What Can I Expect at My First TMS NJ Session?
If you are going to receive TMS treatment in our NJ clinic for OCD or depression, you may be wondering what to expect. It can be worrying to receive any new form of treatment. You may not have heard about TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) before and, therefore, it’s natural to have concerns. The good news is that TMS is a noninvasive and painless treatment. It has been approved by the FDA for treating OCD and depression and has been shown to be very beneficial. If you have tried other options for your condition with no success, your doctor may recommend TMS to you. Here, we look at what you can expect at your TMS first session.
Why Is TMS Effective?
TMS involves using a metal coil placed on an area of your head. Electrical currents pass through the coil. The current passes harmlessly through the hair, skin, bone and, then, into the skull. TMS produces changes in the neuronal activity inside the brain. It affects the regions that regulate moods. When magnetic pulses go through your skull into your brain, they stimulate the cells in the area below the coil. The procedure regulates the patient’s mood, and this will cause him or her to feel better. Studies have proven many times that TMS is effective.
When Can You Use TMS?
Psychotherapy and antidepressants were once the only options for treating a major depressive disorder. Even today, these are the first things doctors choose to treat the condition. However, while many patients do experience relief from these options, around 30 percent to 40 percent do not. In such cases, TMS could be an effective alternative. A doctor can also use it with psychotherapy and medication. Patients who fail to respond to antidepressants or who cannot tolerate medication can benefit from TMS.
What Will Happen in The Procedure?
TMS may sound frightening, but it is nothing to worry about. You will be alert the whole time. You can even talk, watch TV, listen to music or read while you receive treatment. There will be no pain or unwanted side effects.
TMS utilizes magnetic pulses. This means that before your treatment session begins, you will need to remove magnetic-sensitive objects. These include credit cards and jewelry. You will wear earplugs for your hearing protection and comfort. This is because TMS makes a loud click with every pulse. You will be sitting in a reclining, comfortable chair for the procedure.
In your first session, the technician will take measurements. This is to make sure he or she positions the TMS coil in the right location on your head. After the technician takes the measurements, he or she will suspend the coil over your head. He or she will measure your motor threshold. A few brief pulses will determine this. This means the technician will see how much (or little) electricity it will take to make your thumb twitch. It will vary between patients. By taking this measurement, the technician can personalize the treatment settings properly. The technician will also know how much energy the device needs to stimulate your brain cells effectively.
Once your motor threshold has been determined, the technician will bring the coil forward. He or she will place it above the front part of your brain. The treatment will then begin. During the process, you will hear several clicks. You will also experience tapping sensations under the coil.
The technician may not check your motor threshold every session. But, if your medication changes, you may need a reassessment.
Who Will Administer the TMS Treatment?
In our New Brunswick, NJ clinic, a trained physician or technician will always administer TMS. The person administering your treatment will remain present throughout. If you wish to stop the treatment, you can do so. Just ask a member of the staff.
How Long Will the Procedure Take?
TMS treatments last several sessions. The length of these sessions will depend on which coil the technician uses and how many pulses it delivers. You will usually receive a treatment five days per week. A standard course of treatment will last between four and six weeks. This may vary, however, depending on how well you respond to the treatment.
Will I Need to Stay in the Hospital?
While other forms of treatment, such as ECT, require you to receive anesthetic, TMS requires no sedation. You will stay awake throughout your treatment session. And, because there isn’t any recovery time, you can drive afterward and go back to daily activities immediately.
Does TMS Have Any Side Effects?
TMS is very well-tolerated by patients. There are minimal side effects, and only a handful of patients chooses to end the treatment because of the effects. Most patients report very little in the way of unwanted side effects. When they do experience anything, it is usually mild headaches. These diminish with time. Standard painkillers can treat those headaches effectively.
A smaller number of patients experience facial twitching or pain in their scalps with each pulse. Over time, these diminish, too. Adjustments can also be made immediately in the settings and coil position to reduce any discomfort.
The machine will also produce loud clicking sounds. Earplugs are, therefore, necessary during treatment. Some patients complain they have problems with their hearing after treatment. However, these effects are not permanent if you wear earplugs.
There is no link between TMS and any of the unwanted side effects associated with antidepressants. It causes no dry mouth, gastrointestinal problems, sedation or weight gain.
Am I Able to Have TMS Therapy?
Anyone who has non-removable metal of any sort in his or her head cannot receive TMS. Dental fillings and braces will not affect the treatment. This is because metal objects could heat up, malfunction or move during the treatment and cause injury. If you have any of the following, you cannot have TMS treatment:
- Aneurysm coils or clips
- Brain or neck stents
- A deep brain stimulator
- Electrodes that monitor activity in the brain
- Eye or ear metallic implants
- Bullet or shrapnel fragments
- Facial tattoos made using magnetic sensitive or metallic ink
- Other metal objects or devices near or in the head
Who Benefits Most from TMS Treatment
Evidence from recent TMS studies has shown that treatment-resistant patients respond well to TMS. If you have tried medication and psychotherapy treatments without success, TMS could be the ideal option for you. While TMS will not work for everyone, many people who have found no other effective treatments have experienced benefits.
If you are suffering from depression, SOBA Behavioral Health is here to help. We offer a range of effective mental health programs for people with all types of mental health disorders. We can also offer TMS treatment in NJ for patients who have not responded to other therapies. The sooner you seek professional help, the sooner you will begin to feel better. Contact SOBA today to find out how our professional and experienced team can help you.
View our TMS explainer video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxcplzVBoqU&t=17sTags: tms, transcranial magnetic stimulation, treatment for depression