Removing the mystery and anxiety around TMS
What exactly is TMS like for a patient? They consist of 20 minute long sessions. The patient does not need anesthesia as they would in the case of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and they can drive to treatments and drive afterwards too. A blue cap is placed on the patient which helps ensure accuracy and consistency of treatment targeting each and every time. The coil is then placed after the cap is. Generally patients describe the sensation like that of a woodpecker. In the first week, there may be some headache or scalp discomfort but patients habituate quite quickly and discomfort is minimal to none by second week of treatment. There is a 2 second series of what a patient experiences as tapping over the head (also called a train) followed by a 20 second break. This pattern repeats itself over the entire session of approximately 20 minutes. In the first four weeks of treatment, the patient has 1 session a day, 5 days a week. If the patient is free of their depression by the end of that four weeks, frequency decreases to 2 sessions a week for the next 8 weeks to maintain the therapeutic benefits. If they are not having a full response yet, treatments continue at 5 days a week for the remainder of the treatment course for a total of 36 sessions.