Preparing Yourself for TMS: What to Look For and Expect


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, better known as TMS, is an effective method for people who have severe depression and have exhausted other options. TMS is clinically proven to succeed in cases of depression where other methods of treatment have not. But what should you look for when seeking TMS?

How to Prepare for TMS

Often, when seeking TMS, you’ll need to undergo two different evaluations. The first, a physical evaluation, is a general physical exam where a doctor will assess your overall physical health to make sure that you’re appropriate for the treatment. This can include lab tests, as well.

Additionally, it’s typical to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. TMS is often used as a last resort, after a patient has attempted more traditional options like therapy and medication. The use of TMS is for those who are suffering from clinical depression that cannot be remedied through other means.

What Your Doctor Will Be Looking For

Your doctor will have an array of questions to ask you before beginning treatment, which may include the following:

  • Are you pregnant, or do you think you’re pregnant?
  • Do you have any implanted medical devices? This can include but is not limited to: stents, pacemakers, or cochlear implants.
  • Are you taking any medications?
  • Do you have a history of seizures?
  • Have you had any brain injuries?
  • Do you have frequent headaches or migraines?

    These can all play a part in the efficacy of TMS.

What to Expect When Undergoing TMS

TMS is an electromagnetic therapy sometimes confused with the antiquated electroshock therapy. Unlike electroshock therapy, TMS is entirely painless. It is also non-invasive, and requires no surgical intervention.

Your First Appointment

Your first appointment is often the longest that you’ll have, lasting nearly an hour. This appointment is for determining the map of your brain, as well as the intensity of the treatment you’ll undergo. During this, you’ll get a small sample of what your ongoing therapy sessions will be like as they dial in the details.

Your Ongoing Treatment

Following your first appointment, you’ll begin undergoing regular sessions using TMS to assist with your depression. You’ll be made to be comfortable, and your sessions will last about half an hour. The treatment will consist of the electromagnets being positioned around your head appropriately, and when turned on you’ll feel a slight tapping on your forehead.

Your doctor may ask that you bring items to make you more comfortable during your appointments, such as headphones, a bottle of water, and even a blanket if the setting is particularly cold.

Following Your Session

After your treatment, you’ll normally be able to resume your regular daily activities, including driving. You may experience some side effects, like a slight headache, muscle spasms, or lightheadedness. These are normal, and don’t last long.

All in all, TMS is an effective treatment for those who have tried other options and are looking for something to help alleviate their depression. If other options haven’t worked for you, consider looking into TMS! Call Gateway TMS at 314.909.8487 to schedule an appointment.