TMS Therapy FAQs

What is TMS Therapy?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy is an FDA-approved breakthrough treatment for chronic depression. It is non-invasive and is medication-free. TMS Therapy may be idea for those who have not had success with previous treatment for depression involving talk therapy and anti-depressant medication or for people who are unable to tolerate the side effects of medication. Most health insurance plans cover TMS Therapy. Commonwealth Psychology Associates® offers TMS Therapy for Depression in Boston, MA in our Financial District location. Click here to inquire about a consultation or call us at (617) 259-1895.  

How does TMS work?

TMS Therapy uses a magnetic pulse (similar to an MRI) and works by stimulating an area of the brain that is underactive in patients with severe depression. As the magnetic pulses pass through the skull and into the brain, brief activity of the targeted brain cells is induced. TMS Therapy has been shown to produce changes in neuronal activity in regions of the brain implicated in mood regulation, such as the prefrontal cortex.

TMS Therapy must be prescribed by a psychiatrist and sessions occur in an outpatient office setting. During treatment, the patient is awake and seated in a comfortable chair. The treatment coil is about the size of a cupped hand and rests lightly on a predetermined spot on the head to deliver a series of targeted magnetic pulses that stimulate the part of the brain involved with mood regulation.

A typical course of treatment involves sessions that are about 20 minutes, five days a week for four to six weeks. During the session, patients may read, listen to music, or watch television. Patients may return to their daily routine immediately afterwards.

For more information about TMS Therapy services at Commonwealth Psychology Associates® click here.

Who is a good candidate for TMS Therapy?

• People who have continuously struggled with depression interfering in daily life
• Those who are unsatisfied with the results they experience with depression medication
• Those who do not like the side effects they experience with depression medications
• People who have had to try several antidepressants due to side effects or lack of effectiveness
• Those who are interested in a proven, non-medication treatment for depression

What are the side effects of TMS Therapy?

TMS Therapy is free from the side effects that patients often experience when they take antidepressant medication. TMS Therapy is FDA-approved and has been proven safe and effective in over 20 years of research on the treatment of depression.

TMS Therapy associated with few side effects. The most common side effect, which is reported in about half of patients treated with TMS, is headaches. These are mild and generally diminish over the course of the treatment. Over-the-counter pain medication can be used to treat these headaches. Only a small percentage of patients discontinue treatment because of side effects.

The TMS machine produces a loud noise and because of this earplugs or headphones are given to the patient to use during the treatment.

TMS has not been associated with many of the side effects caused by antidepressant medications, such as gastrointestinal upset, dry mouth, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, or sedation. The most serious risk of TMS is seizures but the risk of a seizure is exceedingly low.

How can I learn more about TMS or inquire about an appointment?

Please call us at (617) 259-1895 or fill out our brief online inquiry form here. Our staff is happy to answer questions and check your insurance benefits.

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