TMS for Depression: How Long Do the Results Last?

 Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive magnetic therapy used to treat depression. This technique applies the use of magnetic pulses delivered repeatedly from magnetic fields to influence the stimulation of neuronal cells in the brain. 

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved TMS for treating depression because of its high success rate.  However, how long do the benefits of TMS treatment last? This is a common question among those who receive this treatment. In this article, we will answer this question and highlight the benefits of TMS therapy. 

How TMS Is Performed  

TMS is carried out by a licensed medical professional. The patient is not anesthetized since a surgical operation is not necessary. The electromagnetic coil in the TMS device is placed on the front side of your scalp or a spot near your left prefrontal cortex. These regions have been found to have low metabolic and functional activity in depressed individuals. 

The TMS device is left in place for anywhere between 3 to 5 minutes so that the region of the brain associated with depression can receive a steady stream of electromagnetic pulses. These magnetic pulses are sent to the brain and cause chemical changes that eventually help boost one’s mood. 

To get the best results, doctors recommend TMS therapy for a total of 36 sessions, divided into five sessions each week for four to six weeks.  No pain or discomfort should be experienced throughout treatment.  

The Benefits of TMS Therapy  

TMS is a highly successful way to treat depression, even for those who have not responded to other types of therapies. This non-invasive method may be helpful for depression patients who have not responded to traditional therapies, such as counseling and medication. 

Types of TMS Therapy

How Long will the Results of Therapy for Depression Last? 

This question is challenging to accurately respond to for several patient-related and clinical reasons.  Drug and alcohol abuse, stress, genetic susceptibility, and other factors all play a role in the multifaceted illness of depression. People are different and react to circumstances differently. 

This naturally implies that a range of circumstances will affect each person’s mood and cognitive processes. It is challenging to pinpoint the variables influencing the patient’s brain activity because there are no clear, predictable causes or effects. It consequently makes it impossible to provide a firm response to this topic. 

However, based on prior treatment results, patients should anticipate that using TMS therapy for depression will result in mood improvements that last anywhere from six months to a year, or longer, depending on individual-specific influences. 

Factors that Affect Response to TMS Therapy  

Responses to TMS therapy may vary depending on many variables. These factors include, but are not limited to: 

1. Age 

Research has shown that age can be a significant factor in the results of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatments. Generally, TMS has been found to be most effective in patients under the age of 70. This is because as we age, our brains tend to become less plastic and respond less effectively to external stimulation such as TMS.  

As a result, patients over the age of 70 may have reduced responses to treatment or no response at all. It is important that doctors take into consideration the patient’s age when assessing whether TMS is an appropriate course of treatment for their particular condition. 

2. Early Success with TMS Treatments 

Previous history of success can greatly affect the results of a TMS session. If an individual has had positive experiences with similar treatments in the past, they may be more likely to respond favorably to current TMS sessions. On the other hand, if someone has had negative experiences with similar treatments, it could lead to a lower likelihood that they will benefit from TMS.  

3. The Severity or Intensity of Depression 

When assessing the effectiveness of TMS treatments, it is important to consider the severity of the symptoms. People with more severe symptoms tend to respond better to deep TMS treatments, while those with milder symptoms achieved better results with repetitive TMS (rTMS). This highlights the importance of accurately assessing a patient’s condition before beginning treatment. 

What Results Can Be Anticipated from TMS Treatment? 

When considering TMS for treating depression, it is important to remember that results vary from person to person. Some people may find that their symptoms improve with just a few treatments, while others may need more sessions to experience symptom relief.  

It is also possible that some people may not experience any improvement at all. Although approximately 85% of My TMS patients have shown a reduction of depressive symptoms. My TMS has multiple locations in South Florida where patients can receive TMS treatment.  

Book a consultation