What Is the Success Rate of TMS Therapy?

What Is the Success Rate of TMS Therapy?

Author: GIA Chicago
Published: September 13, 2022

TMS therapy has high success rates across a range of mental health conditions, including major depressive disorder. It can be a life-changing treatment for those with treatment-resistant depression, offering a new route on the road to recovery.

What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is an innovative brain stimulation treatment that uses gentle magnetic pulses to stimulate certain brain areas, causing profound changes in mood and behavior. TMS is a painless, non-invasive procedure that was approved by the FDA in 2008 for treatment-resistant depression. Since then, it's been shown to be an effective treatment for numerous mental health disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, general anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction.

TMS has few side effects. The most common are temporary mild headaches and scalp discomfort, which often decrease throughout treatment. You stay conscious throughout the procedure and can resume normal activities immediately after a session.

What Is Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is a type of TMS that uses trains of repetitive magnetic pulses, as opposed to a single pulse. Because most TMS treatments for mood disorders use rTMS therapy, the terms are often used interchangeably.

What Is Deep TMS?

Deep TMS therapy uses specialized H-coils to stimulate deeper, broader areas of the brain. Deep TMS technologies facilitate access to brain areas involved in a wider range of functions, without having to increase the intensity of the magnetic pulse. The development of deep TMS has extended the scope of TMS to a wider range of disorders, such as anxiety disorders.

What Is the TMS Therapy Success Rate?

TMS has high success rates - research has shown that over 50% of people living with major depression may benefit from TMS therapy. This includes those with treatment-resistant depression who have not responded to or cannot tolerate antidepressant medications.

TMS success rates for major depressive disorder are similar to those of antidepressants, but with far fewer side effects. It may be suitable for clients who want to avoid the systematic side effects of antidepressants such as weight gain and sexual dysfunction.

What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Treatment-resistant depression is when someone with major depression doesn't respond adequately to an appropriate course of antidepressant medication within a certain time. The criteria for treatment-resistant depression vary between medical professionals. While some clinicians define an inadequate response as having no clinically meaningful response, others consider a response inadequate where someone doesn't have a complete remission of depressive symptoms.

How Often Do Sessions Have To Occur To Be Effective?

Research has found that it is the number of sessions, rather than the frequency, that affects the success of TMS therapy.

A typical course of TMS consists of around thirty-six sessions - daily sessions five times a week for six weeks, before tapering off over the next few weeks. However, research has found that the treatment is just as effective if you take the same number of sessions in a shorter time (with twice-daily sessions), or a longer time (with sessions three times a week).

Moreover, research shows that missing the occasional TMS session doesn't impact its effectiveness. Even clients who took an unanticipated gap of fourteen days saw no meaningful impact on their outcomes.

This flexibility makes TMS therapy a suitable option for clients with busy lives or necessary home and work responsibilities - you can fit TMS around your schedule and take breaks when you need to.

How Long Do the Effects of TMS Treatment Last?

Research shows that the effects of TMS therapy can persist for more than a year after the end of a course of sessions.

A 2018 study on the effectiveness of TMS for major depression found that sustained response rates persisted up to 50% a year after treatment. In a real-world study exploring the effects of deep TMS on individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder, 52% of clients showed positive results for at least a month.

Individuals may be able to extend the effects of TMS by participating in maintenance treatments after the induction course. The structure of maintenance courses varies: they may involve TMS sessions on two days each month, every two weeks, or on another schedule.

What Can TMS Therapy Be Used To Treat?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment can be used to treat a range of psychiatric disorders and other conditions, alongside major depression. In 2018 and 2021, the FDA cleared TMS for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety symptoms in depressive disorder.

In the European Economic Area (EEAO), various versions of TMS are now certified to treat Alzheimer's disease, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, chronic pain, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, and nicotine addiction.

How Does TMS in Compare to Antidepressants?

Studies show that TMS is just as effective in treating depression as antidepressants. Studies have shown that success rates for TMS are at least 50%, compared to 40-60% for antidepressants.

TMS has fewer side effects than antidepressants, and its effects may persist longer. Whereas many people take antidepressants for at least a year, most TMS courses are six weeks long, with the option of additional, shorter maintenance courses.

How Does TMS Work?

Depressed patients and individuals living with other mental health conditions often have increased or reduced brain activity in certain brain areas. Unusual activity levels can be associated with changes in mood and behavior, such as low mood or lack of concentration.

During TMS treatment, a magnetic coil is placed over the scalp. An electric current flows through the coil, generating a pulsating magnetic field that passes seamlessly into the brain, inducing small electric currents in the target nerve cells (usually in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex).

After several sessions, these stimulations lead to improvements in depression symptoms, such as fatigue, low mood, and lack of motivation.

What Are Brain Stimulation Therapies?

Brain stimulation therapies are treatments that use electricity to stimulate brain cells. Brain stimulation therapies can be invasive (requiring implants in the scalp), or non-invasive (not requiring surgery). Some other brain stimulation therapies include:

  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Vagus nerve stimulation
  • Deep brain stimulation

Unlike some brain stimulation therapies, TMS does not deliberately induce seizures, and clients remain conscious throughout the procedure.

Mental Wellness Treatment at GIA Chicago

GIA Chicago offers top-tier mental wellness treatments from the forefront of medical science. We believe that everyone should have access to the most up-to-date, therapeutic approaches to guarantee the best recovery outcomes. Our state-of-the-art facilities offer a range of innovative, evidence-based diagnostic and treatment technologies, to suit each client's needs.

At GIA Chicago, we understand that recovery is a holistic process that requires a human touch. We deliver all our programs with compassion and respect, working on a personal basis with every client. We act with integrity at all times, staying by your side throughout the treatment experience.

GIA Chicago is a pioneer in TMS treatment, offering groundbreaking therapy for an unrivaled range of conditions. Our founder, Dr. Bonci, has co-authored revolutionary papers on the application of TMS for substance and behavioral addictions, leading to the certification of the treatment in the EU for nicotine addiction. At GIA Chicago, you can personally benefit from his team's exceptional expertise in your own recovery program.

Whether you are living with a mental health condition or seeking to improve your mental performance, GIA Chicago can help. With our support, you can become the best version of yourself.

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