Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About TMS?
Here is some information that can help.
TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation, a non-invasive therapeutic treatment for depression and OCD using electromagnetic currents targeted to the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the mood regulation center.
While seated comfortably in a chair, a helmet containing a coil is placed on the patient’s head. Short, repetitive electromagnetic pulses are then delivered to the brain, resulting in a balancing out or resetting of the neurotransmitters that have been inactive, causing the depressive symptoms.
For some patients there are mild discomforts, such as headache, toothache, or scalp irritation, which diminishes after the treatment.
There are distinct criteria for diagnosing depression, listed on the Depression tab on this site. After reviewing those symptoms, if you have concerns about possibly having depression, contact your physician to discuss a treatment plan.
Antidepressants have been found to be effective in symptom relief in only about 50% of patients diagnosed with depression. Because these drugs are systemic—ingested and processed in the body—there are several unpleasant side effects that may accompany these medications, including weight gain, insomnia, irritability, digestive problems, sexual dysfunction, and headache. TMS directly treats the region in the brain associated with mood control, making it an efficient and safe treatment option.
Patients may continue to take their prescribed antidepressants during TMS treatment, unless their side effects from the drugs are inhibitive. After the TMS treatment regimen is complete, patients can meet with their physician or a prescribing provider to decide whether or not to continue taking medication.
Yes. TMS was approved for use by the FDA in 2008 as a safe and non-invasive treatment for depression, and in 2018 for OCD treatment.
TMS is most beneficial for those individuals who have tried antidepressant medications but were unsuccessful in achieving relief from depression symptoms. TMS also benefits those who experienced unpleasant side effects from those medications.
Treatment sessions last anywhere from 20-30 minutes and are prescribed five days a week for 4-6 weeks for optimal results.
Although it is not FDA-cleared here in the U.S., it is common for anxiety to be treated along with depression. dTMS is also FDA-cleared to treat OCD. In Europe, TMS has been CE approved to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, adult autism, chronic pain, smoking cessation, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Both ECT and TMS have been successful in treating depression. However, ECT requires sedation, and the electroshocks can cause memory loss and confusion, whereas TMS uses no sedation and safe, noninvasive magnetic pulses.
Most insurance companies cover TMS treatments. There are criteria that must be met to meet the threshold for insurance coverage, and our staff is happy to check your insurance eligibility for you. Click here for a list of insurance companies currently working with Achieve TMS. If you don’t see your plan listed, please call and ask us about yours today.
Insurance Coverage for TMS
Insurance accepted for treating Depression, specifically TMS therapy, has more than doubled in the last few years, a sign that insurance companies must see cost savings in a treatment method for major depressive disorder (MDD) that works more efficiently than the traditional regimen alone. Patients who continually suffer from the debilitating effects of medication-resistant depression may acquire other health conditions as a result, such as a substance abuse disorder or unhealthy weight gain, to name a few. The fact that more and more insurance companies are providing coverage for TMS indicates a cost benefit to the insurer, thus the broadening of benefits. The following are some of the insurance plans currently working with Achieve TMS East: Aetna, BCBS, BMC, Cigna, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Fallon Health, GIC, Harvard Pilgrim, Husky, Masshealth PCC Plan, Medicare, Neighborhood Health Plan, One Care, Tricare, Tufts Health Plan, and United Health Care. If you don’t see your plan listed, please call and ask us about yours today.