Is TMS Right For Me?


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy is a non-invasive, drug-free, outpatient therapy used in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder when antidepressants fail to provide relief from symptoms.  How do you know if this kind of treatment is right for you?

Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, is a common medical condition that affects people both mentally and physically.  It is more than just feeling sad or down and it can have no apparent cause.  Symptoms can include: 

  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Sad, empty feelings that persist
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Aches and pains
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Digestive problems
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Lack of interest

While it may sometimes be difficult to pinpoint where the depression came from, it is usually caused by genetics, personality (people with low self-esteem), environmental (living in poverty or in an abusive situation), or biochemistry (imbalance in mood-regulating chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.  

Who Should Try TMS?

When it comes to treatment for symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder, no one treatment works for everyone.  Some people may have great results from psychotherapy.  For others, that may not be enough and their therapist may recommend antidepressants that work to influence mood-regulating chemicals.  There are several kinds of antidepressants and finding one or a combination of them that are effective often involves a lot of trial and error.  What works for one person may have no effect on someone else or may even cause harsh side effects.  For some people, a solution that brings any kind of relief from symptoms feels non-existant.   

If you’re one of those people, who have been diagnosed with MDD and have found little or no relief from symptoms with antidepressants, TMS can help.

Who Should Not Use TMS?

TMS is not a treatment for mild depression and is only recommended when other treatments fail.  Because the main components in the treatment are strong magnets like used in MRIs, patients with implants of any kind that have metal in them cannot receive the treatment.  Piercings are allowed only if they can be removed during the treatments.

While side effects are very rare, they can include seizures so anyone with Epilepsy or a history of seizures should not use this treatment.

What To Expect

TMS works by activating the neurotransmitters (those mood-regulating chemicals) with a magnetic field to correct dysfunction in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.  During the treatment, you will remain awake and relaxed in a reclining chair in a comfort-designed treatment room where a technician will administer the treatment.  They use a specially-designed coil that fits the shape of your head and during the treatment, you may hear a clicking sound and feel a rhythmic tapping sensation on your head but side effects are rare.  The treatments generally last for 20-40 minutes, 5 days a week for 4-6 weeks.  When the treatment session is over, you can simply go home or back to work.  Because it’s non-invasive and there’s no anesthesia necessary, there’s no downtime.  

GatewayTMS is a leading provider in TMS treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in the St. Louis area.  We use Neurostar TMS to help patients find relief from symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder when other forms of treatment have failed.  We treat all our patients with care and compassion as we help them improve their mental health.  If you think TMS might be right for you, call us at (314) 909-8487.  We’d be happy to answer any questions and get you started on the road to better mental health.