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What Is TMS Therapy?

an artistic imagining of a doctor holding a persons glowing brain in their hands to examine it

Struggling with mental health issues can cause a wide range of difficulties in a person’s life. For many, mental illness causes reduced performance at work or school and can make it hard to maintain healthy relationships. Sometimes people living with mental illness feel so overwhelmed they turn to substances to cope. Sadly, this just creates more problems in the long run. Therefore, it’s critical to find support sooner rather than later. If you or your loved one is struggling with a concern like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma, or substance abuse, a treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) might help.

Especially effective in working with treatment-resistant depression, TMS is likewise helpful in many mental health and substance abuse contexts. If you’d like to learn more about what TMS therapy is, along with other evidence-based strategies for achieving greater mental health, contact NuLife Behavioral Health. Our caring staff serves clients in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Call 888.568.2057 or reach out online to start the conversation.

How TMS Therapy Works

Since its inception in the 1980s, TMS has helped clients gain greater mental health without invasive pharmaceuticals or painful procedures. In a TMS session, a client remains conscious, wears ear protection, and receives mild electrical stimulation via a device worn on their head. This device simulates the brain using magnetic fields. Pulses are similar to those used in an MRI, and most clients compare the sensation to being gently tapped on the head.

Due to its ability to stimulate underactive brain regions, especially those associated with depression, TMS is usually able to provide noticeable symptom relief within just a few weeks. Importantly for those in addiction recovery, it is also known to notably reduce cravings. Likewise beneficial in terms of cost and manageability, a full course of TMS therapy treatments usually lasts only four to six weeks, with sessions occurring about five times a week. Moreover, TMS is covered by most insurance providers making it widely accessible to those who need it.

Although the treatment is fairly intensive in terms of frequency, it can be done safely in an outpatient situation. This means it can provide a lot of flexibility from day one. That said, it’s still most effective when used in combination with other modalities. For example, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), a highly effective talk therapy mode, can be a great complement. This helps clients address the cognitive side of their concerns by learning to modify self-defeating thoughts and self-regulate.

What Are the Risks of TMS, and How Do I Know If It’s Right For Me?

TMS is a powerful, evidence-based procedure that most clients tolerate quite well. Nevertheless, only consulting with a doctor can help you make the ultimate call about whether this therapy is right for you. Here are a few reasons TMS might be a good addition to your treatment protocol:

  • You or your loved one has been coping with depression, and other treatments, such as medication, aren’t delivering the results you want
  • Side effects from traditional depression medication are proving disruptive to optimal functioning
  • You want a therapy that acts directly on brain function without the risks or invasive aspects of other such treatments like electroconvulsive therapy or deep brain stimulation
  • You’re looking for an affordable and practical option that’s nonetheless evidence-based and widely practiced.

All medical procedures carry some level of risk, but happily, TMS’ are quite minimal and generally don’t last long after sessions. Possible side effects from TMS therapy sessions include:

  • Lightheadedness or headache
  • Twitching muscles in the face or tingling sensations
  • Discomfort on the scalp where the TMS electromagnet was placed
  • Very rarely, seizure
  • Rarely, hearing loss if proper ear protection wasn’t worn
  • Also rarely, mania, mainly in clients already prone to it due to bipolar disorder

One aspect of TMS therapy that gives it an advantage over other direct brain stimulation treatments is clients’ consciousness throughout. This means that client and doctor can work together to adjust stimulation to the best level.

Contact NuLife Recovery Services Massachusetts for Information on TMS Therapy Today

If you or your loved one might benefit from TMS therapy or another treatment for mental health or substance abuse concerns, learn more today. NuLife Behavioral Health’s qualified staff in Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, and New Jersey are eager to help. Please fill out our confidential online form or call 888.568.2057 to speak to someone who can get you started on the path to better health.