Sometimes, antidepressants just aren’t the right solution to the problem of living with a mental health condition. Antidepressants might not relieve your symptoms, or they could cause intolerable side effects. Enter TMS & Brain Health. We offer TMS therapy in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, CA. “TMS” stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. We are the first practice in Southern California to specialize in Express TMS or intermittent theta-burst TMS. Call TMS & Brain Health or request a consultation online today to learn about your treatment options.
TMS Therapy in Los Angeles, CA
What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
TMS therapy is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic pulses—similar to those of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine—to awaken parts of the brain that are underactive in people who suffer from depression. Additionally, TMS is an FDA-approved alternative treatment for adult ADHD, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. TMS therapy is a pharmaceutical-free treatment.
How Does TMS Work?
Clinical studies that use brain imaging software show reduced activity in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) region of the brains of people who have depression, compared with people who don’t. The electromagnetic pulse created by the TMS equipment stimulates the neurotransmitters and receptors in this region of the brain.
In the past, a single TMS session took up to 37.5 minutes. With 5 weekly sessions, you’d be spending over 3 hours a week in treatment—not including parking. We specialize in intermittent theta-burst stimulation, or “Express TMS.” This uses a patterned frequency that mimics the natural rhythms of the brain that occur during neuroplasticity (aka learning). In Express TMS, your brain learns 10 times faster than with conventional TMS, and your sessions last only 3 minutes.
What Should I Expect During TMS Therapy?
In the initial session, our team performs initial measurements and calibrations to find the DLPFC. Once we’ve located the spot, we will check to see at what level
your neurons will release neurotransmitters by placing the TMS device over a part of the brain that controls the thumb. We will examine the lowest possible level that moves the thumb, and set the full treatment dose to 120% of that level. To ensure comfort, we slowly titrate you up to the full stimulation dose over the course of the first week.
During TMS therapy, you sit in a comfortable chair with the TMS equipment positioned at a specific point on your head to target the DLPFC. Most patients report a light tapping sensation on their forehead. Express TMS therapy isn’t painful and is complete in 3 minutes and 9 seconds. We are with you during every single treatment session and are always available should you have any questions or concerns.
You have an initial consultation to ensure that TMS is right for you, or you can be referred by a psychiatrist. We will create a treatment plan based on your specific needs, which may change on a weekly basis as symptoms improve. Most people come in for treatment 5 days per week for 4 to 6 weeks, followed by an optional 6-session taper.
TMS doesn’t cause any disruptive side effects. Some patients have temporary, mild headaches after their sessions. However, you can drive yourself to and from your appointments and won’t need to take any time off from school or work. Other patients may experience mild facial movement during the stimulation, which ceases immediately once the treatment is over. The risk of seizure is less than 0.1%, which is less than traditional antidepressant medication.
TMS and Express TMS are both extremely effective treatments for depression. Some people notice significant improvements in mood within the first week. Others tend to notice that their symptoms slowly lessen as they continue with the TMS course.
Am I a Good Candidate for TMS?
TMS & Brain Health conducts thorough evaluations to determine if TMS therapy is right for you. In most cases, you need to be in good health, aside from your mental health condition. There are some situations in which TMS therapy isn’t appropriate, including if you have:
- Metal in or around your head (braces and dental fillings are safe)
- Implanted cardioverter defibrillators
- Vagus nerve stimulators
If TMS isn’t right for you, TMS & Brain Health also offers ketamine treatment in Los Angeles in and Santa Monica, including infusions and intranasal sprays, as another alternative therapy for depression and other mental health conditions.
Pros and Cons of TMS Therapy
Before beginning treatment, people may want to weigh the pros and cons of TMS therapy. The best parts about TMS are that it is safe, medication-free, has a high success rate, and produces results that last long after the treatment is over. Additionally, TMS can be covered up to 100% by most major insurers. The negative aspects of TMS are that it can cause mild headaches in some people, and that patients must come into the office every day. We try to mitigate this by offering Express TMS, which takes just 3 minutes but still occurs every day.
How to Get Started with TMS Therapy in Los Angeles
If you think transcranial magnetic stimulation might be for you, and you want to learn more, there are several steps you can take:
Step 1: Give us a call or request an appointment online. If you want to use your insurance, go ahead and fill out the TMS Pre-Approval form.
Step 2: We will schedule you for an evaluation with our clinical team.
Step 3: If you choose to go through your insurance, we will submit all of the information to your insurance and get you approved before you begin treatment.
Step 4: Begin treatment!
Call TMS & Brain Health today or request an appointment online to learn more about how TMS therapy in Santa Monica, CA, can improve your mental health.