Restoring your health when you have treatment-resistant depression (TRD) can seem to move at a snail’s pace as you and your doctors try to figure out medications and therapies to address your symptoms.
The good news is that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has revolutionized the approach to treatment-resistant depression and has liberated many from the shackles of this debilitating mental health disorder — and a newer, faster version is now available.
Dr. Karen Giles at Breakthru Psychiatric Solutions specializes in this innovative, non-invasive, drug-free treatment and offers TMS and accelerated TMS to our patients throughout Sandy Springs, Georgia. Here’s what you need to know about this groundbreaking technology.
People with a major depressive disorder who’ve had no luck with traditional treatments have found relief with FDA-approved TMS.
The treatment is simple and painless. Dr. Giles places a device containing an electromagnetic coil over your head as it delivers rapid pulses of energy that penetrate your skull. These electromagnetic pulses stimulate specific parts of your brain where you have low activity, which leads to depression.
TMS triggers new brain activity and restores brain activity that positively affects your mood. With single, daily sessions over six weeks and tapered sessions over an additional three weeks, your brain learns to regulate your mood, significantly improving your depressive symptoms.
In 2022, accelerated TMS started being offered as a faster way to overcome TRD.
Accelerated TMS differs from standard TMS primarily in the number of daily treatments you receive. Instead of one daily treatment, five times weekly for six weeks and six additional treatments tapered over 3 final weeks in a standard TMS treatment, accelerated TMS protocol calls for up to five daily treatments over two weeks.
A 2018 study shows this faster method produces results and remission rates similar to those in the standard TMS protocol. Another study found that accelerated TMS helped 90% of patients to achieve remission and cessation of suicidal thoughts.
Accelerated and standard TMS offers many of the same benefits, such as few side effects (mild headaches at the beginning of the treatment course are normal) and effective relief of depression symptoms. However, accelerated TMS typically offers patients noticeable results in about 4 days rather than 4 weeks with standard TMS.
The key differences are the amount of time in-office and insurance coverage:
To see a clear comparison between accelerated and standard TMS, download our custom comparison chart here.
At Breakthru, accelerated TMS employs a slightly different technology called theta-burst stimulation, making it possible to achieve equal or better results and delivering TMS treatments in a shorter time. Technically speaking, theta burst stimulation delivers triplet blasts of 50 Hz energy five times per second, and the bursts are intermittent — two seconds on and five seconds off. Standard TMS uses 10 Hz electromagnetic pulses.
Find out if you’re a good candidate for standard or accelerated TMS by calling Breakthru Psychiatric Solutions or requesting an appointment using our online form.