Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy – Alternative Therapy
As a Scottsdale Psychiatrist I am always staying on top of the latest research and treatments. I found this article on transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy very interesting. Like the the off-label discoveries in mental health, there are many new discoveries to treat depression, anxiety, and other illnesses such as TMS,Vagal Nerve Stimulation and others. These therapies are used for the population of patients that are treatment resistant and do not respond to medication; they can also be used to augment medication management as well. I hope you enjoy this article and for more information you may click on Dr. Lin’s name to reach her website. I have also recently discovered that some are using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy for treating schizophrenia in dealing with the auditory hallucinations.
TMS: A Primer
Dr. Denise Lin,
Advanced Psychiatric Care of Santa Barbara
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy. TMS is way of targeting specific areas of the brain with a strong, pulsed magnetic field to stimulate brain cells. Stimulating brain cells to treat psychiatric disorders is a growing area of research and clinical practice. Seven of the top ten academic centers that train new psychiatrists are now providing TMS and there are about 260 TMS centers across the US.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy what are the biological effects of TMS Therapy
When brain cells are stimulated, they release brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These substances are important for mood and anxiety regulation. During Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy, an area about the size of a golf ball near the brain surface (the cortex) is directly stimulated by the magnetic field. In addition, there are circuits which connect the surface of the brain to deeper brain structures allowing activation of several other areas of the brain also. All these areas are involved in mood regulation.
Who might benefit from Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy?
TMS is FDA-approved for the treatment of adults with depression that has not responded adequately to an antidepressant medication. The original research was done on people with medication-resistant depression that had not responded to between 1 and 23 different antidepressant medications. More than half of these people had a marked improvement and one-third had full remission of their depression symptoms with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy TMS. Considering how tough their cases of depression were, these numbers are quite impressive.
Some TMS psychiatrists are using TMS off-label to treat people with anxiety disorders or bipolar depression. Pregnant or breast-feeding women with depression have also been treated successfully. There is some evidence that it can help migraine sufferers and people suffering from tinnitus also.
Can you use medications during TMS Therapy?
Yes. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy TMS is safe to use with or without antidepressant medications. This would be discussed ahead of time with your TMS psychiatrist. Some doctors might also recommend certain nutritional supplements to take during TMS Therapy.
How many treatments does TMS take?
A typical treatment course for depression is 20-30 treatments. Each treatment lasts about 40 minutes. The treatments are usually done daily, Monday through Friday for 4-6 weeks and are done in a comfortable office setting.
Does TMS require sedatives? Is there any downtime?
No sedatives are needed, and so you can drive, work, eat and do any of your normal activities before and after treatment sessions.
Does insurance cover TMS Therapy?
Starting in January 2011 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy TMS will have an official CPT code that insurance companies recognize. This will make it much more likely to be a covered procedure. Previously, insurance companies covered TMS on a case-by-case basis and appeals were sometimes needed if the insurance company denies it at first.
If TMS is appropriate for you, your TMS psychiatrist and the Neuronetics Care Connection will work to provide your insurance company with the information it needs and if necessary, they will help you with the appeals process.