Due to advancements in brain imaging, we now have a much better understanding of which areas in the brain regulate mood. When comparing a normal/healthy brain versus a brain suffering from depression, scientists have found some subtle but important differences in the brains of those suffering from depression.
For example, the area in our brains that regulate mood is called the prefrontal cortex. When we are depressed the cells in this region become less active. This can be triggered by a traumatic event or physical changes that alter brain chemistry. Less activity makes it harder for your brain to regulate your mood and mental health. This can lead to Major Depressive Disorder.
Life Change Associates is excited to be able to provide a safe, well-tolerated and effective non-medication therapy. This therapy is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. The FDA approved this non-invasive treatment in 2008. The FDA recommends it for those with treatment resistant major depression. It is available for those who have failed to respond to medication therapy. It is also offered to people who have not tolerated medication therapy due to side effects.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy works by stimulating the cells in your prefrontal cortex with electromagnetic pulses delivered by an electromagnetic coil, just like an MRI scan. When prefrontal cortex cells are treated in this way, their activity levels return to normal. The cells become more effective at regulating your mood which reduces or eliminates your symptoms of depression.
To be effective, TMS requires a series of treatment sessions. Depending on your personalized treatment plan, your sessions will probably be scheduled daily, five times a week for four to six weeks. Dr. Ravsten uses the Magventure MagPro machine to administer TMS. A typical treatment session lasts 20 minutes. However, depending on your clinical case and insurance coverage it is possible to reduce treatment time to 3 minutes!
First Steps to Getting TMS Treatment
- There is a screening process to complete in order to help Dr. Ravsten determine if TMS is right for you. You can start this process by signing up for your No Cost TMS consultation. Just click on the TMS Screening Form to begin the process.
- Once you submit the Screening Form, our lead TMS technician will contact you to arrange for your No Cost TMS consultation in our office or virtually, based on your preference. Most TMS patients have found that this in office consultation is very helpful for deciding if TMS is right for them.
- During this consultation you will be able to learn how TMS works, what happens with a TMS treatment, and meet with our lead TMS technician. You will be provided with information about your insurance coverage. TMS Therapy is covered by insurance and some people pay little or nothing out of pocket. You should feel free to ask questions and voice any concerns or thoughts you have about the treatment. We’ll also go over your insurance coverage.
- The last step is to meet with Dr. Ravsten to establish whether your psychiatric condition and medical history make you a good candidate for TMS therapy.
Your first Appointment and Initial TMS Treatment
You will be shown to a treatment room and asked to sit in a special reclining chair. A Life Change Associates technician will gently position the electromagnetic coil on your head. The coil will be switched on and off as part of the process known as mapping.
You may hear a slight tapping or clicking sound that lasts for just a few seconds, followed by a pause. This will allow your technician to identify the best location on your head to place the magnets during your sessions. Your motor threshold will also be determined to find the right dose of magnetic energy you will need for your treatments.
During Each Treatment
Each time you come in for your treatments you’ll sit comfortable, awake and alert. Once our technician will lightly place the magnetic treatment coil on your head. This coil will deliver focused magnetic stimulation directly to the target areas of the brain for 3 to 20 minutes, depending on your treatment plan.
Like with the mapping, you may feel a slight tapping sensation on your forehead and hear clicking sounds. These are caused by the activity of the mechanism that creates and delivers the magnetic pulses.
Benefits Over Other Treatments
You will be happy to hear that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is a safe, effective, better tolerated and drug-free treatment for depression. Unlike Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), there is no need for anesthesia and no danger of seizures.
The TMS has no cognitive side effects and does not have some of the side effects sometimes associated with medication like weight gain, dry mouth, or upset stomach. TMS therapy doesn’t involve any kind of sedation so you are able to safely drive yourself to and from the therapy appointment and complete the rest of your day normally.
Possible Side Effects
During the first week of treatment, you may feel slight discomfort at or near the treatment area, but this typically goes away by the second week. Some patients do report mild headaches while others have experienced a slight tingling, muscle spasms around the eye or forehead during treatment, or twitching of facial muscles which occur only during an individual session and that usually decrease over time with additional sessions.
You can safely resume normal activity, like driving, exercising, and working, right away. Moreover, there are no after-effects, and no down-time is needed. Most people start to notice positive mood changes within two to three weeks of starting treatment. The results of TMS at Life Change Associates mirrors that of clinical studies that show that 70% of patients experience a clinical response to TMS. Around 45% will experience a full remission of depression symptoms. Of those that respond nearly 70% remain well after 1 year.
It is possible to use TMS in combination with medication. TMS can also be further benefited by psychotherapies specific to your situation. Call us today to schedule a time to speak with Dr. Ravsten about TMS and take the next step towards feeling better and doing more!