TMS FAQ

Is TMS right for me?

If you have been diagnosed with Depression and have tried several antidepressants and nothing has worked, TMS may be right for you.  You must be at least 18 years old, have no metal implants, and want to get well! Talk with your doctor to see if TMS is right for you.   

Does FDA-clearance of the Neurostar TMS therapy system mean that all TMS devices are cleared for use in treating major depression with the United States?

No.  All TMS devices are not created equal.  Neurostar was cleared by the FDA because of successful trials using Neurostar devices only.  Other devices need to seek their own FDA approval.

Can I also take antidepressants(s) if I am receiving Neurostar TMS therapy?

Yes.  In fact, you should only ever stop taking your medications under the advice and guidance of your physician.

How long does the antidepressant effect last? Will I need any therapy beyond the first treatment?

Doctors generally recommend that patients remain on antidepressants for a year or at least 6 months after remission.  As always, you should work with your doctor to decide if you should stop taking medications and do so only under his or her care.  Ideally, antidepressants are used to help you get through a depressive episode but for many, antidepressant usage is a long-term or a lifetime solution.

Is TMS therapy uncomfortable?

No.  For the treatment sessions, you will sit in a comfortable reclining chair.  The coils are designed to fit the contours of your head so they are comfortable as they remain securely in place.  During the session, you may feel a tapping as the magnets work but it is mild.

Does TMS therapy cause memory loss?

No.  TMS has been used for more than 10 years and does not cause memory loss.

Can Neurostar TMS therapy cause brain tumors?

No.  The magnetic fields used in TMS therapy is the same strength as MRI’s which do not cause brain tumors.  

What are the potential risks of Neurostar TMS therapy?

Side effects of TMS are uncommon and usually mild.  The patient may experience discomfort around the treatment area or headaches and neck pain during treatment.  There is a rare chance of seizures so patients with a history of epilepsy or seizures are not permitted to have the treatment.  

What is a typical course of treatment with Neurostar TMS therapy?

Each Neurostar TMS session lasts 20-40 minutes depending on dosage and treatment periods take place 5 days a week for 4-6 weeks.  

Is TMS therapy like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?

No.  ECT is an invasive treatment that involves sedation and has possible side effects that are severe such as memory loss.  Although the idea is similar―electrically stimulating areas of the brain to get them working properly―it is considered a last resort to use only when all other treatments fail.

Is TMS therapy like other alternative therapies which use magnets to treat some illnesses?

No.  Neurostar TMS is an FDA-approved therapy that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder.  Other therapies that use wearable magnets or “at home” devices are not proven to have any effect on symptoms of Depression or other disorders.

Is TMS therapy a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects associated with antidepressant medications?

Yes.  Many antidepressants have harsh side-effects that are difficult to tolerate because they systemic and affect the entire body.  TMS has few side effects, mainly discomfort near the treatment location.

Is Neurostar TMS therapy covered by insurance?

Yes, TMS is covered by most major insurance companies.

What is TMS therapy?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS is an outpatient therapy used for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder as well as other mental disorders.  It’s a non-invasive procedure that uses coils to produce magnetic fields to stimulate neurotransmitters in the brain. By stimulating them in this way, they are able to function more normally and relieve the symptoms of Depression for the patient.  It is typically used when antidepressants have failed.

How does TMS therapy work?

TMS uses a coil that is placed on the skull so that the magnetic field is directed at the prefrontal cortex which is the area of the brain where mood is regulated.  The magnetic field stimulates the neurotransmitters that may have been malfunctioning into firing and making connections as they should. Each session lasts 20-40 minutes and treatment periods take place 5 days a week for 4-6 weeks.  

Depression FAQ

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

TMS is a treatment for Depression that uses coils to create magnetic fields and directs them at the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain where mood is regulated.  It stimulates neurotransmitters into functioning normally. TMS is a non-invasive, outpatient, and drug-free procedure that has brought thousands of people relief and even remission from symptoms of Depression, in many cases for as long as a year.

What treatments are currently approved to treat Depression?

Some people find success in the treatment of symptoms of Depression with psychotherapy and antidepressants and in the most severe cases, ECT or Electroconvulsive Therapy but one of the most promising treatments is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation which was approved by the FDA in 2008 as a treatment for Depression in adults.  

What are symptoms of Depression?

People who experience MDD may feel sadness, anxiety, lack if interest, loss of appetite or overeating, irritability, insomnia or sleeping too much, suicidal thoughts, and physical problems.

Are some people more likely to become depressed than others?

Yes.  It may be inherited, biological, hormonal, or an imbalance of brain chemistry.  You are also more likely to develop Depression if you abuse drugs or alcohol, are a victim of abuse, have experienced a traumatic event, have a chronic illness, and can also be triggered by certain medications.

Is there a cure for Depression?

No, there is currently no cure for Depression but there is hope.  There are several successful treatments for the symptoms of Depression.

How prevalent is Depression?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2016, 16.2 million adults aged 18 or older experienced a major depressive episode.  This is 6.7% of all adults in the U. S. Of those, 10.3 had a major depressive episode with severe impairment.  

What causes Major Depression?

MDD could be inherited, due to hormonal changes, biological differences, and imbalances in brain chemistry.  You also may be at risk of developing Major Depression if you abuse drugs or alcohol, are a victim of abuse, have experienced a traumatic event, have a chronic illness, and can also be triggered by certain medications.

What is Major Depression?

Major Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, is a disorder that results in a persistent feeling of sadness and lack of energy or interest.