How TMS Therapy Is an Alternative to Antidepressants

Feb 21, 2023 | TMS Therapy

man in need of an antidepressant alternative sitting on a brown, leather couch in a dark room

Have you experienced unpleasant side effects or failed to see results from taking antidepressants? You’re not alone.

Although antidepressant use has been on the rise for decades, these medications are not always as effective or helpful as many people believe. Data from a recent large-scale study reveals that antidepressants don’t always work for everyone, but there are alternatives to antidepressants.

These medications are the most frequently prescribed drug for people with mental disorders, but they aren’t the only option. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) offers a drug-free, noninvasive alternative to prescription antidepressants. This treatment is safe and FDA-approved for treating depression that has failed to respond to at least one antidepressant.

Manuel Astruc, M.D., & Associates is the only provider of TMS in Saratoga County. Dr. Astruc has more than 50,000 hours of experience helping people just like you. If you’re looking for an alternative to antidepressants that is safe and effective, TMS may be a good fit for you.

The Downsides of Antidepressants

Research suggests that antidepressants can be effective, but they don’t work as well as many people wish they would. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are among the most common antidepressants prescribed.

Common Side Effects of Antidepressants

Because of the different drug types, many people try multiple medications before potentially finding relief. Even then, there is a risk of significant side effects. Some of the most common include:

  • sleepy/sedation/fatigue
  • sexual side effects
  • weight gain
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • increased anxiety
  • worsening depression
  • insomnia
  • dry mouth
  • constipation

TMS Works Differently

TMS is a new alternative to traditional treatments that targets key areas of the brain during noninvasive treatment sessions. It is another modality that is available to help treat depression and provide patients with the relief they need to get back to feeling like themselves.

It is FDA-approved for use in treating treatment-resistant depression, which is defined as failing to improve on one antidepressant. During treatment, we place a strong magnet near the head and deliver magnetic pulses that target key areas of the brain. These pulses provide stimulation within the brain to relieve symptoms without medication or side effects.

Who Is TMS For?

If you’re looking for a safe, antidepressant alternative, TMS may be a good option for you. Many insurance companies provide coverage for TMS therapy if you have already tried two or three medications without success. It could also be an option for you if improvements have not been made with psychotherapy.

You might benefit from TMS if you:

  • Haven’t found relief from your depression, despite trying multiple medications.
  • Have experienced unwanted side effects from antidepressants, such as sexual problems, sleepiness, or weight gain.
  • Experience symptoms of depression but have zero desire to try medication.

TMS Therapy Results and Success Rate

The TMS success rate is impressive. For many people who have failed to respond to multiple antidepressants the chances the next antidepressant they try will work can be as low as 5%. But patients who fail to respond to medications and try TMS typically get a 50% to 70% response rate.

Benefits of TMS Therapy

TMS therapy results are impressive for many of the patients treated at Manual Astruc, M.D.& Associates. Our practice strives to help you find relief from your symptoms, so you can return to feeling energized, creative, and confident. Unlike other alternatives to antidepressants, TMS is noninvasive and doesn’t require any electrodes or anesthesia.

In addition to the TMS therapy success rate, other benefits include:

TMS Is Noninvasive and Effective

It may sound intimidating, but treatment is simple and painless — and typically only takes about 30 minutes. You will wear a special, helmet-like device equipped with magnetic coils that deliver the magnetic pulses in short bursts followed by brief rest periods. The treatment doesn’t affect your senses, so there are no restrictions following a session. Afterward, you can go about your normal daily activities.

Little to No Side Effects

Unlike antidepressants, which can cause ongoing side effects, TMS typically has minimal side effects. Patients sometimes feel some discomfort or light muscle spasms during treatment, but the effects go away after each treatment session and lessen over time.

No Chemical Dependency

Another effect of antidepressants that is not often discussed is that many patients have a difficult time stopping the medications. People typically have to be weaned off slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms. TMS is a chemical-free antidepressant alternative.

You Can Combine TMS with Other Treatments

TMS treatments can enhance the effects of other treatment modalities. For example, while TMS treatment helps treat depression by altering the behavior of the neurons in the brain, therapy can also provide you with new coping mechanisms or strategies to avoid triggers.

We Have a New Way to Feel Better

You don’t have to continue suffering. If you’re frustrated that medication isn’t providing the relief you need or you want to avoid the negative side effects, we can help. The office of Manuel Astruc, M.D., is the only TMS provider in Saratoga County.

Start your journey to happiness. Call our office today at 518-241-5447 to find out if TMS is right for you.