Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, otherwise known as TMS, has been used to study the nerve fibers that carry information about movements from the brain to the spinal cord and on to the muscles since the 1980s. In 2008, TMS became FDA-approved to treat patients suffering from depression who have not experienced relief from prior use of antidepressant medications. TMS has been proven to better the lives of those experiencing depression and living with the side effects of common antidepressant medications. Treatments are relatively quick and require no anesthesia or sedation, and patients can even watch TV while undergoing the procedure.
TMS is a non-invasive, outpatient procedure performed in your psychiatrist’s office under his or her supervision while you remain awake and alert. TMS is also non-systemic, which means that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body. TMS is worked through a magnetic coil, which generates highly concentrated magnetic fields that turn on and off very rapidly, same type and strength as an MRI machine. The treatment coil is applied to the part of the brain that is involved with mood regulation, the left prefrontal cortex. The electrical currents produced by TMS activate cells within the brain that are thought to serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which has been proven to restore balance and relieve depression.