Can TMS Therapy Treat Depression and Anxiety?
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: October 19, 2019

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive modality. Here’s what you need to know.

What is TMS?

TMS has FDA approval. It’s a painless treatment. You start by leaning back and relaxing in a comfortable treatment chair. A therapist begins the session by putting an electromagnet near your forehead.

When the expert switches on the machine, it sends magnetic pulses to targeted regions of the brain. Therapists explain that treatment stimulates the area having to do with mood.

Can TMS therapy treat depression and anxiety in just one session?

Therapists suggest that you should undergo repetitive pulses during several 40-minute sessions. In fact, some facilities offer the modality five days per week for about a month to six weeks. Success rates suggest that this intervention did well when other treatment approaches failed to work. By the way, because there are no side effects, you can immediately stand up and go about your day.

Why Can TMS Therapy Treat Depression and Anxiety When Other Care Options Fail?

Each individual is different. Whereas some respond well to prescription medication or traditional evidence-based therapies, others need something different. Because the therapist can adjust the dose of the magnetic stimulation, it’s possible to target the brain’s mood center effectively. This isn’t possible in real-time with medication.

Can TMS Therapy Treat Depression and Anxiety That Trigger Substance Abuse?

Thirty percent of individuals with chemical dependency also have depression. Therefore, the treatment has a good chance of working for someone who also struggles with substance abuse. That said, it’s important to note that it can’t be a stand-alone modality. Rather, it needs to become part of a dual diagnosis care approach.

Understanding the Co-Occurring Condition

Dual diagnosis refers to the presence of addiction and depression. Sometimes, it’s easy to see that a client self-medicates because of a mood disorder. At other times, it’s challenging to determine which condition happened first. Of course, in the end, it doesn’t matter which came first.

What does matter is that you receive treatment. How can TMS therapy treat depression and anxiety as part of a comprehensive care approach? Therapists will customize a protocol. Possible modalities include:

  • Talk therapy that gives you a forum to talk through your feelings and make connections
  • Group therapy that deals with processes for personal growth and development
  • Behavioral counseling that develops your ability to determine healthy coping skills in tough situations
  • Gender-responsive care, which builds on your innate strengths to help you make the changes you want to see
  • 12 Step integration, which allows you to explore peer accountability for relapse prevention