Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for the treatment of Depression
Scientific research has shown that the cause of depression is linked to the frontal cortex, where there is a disruption in communication between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and a deeper structure named the anterior cingulate. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) focuses specifically on this small area (DLPFC). The communication between these two regions can be improved via repeated stimulation to this location, decreasing depressive symptoms for up to 6-12 months. A noticeable effect is usually observed within 10 to 12 sessions of rTMS.
Due to the typical cyclical nature of depression, patients may not need further sessions after this initial treatment period. If complaints do return, however, therapists may suggest additional treatment sessions to achieve an ongoing anti-depressant effect.
Approximately 80% of individuals respond well to rTMS treatment and there are almost no reported adverse effects. The FDA in the U.S.A. considers rTMS as a safe therapy. One of the major advantages of treating depression with rTMS is that our patients report reduced or eliminated dependency on antidepressant medication post treatment. This rate of success has been achieved among therapists who have followed the neuroCare approach, through combined use of neuromodulation techniques and psychotherapy. In comparison, greater than 40% of patients with depression do not respond to antidepressant medications.
Who can undergo rTMS?
rTMS is an appropriate treatment option for anyone with mild to severe symptoms of depression. The treatment is widely used among patients with treatment-resistant depression or among those patients who have not responded to antidepressant medication such as paroxetine, venlafaxine or citalopram. Prior research has demonstrated that patients with milder forms of depression greatly benefit from treatment with rTMS.
Suitability for undertaking rTMS is assessed on an individual basis by a team of clinicians.
Contraindications for Treatment:
If you experience depression, you may qualify to undertake rTMS treatment. There are few complaints which are known to decrease the chance of success for rTMS for the treatment of depression. This includes people who suffer psychosis, schizophrenia or serious personality disorders.
rTMS is unlikely to be recommended for individuals with epilepsy or are pregnant.