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pros and cons of tms therapy

A Look at the Pros and Cons of TMS Therapy

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-intrusive, non-medication treatment for depression and other mental health disorders. This form of therapy uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in efforts to improve symptoms associated with mental health. 

For those who haven’t found success in medications or just want to try a prescription-free route, TMS therapy might be the right path to venture on next. Before deciding whether TMS is right for you, consider some pros and cons of TMS therapy.

Pros of TMS 

1. Outpatient Treatment

Because TMS therapy only requires outpatient treatment, you can maintain your daily routine and tend to your weekly obligations without significant disruption. Treatment often involves five weekly appointments. For the treatment, you’ll visit the office five days a week for quick appointments, then you can carry on with the rest of your day without any side effects.

2. High Success Rates

Harvard Health Blog reports, “Approximately 50% to 60% of people with depression who have tried and failed to receive benefit from medications experience a clinically meaningful response with TMS.”  And after reviewing studies of TMS’s effectiveness, the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) updated its guidelines for treating adults with major depressive disorder, making rTMS “a first-line recommendation for patients with MDD who have failed at least 1 antidepressant.” 

3. No Medications Needed

No prescription drugs need to be taken with TMS therapy, so you won’t have to endure any of the common side effects of medication, such as weight gain, stomach issues, memory loss, fatigue, or a decreased sex drive. 

4. Non-Invasive

Unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), TMS treatments don’t require sedation or any other types of medication, such as pain relievers, to administer. Even antidepressant medications, which must be digested through the GI system, are more intrusive than TMS therapy. 

Cons of TMS

1. Time Commitment

While appointments are short, you may need to attend five appointments a week for six weeks to reap the full benefits of TMS treatment. However, the minimal time spent at each appointment allows you the flexibility to schedule them at a time that works with your daily schedule. 

2. Availability

TMS therapy is a relatively new type of treatment, so there aren’t many offices offering the treatment. Because of this, appointments can book up quickly, and there could be a waiting period to get your first appointment.

3. Scalp Discomfort

It’s moderately common for patients to experience very mild scalp discomfort during their first TMS treatment appointment. However, this discomfort tends to go away after a few treatments.

4. Costly without Insurance 

Though most extended health plans will help cover TMS therapy. It can be quite costly for those without extended coverage. 

5. Low Risk of Seizures 

Although the risk for seizures is very low, with NCBI reporting <.02/1000 sessions, it’s important to note that the risk still exists. If you have a history of seizures, it’s smart to talk to your doctor before starting TMS treatment.

Summary

While there are risks associated with TMS, the possible rewards are equal to, if not greater than, the risks. If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of TMS therapy and think it might be the right fit,  don’t wait another day to get the relief you deserve to start living a life you love. Get a free consultation from TMS Clinics of Canada today!

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