As a society, we expect to see results as soon as possible, if not sooner. We search for myriad ways to expedite the mundane tasks in life, hoping to improve efficiency and time management. But is faster always better? This is a question that is debatable with regard to many aspects of life because sometimes the tortoise beats out the hare in the long run.
When it comes to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treating depression, there are a variety of types of TMS available. There is repetitive TMS (rTMS), deep TMS (dTMS), and the latest entry, the 3 minute TMS. Each of these brain stimulation therapies can help treat depression in slightly different ways. There are advantages to each type, based on the specific needs of the patient, how the TMS is delivered, and how the patient responds to the delivery method.
Different Types of TMS Therapy and How They Treat Depression
When clinical depression hits, it hits hard. Major depressive disorder can completely level you, making even the simplest of tasks seem monumental. Overcome with fatigue, brain fog, indecisiveness, and persistent feelings of sadness and despair, just getting out of bed can be impossible. Depression affects all aspects of one’s life, work, relationships, and health, and over 16 million Americans wrestle with the disorder each and every year.
The standard treatment protocol for managing major depression is a combination of antidepressant drug therapy and psychotherapy. The antidepressants are designed to change the level of certain chemicals called neurotransmitter in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Psychotherapy is used to help patients examine sources of pain or trauma that might be factors in their depressive state.
The challenge of treating depression is that about half of patients do not show significant improvement using the traditional treatment plan. In fact, a large percentage of the patients find the antidepressants to cause such intolerable side effects that they simply discontinue using the drugs. When a patient is not achieving relief from depression symptoms using antidepressant drug therapy they are said to be treatment-resistant. This can be a source of additional frustration for patients who just want to feel like themselves again.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has emerged as a leading alternative therapy for treating individuals who are treatment-resistant to the antidepressants. TMS uses magnetic energy that targets the prefrontal cortex of the brain where the mood center is located. The following will describe various types of TMS therapy, including rTMS, dTMS, and 3 minute TMS.
Repetitive TMS (rTMS)
Repetitive TMS features a safe, noninvasive technology that utilizes powerful magnetic fields that are delivered through a coil placed over the patient’s scalp. During the 37-minute treatment session, the patient is fully awake while being comfortably seated. The repetitive pulses are set at a specific frequency for each individual patient, determined by the doctor to provide the best treatment outcome. As the magnetic fields penetrate the scalp, electrical currents are induce, reaching a distance of 2 cm into the brain tissue and stimulating the brain cells that are inactive or sluggish. Over the treatment period of 4-6 weeks, the brain chemistry becomes reset, and significant improvement in depression symptoms is realized. The patient will begin to experience symptom relief after two weeks of treatment, and as the treatment progresses they can experience improvements in concentration, energy level, quality of sleep, and mood.
Deep TMS (dTMS)
Deep TMS is a similar treatment of depression using magnetic energy. This type of TMS features a helmet that the patient wears throughout the 20-minute treatment session while comfortably seated. The helmet is positioned to deliver the magnetic fields to the left prefrontal cortex, as does rTMS. During a dTMS session, the electrical currents can reach up to 6 cm into the brain tissue, which is why it is named deep TMS. These currents will also stimulate the dormant brain cells so often identified in depressed patients, and over the 4-6 week course of treatment, reset the brain chemistry. Like rTMS, the patient will begin to notice improved concentration, sleep quality, energy level, and mood over the treatment period.
3 Minute TMS (theta burst stimulation, or TBS)
Theta burst high frequency TMS, also referred to as the 3 Minute TMS, is delivered through a handheld wand that contains a figure-eight coil, also targeting the left prefrontal cortex. Each session takes approximately 3 minutes, thus its name, the 3 Minute TMS, and uses triple-pulse 50-Hz burst rates while the patient is seated comfortably. The theta burst stimulation has been studied on animals for at least a decade. Recently TBS been tested on 33 human study participants, demonstrating that TBS is both safe and effective in treating depression. The device also stimulated the brain cells in the targeted region, leading to improvements in energy, concentration, sleep quality, and mood.
Regardless of the type of TMS therapy used, this exciting neuro-modulation technology is helping thousands reclaim their quality of life. If you are struggling with persistent depression symptoms that have not been helped by the traditional treatment means, don’t lose hope. TMS offers a safe, drug-free alternative treatment for depression that is very well tolerated with few, if any, side effects. Most health insurers now provide coverage for TMS therapy.
Anew Era TMS Leading Provider of rTMS for Treating Depression
Anew Era TMS has been recognized as an expert source of rTMS therapy for successfully treating stubborn depression in patients who are treatment-resistant. Serving Orange County, California, Anew Era TMS provides a complete array of psychological services, including rTMS, psychotherapy, and psychiatric services for treating major depressive disorder. In addition to treating major depression, patients who have a co-occurring secondary mental health condition, such as anxiety or PTSD, have noticed those related symptoms improved as well.
Repetitive TMS is the most thorough and effective application of the various TMS therapies available, and Anew Era TMS provides the most highly trained TMS doctors and technicians. For more information on our rTMS services, please contact Anew Era TMS today at (888) 503-1549.