Millions around the world struggle with treatment-resistant depression. It is a type of depression that does not react well to conventional therapies like psychotherapy and antidepressants. 

But transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a relatively modern medical procedure, has been gaining favor recently. 

This article will look at how TMS therapy can help with depression that is resistant to treatment.

TMS Therapy: What Is It?

Magnetic pulses are used in TMS therapy, a non-invasive procedure, to stimulate the brain’s nerve cells. Targeting particular parts of the brain requires adjusting the intensity and frequency of the magnetic pulses, which are given through a coil that is positioned on the patient’s head.

How Does TMS Therapy Help with Treatment-Resistant Depression?

By focusing on particular brain regions thought to be implicated in depression, TMS therapy assists patients with treatment-resistant depression. TMS therapy frequently targets the prefrontal cortex as a target brain region. 

Studies have indicated that persons with depression frequently have decreased activity in this area, which is in charge of controlling mood.

The prefrontal cortex is stimulated by TMS therapy, which can boost its activity and aid with mood regulation. The thalamus, hippocampus, and other depression-related brain regions like the amygdala are also stimulated by it.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the value of TMS therapy in the management of treatment-resistant depression. In one trial, TMS therapy resulted in a significant reduction in symptoms in 58 percent of patients, compared to 37 percent of patients who got a placebo. 

According to another study, patients who underwent TMS therapy had a significant improvement in their symptoms in 68 percent of cases compared to 28 percent of patients who received a placebo.

TMS Therapy vs. Antidepressant Medication

For patients who have not reacted well to antidepressant medication, TMS therapy is frequently employed as a treatment alternative. Some people do not respond to antidepressants at all, and their effects can take weeks or even months to manifest. 

TMS therapy, unlike antidepressant medication, can start showing positive outcomes in just a few weeks without causing the same negative side effects.

The negative effects of antidepressants might include nausea, weight gain, and erectile problems. On the other hand, TMS therapy seldom causes side effects, and when it does, they are often moderate and transient. Minor pain or a minor headache are the TMS therapy’s most frequent adverse effects.

TMS Therapy vs. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Another alternative for treating depression that has not responded to prior treatments is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). To cause a seizure, ECT entails running an electric current across the brain. Due to its serious adverse effects, which include memory loss, it is typically only used as a last resort.

TMS therapy is a less dangerous and invasive substitute for ECT. Both memory loss and anesthesia are not necessary for it. 

While ECT is typically only used as a short-term treatment, TMS therapy can also be used as a maintenance treatment to avoid relapse.

Duration of TMS Therapy

The patient’s level of depression and the length of TMS therapy vary from person to person. Patients typically undergo TMS treatment for four to six weeks, with five sessions each week. Depending on how they react to the treatment, some patients could need more or less care. 

Some individuals might need maintenance treatment beyond the initial course of treatment to avoid relapsing. The ideal treatment strategy can be chosen in collaboration with your healthcare practitioner based on your unique needs.


TMS therapy is a secure and reliable approach for treating depression in patients who have failed other treatments. Research indicates that genuine treatments are more effective than placebos and target particular regions of the brain that play a role in causing depression. 

TMS therapy is a safer and less invasive alternative to ECT and has fewer adverse effects. TMS therapy could be a suitable solution for treating depression that cannot be alleviated through conventional methods.

Experience top-quality TMS therapy in NJ with Positive Reset Mental Health! Our organization is certified by Medicare and licensed by the State of New Jersey, making us a leading provider of addiction treatment and outpatient services for behavioral health. Contact us today to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is TMS therapy, and how does it differ from conventional treatments for depression?

TMS therapy, a non-invasive procedure, utilizes magnetic pulses to stimulate specific brain regions. By adjusting the intensity and frequency, the therapy targets areas like the prefrontal cortex associated with mood regulation, offering an alternative to traditional treatments for treatment-resistant depression.

How effective is TMS therapy in treating treatment-resistant depression?

Studies show promising results, with a significant symptom reduction in 58-68% of patients undergoing TMS therapy. Compared to a placebo, TMS demonstrated substantial improvements, making it a reliable option for those not responding well to conventional treatments.

Is TMS therapy a suitable alternative to antidepressant medication?

Absolutely. For individuals unresponsive to or experiencing delayed effects with antidepressants, TMS therapy offers a quicker onset of positive outcomes within a few weeks. Unlike antidepressants, TMS rarely causes severe side effects, making it a favorable choice.

How does TMS therapy compare to Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) for treatment-resistant depression?

TMS therapy provides a safer and less invasive alternative to ECT, avoiding serious side effects like memory loss. While ECT is a last resort due to its risks, TMS therapy can be used as both a short-term and maintenance treatment, reducing the chance of relapse.

What are the side effects of TMS therapy compared to antidepressant medication?

Unlike antidepressants, TMS therapy seldom causes side effects. If present, they are usually mild and temporary, such as minor pain or headaches. In contrast, antidepressants may lead to more pronounced side effects like nausea, weight gain, and erectile problems.

How long does a typical TMS therapy treatment last?

The duration varies based on individual needs and the severity of depression. Generally, patients undergo TMS treatment for four to six weeks, with five sessions per week. Some may require additional sessions or maintenance treatment to prevent relapse.

Can TMS therapy be considered a long-term solution for treatment-resistant depression?

Research indicates that TMS therapy is a secure and effective long-term solution. It targets specific brain regions implicated in depression, making it more reliable than placebos. Collaboration with healthcare practitioners can determine the ideal long-term treatment strategy.

Why choose TMS therapy over Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in New Jersey?

TMS therapy offers a safer and less invasive option compared to ECT. With no need for anesthesia or causing memory loss, TMS therapy is a preferred choice for individuals seeking effective and well-tolerated treatment for depression in New Jersey.

Is TMS therapy suitable for all individuals with treatment-resistant depression?

While TMS therapy has shown success in a majority of cases, its suitability may vary. Collaborating with healthcare professionals helps determine the personalized treatment strategy, ensuring the best possible outcome for individuals struggling with depression.

Where can I experience top-quality TMS therapy in New Jersey?

Positive Reset Mental Health in New Jersey is a certified and licensed provider of TMS therapy, offering secure and reliable treatment for depression. With Medicare certification and state licensure, they stand out as a leading choice for mental health and addiction treatment. Contact them today for more information.