Like electroconvulsive therapy
(ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a brief medical procedure that works by stimulating the brain using advanced technology and without the use of medication. Unlike ECT, however, TMS uses magnetic energy rather than electrical energy, to deliver the stimulation. Only specific targets in the brain receive the stimulation.
The main advantage of TMS is that it does not require sedation or general anesthesia, which means there is no recovery time and patients can return to their usual activities immediately after the procedure.
While not as effective as ECT, TMS is as effective as medication therapy and often works when medications have not. It may be an excellent alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of medications or have other medical conditions that increase the risks of taking certain medications.
TMS is approved by the FDA for the treatment of medication-resistant depression in adults. Substantial research and clinical practice suggest it is also safe in children and adolescents and that it may also be effective for other conditions, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, addiction and certain types of hallucinations (such as hearing voices).
TMS at Menninger
TMS involves a series of treatments given five days a week over a course of four to six weeks. Each treatment typically lasts about 40 minutes. At Menninger, the Center’s start-of-the-art technology can cut this time in half, which means patients can experience relief more swiftly than with traditional forms of TMS.
The first step in the process is a consultation with Neil Puri, MD, interim medical director of the Center for Brain Stimulation, and his team, during which they take into consideration each individual’s unique psychiatric and medical history and discusses the number of treatments likely to be most helpful.