Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses a powerful magnet to stimulate cells in the brain. During the procedure, a strong electromagnet is placed against the head, near the forehead. The magnet may be turned on and off repetitively, delivering pulses of a magnetic field into the brain.
What is it used for?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is primarily used to treat depression that hasn’t responded to other forms of treatment. Placement of the magnet near the forehead allows it to stimulate the parts of the brain (the prefrontal cortex) that control mood and to activate nerves that are commonly observed to be underactive in depressed individuals.
How does it work?
The magnetic fields penetrate through the scalp. As they turn on and off, they create weak electrical fields in the exposed neurons. These electrical fields cause the neurons to transmit signals and become active. The treatment seems to be a safer, more pleasant version of electroconvulsive therapy, a largely abandoned approach to treating intractable depression.
In electroconvulsive therapy, strong electric currents were delivered to the brain, activating neurons involved in depression. The tiny electric currents specifically induced in the mood centers of the brain by transcranial magnetic stimulation seem to be highly effective in activating neurons involved in depression without affecting neurons involved in other processes.
Is it safe?
The procedure is non-invasive and does not appear to have any side effects. The magnetic field applied is about as strong as that used in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure. MRI is generally believed to be completely safe.
After removal of all metallic objects from the patient, the patient sits in a comfortable chair. The magnetic is suspended over the patient’s head. After the treatment, the patient can immediately resume normal activities.
How long does it take?
Treatment time may vary. Also, we may recommend several sessions. Around 50% of patients experience significant improvements in mood, energy, and anxiety in response to a treatment course. After completing treatment, patients may need maintenance treatments.
Who is it indicated for?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is usually only suggested for use by individuals with major depression that has not responded to other forms of treatment, such as medications.
In some cases, patients who have had a partial response to medication find that adding transcranial magnetic stimulation to their treatment regimen allows them to experience complete relief from their symptoms.
If you are dealing with major depression, contact Cady Wellness Institute today to schedule an appointment.