Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation refers to a process that uses magnetic fields to stimulate brain tissues for mood improvements in patients suffering from depression. It was developed in 1985 and has been observed as a remedy for depression, psychosis, and other mental disorders. This method is commonly deployed if other depression treatment options such as medications fail to work. There is a mixed observation from the use of this process with some showing that it is more effective than placebos medication in the treatment of major depression. The FDA approved the use of TMS in October 2008 for use in patients whose symptoms failed to improve after using at least one antidepressant.
TMS works through a specifically designed electromagnetic coil which is held on forehead near the region of the brain thought to be responsible for moods. Short electromagnetic impulses are sent through the coil which in turn causes electric currents that stimulate nerve cells in the targeted brain region. These electrical pulses do not reach beyond 2 inches into the brain and therefore physicians can determine which part of the brain will be stimulated and which will not.
It is thought that by focusing on specific parts of the brain, this process will greatly reduce side effects mostly found in Electroconvulsive therapy. However, the best point for its administration is still controversial. A normal process usually lasts for 30 to 60 minutes. Researches are still underway to establish if TMS works best if administered alone or in combination with prescription drugs.
In a study to establish the durability and long-term effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), it was observed that the process has non-invasive effects. The process takes a maximum of one hour throughout which the patients are awake and at the comfort. There are no limitations from work or other activities before and after this process is carried out. Since there are no medications used, there are no cognitive effects after this process has been administered.