Mental wellness has become a major public health concern in the US and across the globe. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 US adults has a mental illness at any given time. And while we have made bold strides in terms of mental health treatments over the past few decades, these treatments are sparingly effective at best.
This means there is a dire need for more effective, long-term treatments for mental illness. This treatment gap has led to the development of alternative treatment options like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In recent years, a more advanced version called accelerated TMS has emerged. In this blog, we’ll explore accelerated TMS and how it’s changing the landscape of mental health treatment.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that uses magnetic pulses to activate targeted areas of the brain. TMS has been proven effective in treating depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental illnesses.
During a TMS session, a magnetic coil is placed over the scalp, and a magnetic pulse is generated that passes through the skull and into the brain. This magnetic field stimulates the nerve cells in the brain, causing them to become more active.
The exact mechanism of how TMS works is still not fully understood, but it is believed to work in part by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. These neurotransmitters are known to play a crucial role in regulating mood and emotions.
TMS may also activate neural connectivity between different regions of the brain, enhancing communication between these regions and improving overall brain function. This can lead to further improvements in mood and emotional processing, as well as pain perception.
While traditional TMS protocols have proven to have a high efficacy rate, patients have to commit to lengthy treatment periods of 6 to 8 weeks.
Accelerated TMS protocols, on the other hand, are more advanced and condense the treatment into a shorter time frame. During this specialized TMS therapy, patients receive multiple TMS sessions per day over the course of a few days or a week. This condensed treatment period is not only convenient but also allows patients to experience more rapid symptom relief. And the efficacy of accelerated TMS is even higher than for the standard, 8 week course.
The Benefits of Accelerated TMS
Some of the key benefits of accelerated TMS include:
Rapid relief: Accelerated TMS offers a faster response time compared to traditional TMS, as patients can experience symptom relief in as little as a few days or a week.
Convenience: The shorter treatment period makes accelerated TMS more accessible for those who cannot commit to a lengthy treatment schedule.
Long-lasting results: Studies have found that accelerated TMS offers long-term benefits, with many patients experiencing sustained improvements in their mood and emotional functioning long after completing treatment.
Are There Potential Side Effects?
Like any medical treatment, accelerated TMS carries some potential side effects. However, these tend to be relatively mild and short-lived. Some common side effects include:
- Scalp discomfort
- Temporary facial muscle twitching
Who Is a Good Candidate for Accelerated TMS?
Accelerated TMS may be a suitable treatment option for individuals who:
- Have not responded well to traditional therapies, such as medication and psychotherapy.
- Cannot tolerate the side effects of antidepressant medications.
- Are seeking a non-invasive and low-risk treatment option for depression.
- Require a more rapid relief from depressive symptoms.
Accelerated TMS is an exciting new treatment option that has the potential to revolutionize mental health treatment. By providing rapid symptom relief, increasing the efficacy, and reducing the total duration of treatment, accelerated TMS may offer a viable alternative to traditional therapies for those seeking an effective and convenient alternative to traditional treatments.