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Does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treat Depression?

Can transcranial magnetic stimulation successfully treat depression? In short, yes. This article will explain what TMS is, how it works, and what you can expect from the procedure. However, before learning about TMS, we need to take a look at what depression is first. 

So, what is depression? 

Depression is a common mental illness that alters a person’s mood, interfering with their daily activities like the ability to work. There is an interrelationship between depression and the physical health of an individual. During the depressive period, an individual may experience;

  • Depressed moods like sadness and feeling empty
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities
  • Poor concentration
  • Guilt and feelings of low self-worth
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue and low energy

These signs show how depression affects your will to work or involve yourself in any activity normally.

Although medics have not fully defined the causes of depression, there are contributing elements that could trigger this condition. These elements may be social, biological, or psychological. There are several ways of managing depression, with antidepressants and psychotherapy being the most common methods for a long time. Antidepressants are drugs used to treat depression by balancing chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. 

Alternatively, psychotherapy involves talking about your feelings with a mental health professional. There are many types of psychotherapy from which psychiatrists may choose the appropriate therapy for a patient.

However, antidepressants and psychotherapy have their limits which reduces their effectiveness. Antidepressants are typically not suitable for treating a pregnant patient, for example. 

On the other hand, psychotherapy cannot work on patients with stubborn depression, which might need more advanced methods. Such limits have led mental health professionals to seek different ways of treating depression like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy.

Does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treat Depression?

What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy

erapy is a form of depression treatment involving the use of magnetic fields to stimulate the nerves of a specific area in the brain to improve depression symptoms. It is a non-invasive procedure used when other treatments have yielded no results.

How Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy Works

An electromagnetic coil connected to an electric current is placed on the scalp near the forehead during this therapy. The coil delivers painless magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells in the part of your brain involved in mood control. This procedure rejuvenates that part of the brain which has decreased activity and thereby reduces the symptoms of depression significantly.

Benefits of TMS Therapy

Generally, this method is used for treating patients who continue to show symptoms after taking medication or psychotherapy sessions. Therefore TMS treatment is a more advanced form of depression treatment.

TMS treatment is also being investigated for the possibility of managing many other neurological and mental disorders like; anxiety, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorders, and more.

Effectiveness of TMS Therapy

Transcranial magnetic stimulation’s effectiveness can be much greater than antidepressants and psychotherapy in some patients. Its impact has appeared to affect how the brain works, resulting in the suppression of symptoms and improved patient’s mood. Researches show that 50%-60% of patients on this treatment have improved their symptoms.

What a Patient Can Expect From the Procedure

This procedure might take time since it requires a series of treatment sessions to be effective. During treatment, you should expect a session to last for about 30-40 minutes, after which you can retire to home and continue with your daily activities.

A doctor will determine how much pulse stimulation is needed by your brain to overcome the symptoms. If the procedure works, depression symptoms should completely disappear, or the symptoms will at least improve. 


Does transcranial magnetic stimulation treat depression? The answer to this question is yes. It treats depression by stimulating the nerves in a brain region involved in mood control. 

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