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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!