Your Questions About TMS Answered

May 02, 2024
Your Questions About TMS Answered
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an up-and-coming treatment for various mental health issues, including depression and PTSD. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about TMS therapy and how it can benefit you.

Mental health problems are more common than people think, and they can be challenging to overcome. Medications and therapy are helpful for many people, but they don't work for everyone.

If you're struggling with PTSD, depression, or other mental health issues and aren't getting the relief you need, transcranial magnetic stimulation may be appropriate for you. It's a cutting-edge treatment that quickly and efficiently changes your brain to control your mood and emotions.

At Pacific Phoenix TMS, Dr. Elia R. Gonzalez-Rodriguez offers TMS therapy for various mental health issues. Dr. Gonzalez-Rodriguez is an experienced psychiatrist who helps you find the treatment for your mental health issue that's best for your needs.

The quick facts on TMS

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a type of noninvasive therapy we use for various mental health issues, including major depressive disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

TMS works by using a strong magnetic coil that works with your brain to change its natural electrical activity. Neurons in the brain use small amounts of electrical activity to communicate with other neurons throughout the body.

The magnetic coil in TMS works with your brain's electrical activity to influence certain areas responsible for mood regulation, emotions, and thought processes. These areas of the brain often change in those with depression and other medical problems.

At Pacific Phoenix TMS, we use the NeuroStar Advanced Therapy TMS device for our patients. It's essentially physical therapy for the brain, allowing it to change positively to reduce the symptoms of depression in adults and teens.

TMS sessions are usually painless and have mild side effects. Some people report scalp discomfort during the first few treatments, which resolves afterward.

Is TMS FDA-approved?

According to the National Library of Medicine, Anthony Barker first introduced TMS therapy for clinical and research purposes in 1985. However, the first study about therapeutic TMS for treatment-resistant depression didn't come out until 1995.

The first FDA approval for TMS therapy for depression came about in 2008, which consisted of a 10 Hz frequency that doctors delivered to the patient over the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

Each of these treatments lasted under 38 minutes and was spread over six weeks, with sessions five days per week. The patients in the first FDA-approved study experienced minimal discomfort, side effects, and brain changes associated with mood improvement.

More recently, the FDA approved the use of TMS therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder, migraines, and smoking cessation. However, these were all only for adult patients – until now.

At our facility, we use Neuronetics's NeuroStar TMS system, which just recently gained FDA approval for the treatment of major depressive disorder in teens aged 15 to 21. This is big news, considering many teens suffer in silence from depression and have adverse effects on antidepressant medications.

The NeuroStar device reports 78% depression symptom improvement in a study that contained 1,169 adolescents with mental health disorders. It's a safe and effective treatment for adults and teens when other methods aren't successful.

Does insurance cover TMS?

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, insurance companies should cover TMS therapy if you meet the following criteria:

  • the patient has a diagnosis of major depressive disorder
  • the patient has failed pharmacological treatment
  • the patient has adverse reactions to pharmacological treatment
  • a psychiatrist (DO or MD) writes the order for TMS after an in-person examination

Most insurance companies cover TMS therapy for up to six weeks of treatment for major depressive disorder and OCD. However, they must find that the treatment is medically necessary for the patient and that other options have been discussed.

The great news about the new FDA approval for teens is that many insurance companies will now cover TMS therapy for adults and teens as young as 15 for depression. Our team works with you and your insurance to ensure you get coverage when you meet the criteria for TMS treatment.

To learn more about TMS therapy, don't hesitate to call one of our conveniently located offices in Salmon Creek or East Vancouver, Washington, today to schedule an appointment or request an appointment on our website.