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Questions About Treatment

Here are our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this treatment.

If you can’t see what you’re looking for, please do get in touch. We’d be happy to help.

What is rTMS Depression Treatment?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a neuro-modulation technique which emits electromagnetic pulses to stimulate the brain.

In depression treatment, the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is treated. High frequency magnetic stimulation excites the neural pathways in this particular brain area. Repetitive stimulation of the left prefrontal cortex results in improved mood, increased motivation and positive cognitions.

How long does TMS Treatment take?

A standard course of treatment for depression and anxiety is comprised of one 30 minute session per day, 5 times per week for 2-6 weeks. Accelerated treatment where a patient undergoes more than one session per day is also an option, if the treating clinician permits this. The overall duration of treatment depends on whether a patient is responding, and at what pace they are responding at.

Patients usually require 20-30 sessions of rTMS to experience a significant reduction in symptoms or enter remission.

Who is rTMS treatment suitable for?

TMS treatment is suitable for any individual over the age of 18, experiencing major depressive disorder.

TMS is an alternative avenue of treatment for depression to consider if antidepressants or talking therapies have not helped to alleviate depressive symptoms.

Who is rTMS treatment not suitable for?

While rTMS is generally very well tolerated, there are some individuals who may not be suitable for treatment.

A person with a history of seizures or who have metal implants in their brain are not suitable for TMS therapy. Individuals with Bi-Polar disorder who are currently experiencing a manic phase are also not permitted to undergo TMS treatment.

During the assessment our treating clinician screens all potential patients for any contraindications to TMS treatment.

I have multiple conditions – how would I be treated?

Where a patient has a combination of conditions including Depression/Anxiety, initially we would treat the Depression/Anxiety symptoms with the standard treatment of 10-15 sessions. We would then review patient improvement. This would typically be followed by 5-10 sessions for the other conditions the patient presents.

What if I cannot receive rTMS treatment?

If you are deemed unsuitable for rTMS therapy, you will continue to receive care from your GP or local mental health clinic for depression. This may involve being referred to a psychiatrist/psychologist.

Should I take my medicines while undergoing rTMS treatment?

Patients are strongly advised to continue taking their antidepressant/ any currently prescribed medication. This is to ensure that if improvements occur during treatment, they can be accredited solely to the rTMS treatment.

How soon will I see the benefits?

Patients usually respond between 12-15 sessions or two and a half to three weeks. While some individuals respond in less time, others may be in a late-responding category. Improvements are generally subtle and gradual.

In clinical rTMS trials, 1 in 2 patients experienced a significant reduction in symptoms after four weeks. 1 in 3 participants entered complete remission after six weeks of treatment. Smart TMS’ clinical experience of response rates is considerably higher than the published research.

Is it safe to undergo TMS treatment while taking medication?

Yes, TMS is safely administered to patients who are taking antidepressant medication in conjunction with the treatment.

Stopping or altering prescribed medication is not advised for the duration of treatment.

Some medications such as Clozapine, or consuming large amounts of alcohol lowers an individual’s seizure threshold and so in not advised. During assessment, your treating clinician will inform you about any unsuitable medications and also speak about healthy lifestyle factors to consider during treatment. Adopting these healthy lifestyle factors such as limiting alcohol intake, not only ensure better safety and tolerance of rTMS but also help to derive the greatest benefits of TMS therapy.

What are the age limits where you wouldn’t commence treatment?

Patients should be at least 18 years old. However, we may agree to treat patients nearing their 18th birthday.