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Depression Awareness Month: What is transcranial magnetic stimulation?

Discover how this treatment that could offer relief for medication-resistant depression.

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Nearly 18% of US adults live with depression, but identifying the right treatment can make a big difference.

Photo provided by Active Path


What can you do about chronic depression when lifestyle changes, medication, and therapy aren’t helping? For some, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be life-changing. This innovative treatment uses pulses of magnetic energy to stimulate the brain’s prefrontal cortex (the mood regulation area) and alleviate symptoms of depression.

For Depression Awareness Month, we’ve brought in the experts from Active Path Mental Health to debunk some myths associated with the treatment.

Fact or Fiction: TMS is the same thing as electroshock therapy.

This is fiction. TMS is entirely safe, FDA-cleared, and has very few side effects. (By contrast, electroshock therapy induces generalized seizures in the body, and requires sedation.)

Sessions are just 20 minutes, and patients can drive themselves home afterward. The biggest potential side effect, according to Active Path Mental Health? A mild headache.

Fact or Fiction: TMS is covered by insurance.

This is fact. TMS is covered by most commercial insurance carriers, plus the Oregon Health Plan, the Veteran’s Administration’s Tri-Care/Tri-West + Medicare.

Fact or Fiction: TMS doesn’t work.

This is fiction. Most patients experience improvement by the fourth week of treatment, but some may see a change before that.

Request a free consultation with Active Path.

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