Scheduled for TMS? Here's What to Expect

Scheduled for TMS? Here's What to Expect

Living with mental health problems is far from easy. In your struggle with mental health conditions like major depressive disorder, therapeutic tools are available to help.

Your provider at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates, LLC, considers all your options when it comes to mental health care. Under the leadership of Dr. Ronald P. Winfield, our team may recommend you explore psychotherapy, medication management, and other strategies for reducing your symptoms and improving your mental health.

Among the therapies that we offer at our North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, offices, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy offers a noninvasive and nonpharmacological treatment option for patients with major depressive disorder. Here’s what you can expect from TMS treatment at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates.

Why you might need TMS

It can be a challenge to fully treat mental health conditions like  major depressive disorder. Some interventions may improve your quality of life somewhat, but not be sufficient to give you full symptom relief. You might also have other reasons for avoiding treatment paths like medication management, including concerns about side effects.

TMS directly addresses your brain and can be used as an alternative to medication management, or in combination with other strategies to manage your mental health. TMS treatment is safe, and has been approved by the United States FDA for  major depressive disorder since 2008. Off-label use of this promising technology is still under exploration.

What to expect during your TMS session

TMS treatment takes place on an outpatient basis. You don’t need any sedation or anesthesia for this procedure. Before starting your treatment, we ask you to sign a TMS consent form. Dr. Winfield ensures that you understand what to expect, and checks if you have any questions about your treatment.

Your provider at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates uses the state-of-the-art CloudTMS handheld treatment device for your procedure. While you recline in comfort in a chair beside the TMS machine, Dr. Winfield positions the stimulating coil on top of your head, measuring carefully to ensure that everything is in the right place.

Then, the TMS device activates your brain by sending magnetic pulses through your skull. Each pulse is brief, and the pulses repeat many times during your treatment session, which lasts for about half an hour. The TMS machine can make a lot of noise, so we offer earplugs in addition to your personal white cap for use during treatment.

The pulses used in TMS treatment aren’t as strong as those used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing. 

However, some patients still report noticing some discomfort during treatment, concentrated in the places where the stimulating coils touch the scalp. This may fade after your first few treatment sessions. Or, your provider can adjust the strength of the pulses used for your treatment.

Your results with TMS

TMS treatment interacts directly with the parts of your brain where your mood is regulated. Studies show that TMS can provide lasting relief from symptoms of depression. With TMS, you can transform the area of your brain where depression roots, releasing new waves of neurotransmitters to take you into a brighter future.

The transformation of TMS treatment takes some time to work. You’ll need a series of spaced-apart TMS treatments to experience the full benefits of this approach to mental health. We recommend 36 sessions over the course of 12 weeks, with a staggered schedule that frontloads your treatment time and then gradually tapers back.

Don’t let the blues hang around your life forever. Take control of your brain with TMS treatment. Contact Dr. Winfield and the team at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates to find out if you could be a good candidate for this therapy option.

Schedule your initial TMS consultation appointment online or over the phone today.

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