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NeuroStar TMS Therapy for Depression Now Available at CPA in Boston

July 26, 2016|Counseling & Psychotherapy

TMS Therapy for Depression

Commonwealth Psychology Associates is now offering NeuroStar Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy. TMS Therapy is an FDA-approved breakthrough non-medication, non-invasive treatment for patients who continue to experience depressive symptoms despite therapy and anti-depressant medication treatment or those who are unable to tolerate the side effects of medication. CPA is the only independent, outpatient mental health practice with NeuroStar TMS Therapy services in the city of Boston.

If you agree with two or more of these statements, ask us about TMS Therapy:

  • Depression symptoms continue to interfere with my daily life.
  • I am not satisfied with the results I get from depression medication.
  • I have had, or have worried about, side effects from depression medications.
  • I have had to switch medications for depression due to side effects.
  • I am interested in a proven, non-pharmacological therapy for depression.

This video describes a client experience with TMS Therapy:

How It Works

NeuroStar TMS Therapy uses a magnetic pulse similar to that of an MRI and works by stimulating areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with severe depression.  As each magnetic pulse passes through the skull and into the brain, this induces brief activity of brain cells underlying the treatment coil. 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.

NeuroStar TMS Therapy is done on an outpatient basis by prescription only and under the supervision of a psychiatrist. During treatment, the patient is awake and seated in a comfortable chair. A device, about the size of a cupped hand, rests lightly on the head and delivers a series of targeted magnetic pulses that stimulate the part of the brain involved with regulation of mood.

Treatment is typically administered five days a week for four to six weeks. Patients are awake and alert during treatments lasting approximately 20 minutes and may return to their daily routine immediately afterwards.

This video will show you what to expect:

Side Effects

Because it is not a depression drug, NeuroStar TMS Therapy is free from the side effects that patients often experience when they take antidepressant medication. NeuroStar TMS Therapy is an FDA-approved device and TMS therapy has been proven safe and effective in over 20 years of research on the treatment of depression. For more information about side effects and risks, please see below.

For more information about TMS Therapy or to inquire about treatment, please call us at (617) 259-1895 or fill out a brief online intake form at We’re here to help.

What Are The Side Effects of TMS Therapy?

TMS is well-tolerated and associated with few side effects. Only a small percentage of patients discontinue treatment because of 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.

About one third of patients may experience painful scalp sensations or facial twitching with TMS pulses. These too tend to diminish over the course of treatment although adjustments can be made immediately in coil positioning and stimulation settings to reduce discomfort.

The TMS machine produces a loud noise and because of this earplugs or headphones are given to the patient to use during the treatment. However, some patients may still complain of hearing problems immediately following treatment. No evidence suggests these effects are permanent if earplugs are worn 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.  However, the risk of a seizure is exceedingly low.

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