Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation known as rTMS is a painless, effective, and non-invasive procedure known to improve symptoms of depression and other disorders for many sufferers. It is an effective treatment used to treat depression and can be offered when patients have not responded to antidepressant medication, prefer to try an alternative to medication, or cannot tolerate antidepressant medications due to side effects.
While receiving stimulation the person is fully awake and is usually well tolerated with minimal side effects. There is no need for any anaesthetic or sedation and there are no adverse effects on memory and thinking ability. rTMS is now available on the MBS for outpatients and is fully covered by Medicare.
Repetitive TMS (rTMS) is a mild form of brain stimulation. Magnetic fields, generated by a simple coil placed on the head, are used to stimulate a small area on the surface of the brain. In rTMS, pulses are given repeatedly for therapeutic effect.
A session of rTMS typically takes 10-30 minutes and is given on consecutive weekdays on an outpatient basis. While receiving stimulation, the patient is fully awake. rTMS is usually well tolerated with minimal side effects. There is no need for any anaesthetic or sedation and there are no adverse effects on memory and thinking ability.
rTMS is used to treat depression and can be offered if you have not responded to antidepressant medication, if you prefer to try an alternative to medication, or cannot tolerate antidepressant medications due to side effects.
It is important that a thorough psychiatric evaluation is undertaken for each patient to determine if TMS is a suitable treatment. rTMS may also be trialed to treat auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms.
Common side effects include headache, scalp discomfort and facial muscle twitching. These side effects are mild and generally resolve soon after a treatment session. Most patients find side effects reduce in intensity and frequency as the course of TMS progresses.
A course of 20 to 30 sessions given over consecutive weekdays is recommended for therapeutic results and may later be weaned to a maintenance schedule (e.g. weekly) which can be continued for as long as clinically required. Some patients may notice changes after several days.
It is important to first discuss with your regular treating doctor regarding your history, the risks and benefits of treatment, practicalities (cost, time, travel) and whether it is recommended that rTMS is a suitable treatment for you currently.
A thorough psychiatric assessment and physical examination need to be done before treatment is commenced. After assessment, our staff can discuss the individual factors that may affect the likelihood of benefit for you.
If you do respond to rTMS, it may take days to weeks to have a good response to treatment.
ECT procedure also known as Electroconvulsive therapy is usually undergone under general anesthesia with small electric current passed through the brain which triggers controlled brief seizures. This form of therapy has for a effect a change in the brain chemistry which can quickly reverse the symptoms of some mental health conditions.
This type of therapy is often used when other forms of therapies have revealed to be unsuccessful but might not be successful either.