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Southern Live Oak Wellness aims to effectively treat the symptoms of the most common mental health disorders. In doing so, we are aware of the limitations of traditional medications and therapies for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). That is why we offer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as one of our many therapeutic services.

TMS is a groundbreaking therapy for what has come to be known as treatment-resistant depression. Read on to learn how to possibly find success where other treatments have failed, and to learn all about TMS in Atlanta.

What is TMS?

TMS for short, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy is a non-invasive treatment for depression and other mental health disorders that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It works by using magnetic fields to activate nerve cells in the brain to relieve the symptoms of depression. In this way, it restores normal brain functions and the patient feels better. Southern Live Oak Wellness offers Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy in Atlanta at all levels of care, including at the outpatient level.

Diagram of TMS therapy

TMS Therapy for Depression

Depression is one of the leading mental health disorders in the U.S., with nearly 10% of American adults experiencing major depressive disorder at some point in their lives. Women are also twice more likely to experience this disorder than men. Of course, because depression impacts not just those who have been diagnosed, but friends and loved ones as well, the impact of the prevalence of depression in the U.S. is staggering.

While not curable, depression can be treated. Various therapies and prescription medications have proven effective for many people. However, there exists a small but significant population whose depression does not respond to these traditional forms of treatment. Fortunately, TMS Therapy has proven effective for many people with this type of treatment-resistant depression.

When the brain is functioning normally, it produces chemicals that regulate mood and behavior. When depressed, the brain produces far fewer of these mood-regulating chemicals. TMS stimulates those areas of the brain that control emotion and thought, increasing the production of these needed chemicals. After a session, people often report feeling happier and more centered.

Variations of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy Therapy

TMS therapy is performed in a variety of ways, mostly involving the strength or applications of the magnetic field. The small ways in which it can be adjusted include:

  • Magnet strength. Most of the magnets used in TMS therapy generate a magnetic field strength between 1.5 and 2T. In this case, T stands for Tesla, which is the unit of measurement to define magnetic flux density.
  • Pulse frequency. A pulse occurs every time the magnetic field turns on and off. It can involve low-frequency pulses at one pulse per second (1Hz), or high-frequency pulses, which range from five (5Hz) to ten pulses per second (10Hz).
  • Pulse patterns. TMS can also use different patterns of pulses for treatment. The well-known theta-burst stimulation (TBS), for instance, is a pulse pattern of three distinct 5 Hz bursts. These pulses are often necessary to speed up treatments.
  • Magnetic coil type and stimulation target. Various kinds of magnetic coils target different brain structures. Deep TMS often treats obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It uses an H-shaped helmed coil to target deeper brain structures.

Is TMS Therapy Safe?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has determined that TMS therapy is safe. Also, the FDA approved Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy in 2008 as a treatment for major depressive disorder. While it was approved for depression only, it is also safely used “off-label” to treat other disorders, including OCD, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

One of the benefits of TMS therapy is that does not carry many of the uncomfortable side effects of depression. It does not require deep brain stimulation or implantation of electrodes, nor does it need to sedate patients with anesthesia. TMS has virtually none of the potential side effects of common antidepressant medications, such as sexual dysfunction or weight gain. However, patients should first consult with their doctor to determine whether Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy is right for them.

Consulting with doctor about TMS

What to Expect with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy

TMS therapy is one of our more intensive treatment services. It requires sessions multiple sessions per week for several weeks before any results can be measured. Each session lasts between 20 and 50 minutes, depending on the device and medical protocols involved.

When a patient arrives, they check in with the doctor or TMS technician to determine the appropriate intensity as well as the best place on the patient’s head to locate the magnetic coil.

Once the session begins, patients need only sit or lie down while their heads are exposed to a magnetic field. This magnetic field sends short bursts of high-frequency magnetic pulses through the scalp. A coil placed on the patient’s head delivers these magnetic pulses.

Side Effects of TMS Therapy

TMS therapy has few, if any, side effects. The most common side effects include mild discomfort during treatment and slight headaches following treatment. More rare side effects include:

  • Pain in the scalp or neck
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling in the muscles of the face or scalp
  • Temporary tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Hyperacusis, or high sensitivity to sound

Most TMS patients leave a therapy session and return to their lives. The professionals of our Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy in Atlanta ensure patient safety and comfort. For more information on what to expect with TMS Therapy, watch our video.

Treat Depression with TMS in Atlanta

woman having depression bipolar disorder trouble

If you are experiencing depression, and the treatments you’ve tried have not helped, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy might be right for you. We here at Southern Live Oak Wellness recommend reaching out to us to discuss your options regarding TMS Therapy in Atlanta.

Contact us today and do what it takes to win back your wellness and your life.

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