If you struggle with depression even after taking antidepressant medication, you still have hope for restoring balance in your life with an alternative treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Shabbir A. Chowdhury, MD, at Carolina Psychiatry, PC, offers this safe and innovative therapy that safely improves symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant depression. To find out if you’re a candidate, use the online booking form or call the office in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
TMS is a treatment that uses a magnetic field to stimulate electrical activity in areas of your brain that are underactive. This lack of activity causes an imbalance in brain chemicals, which in turn leads to mental health disorders.
The FDA has approved TMS to help patients with treatment-resistant depression. About one-third of patients with major depression don’t improve with several trials of antidepressant medications. With TMS, depressive symptoms improve over the course of 4-6 weeks for many of these patients.
TMS is also being studied and used in clinical practice to treat other mental health conditions, such as major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The TMS device creates a magnetic field by sending electricity through a specialized coil of wire. When Dr. Chowdhury places the device against your head, the magnetic field sends out magnetic pulses that travel through your skull and into your brain.
The pulses are directly targeted toward the area of your brain that controls mood. As the device repeatedly sends magnetic pulses into your brain, they trigger electrical activity in neurons that are underactive when you have depression. As nerve activity increases, your symptoms improve.
After you sit comfortably, Dr. Chowdhury securely fastens the TMS device to your head. When the TMS system is turned on, you hear a clicking sound and feel a slight tapping sensation with each magnetic pulse.
You may develop a mild headache at the treatment site, but this usually goes away shortly after your session begins. Patients also find that their headaches stop occurring after they go through several TMS sessions. If your headaches continue, Dr. Chowdhury may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or alter the amount of TMS stimulation to diminish or eliminate the problem.
TMS therapy is intensive. You receive five sessions every week for 4-6 weeks. Each session only lasts 30-40 minutes. Since the magnetic pulse doesn’t affect your memory or cognition, you can get back to your normal routine when your session is over.
If you have depression and antidepressants haven’t helped, you may be a good candidate for TMS. To learn more, schedule an appointment online or call Carolina Psychiatry, PC.