These days it is pretty well understood that antidepressants are not the homerun treatment intervention for depression that was once believed. Most folks have a friend or family member who has struggled with depression, only to be put on a never-ending cycle of antidepressant trials that went nowhere. This can be very discouraging for people who would give anything just to experience joy again.
For the individuals who have medication resistant depression, meaning that they, after trialing several different antidepressants, were not able to achieve remission from their depression symptoms, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) might be their ticket to relief. TMS is a promising new entry into the depression treatment arena that has been helping people across the globe reclaim mental health and well-being. Better yet, a continuous stream of clinical studies continues to provide proof of the consistent TMS depression success rate.
Why Does TMS Work and Antidepressants Don’t?
Antidepressants continue to be the first line treatment for assisting people who are battling depression. Among women ages 50-64, 25% are taking some type of antidepressant. Antidepressants can include SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, MAOIs and more. For the purposes of this blog, SSRIs, the most popularly prescribed among all antidepressants, will be discussed.
SSRIs work by increasing serotonin, the happy chemical, in the brain, as well as blocking the reabsorption of it. The problem is that each individual has unique brain chemistry, DNA, and psychological make-up, meaning that antidepressants do not offer a one-size-fits-all answer for treating depression. In the majority of cases, multiple drugs must be trialed before one that improves symptoms is identified. Even so, between 30-50% of individuals seeking relief from depression using antidepressants are not helped by them.
TMS Therapy is a type of technology that, instead of using drugs to hopefully stimulate the positive brain chemicals, uses direct electrical stimulation that specifically targets the limbic system of the brain. The electro-magnetic pulses that are delivered through a coil on the scalp aim for this mood center of the brain to zero in on the brain cells that are underactive or dormant. By “waking them up,” TMS can realign brain chemistry, or reset it, so the patient begins to experience symptom relief as a result.
Who Benefits Most From TMS Therapy?
People who have had prolonged major depression and were not able to achieve positive treatment results with antidepressants are excellent candidates for TMS treatment. TMS is not appropriate for certain individuals, however. Disqualifying conditions might include:
- Patients with implanted conductive metal or stimulators in or near the head
- Patients with cochlear implants
- Patients with aneurysm clips or coils
- Patients with vagus nerve stimulators
- Patients with implanted deep brain stimulators
- Patients with shrapnel particles in or near the head
- Patients with facial tattoos with metallic ink
Study Results Show TMS Depression Success Rate
The medical community at large is excited by the promise of TMS for treating a variety of conditions beyond major depressive disorder (MDD). In Europe, TMS is already cleared for treating Parkinson’s disease, stroke, MS, migraine, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, smoking cessation, substance use disorder, anxiety disorders, and more. Here in the U.S., TMS therapy was FDA cleared in 2008 to treat MDD in medication-resistant patients.
A wide array of clinical trials supports the safety and efficacy of TMS for treating MDD, reinforcing news supporting the TMS depression success rate. A few of the studies are summarized here:
- A 2010 multisite sham-controlled study of 199 patients with MDD showed patients had a 4.2 times chance of attaining remission from the MDD using TMS vs. sham.
- A 2010 multisite study out of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago with 301 patients demonstrated statistically significant treatment results and a low relapse rate after a six-month period.
- A 2011 consensus review pulled together numerous studies as evidence of the safety and efficacy of TMS therapy for MDD in medication-resistant depression.
Anew Era TMS Offers Expert TMS Therapy for Treating Depression
Anew Era TMS is a comprehensive center providing both tradition and TMS therapy for treating depression and coexisting anxiety or trauma in South Orange County, California.
The experts at Anew Era TMS actively demonstrate how the TMS depression success rate is exemplified in their patients each and every day. For more information about TMS therapy for MDD, please contact Anew Era TMS today at (888) 503-1549.