TMS as an Alternative to Therapy

By: Jayson Tripp, MD


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a popular treatment option for those who suffer from depression. Every experience with depression is unique, though, and many patients may find that therapy is not an effective option for them. If you have struggled to find relief through therapy or other treatment options, TMS treatment for depression may be the answer for success. 

What is TMS? 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment option for depression, OCD, PTSD, anxiety and other mental disorders. Your medical provider may recommend TMS treatment for depression if you have tried other methods — such as psychotherapy — without results or remission.  

TMS helps the brain to develop new neural pathways using magnetic pulses. These pulses, which feel like a light tap on the side of your head, target areas of the brain responsible for mood regulation, obsessions, compulsions, and thought processing. With each treatment, your brain develops the ability to fight back against negative effects of mental illness. 

How is TMS an Effective Alternative to Therapy? 

While psychotherapy can often provide comfort and relief for those suffering from mental illness, patients who struggle with serious mental health problems and require advanced treatments may find that therapy proves ineffective. Michael Lambert, a psychologist and professor at Brigham Young University, even states that negative therapy outcomes are both possible and relatively consistent. In clinical trials, 5–10% of adults and between 15–25% of children report a decline in their mental health after participating in talk therapy. 

According to a 2020 article published on Harvard Health’s website from psychiatrist Adam P. Stern, MD, about 50-60% of people who did not see results from treatments such as talk therapy and medication noticed a positive change in their symptoms after finishing TMS treatment. Patients who participate in TMS report a 75% success rate in experiencing significant relief of their symptoms and a 51% success rate in achieving total remission. 

After examining these statistics, it becomes clear that TMS is a highly effective and successful treatment option available for long-term relief from mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, particularly for patients who have tried alternative options such as talk therapy to no avail.    

What are the Benefits of TMS? 

  • The TMS procedure is painless, non-invasive, and closely monitored by a TMS technician. 
  • You can resume normal activity immediately following your appointment. 
  • TMS is safe and side effects are mild, with most patients reporting only a slight headache during and shortly after the procedure. 
  • TMS is approved by the FDA to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and OCD and is covered for those conditions by most insurance plans. TMS can also be successfully used as an off-label treatment for other mental disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, and more. 
  • TMS can be prescribed alone or in conjunction with other treatments such as medication or ketamine treatment. 
  • Following TMS treatment, patients can choose to continue treatment options such as supplemental medications, ketamine treatment, talk therapy, or regularly visiting their psychiatrist, while others are able to discontinue treatment all together. 

If therapy has failed to give you relief in the past, TMS treatment for depression can help you find lasting results. At Serenity Mental Health Centers, we specialize in advanced treatments for patients who struggle with serious mental health problems. Schedule an appointment today  to begin your journey towards relief and remission from mental illness. 

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.