Camelback Recovery is proud to announce that we offer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (otherwise known as TMS) as part of our therapeutic offering. Magnetic stimulation is applied to the cranium (the part of the skull that encloses the brain) in a non-invasive treatment known as TMS therapy.  This stimulation is specifically applied to the part of the brain and nervous system that is involved in mood regulation — and so it is being increasingly used to treat depression. Read on to learn more about our TMS therapy in Phoenix, Arizona, and how it can help you on the path to recovery.

How does TMS therapy work?

At an atomic and chemical level, all cells in the body produce energy — and therefore produce an electromagnetic field. The cells and tissues in the body communicate via these electromagnetic fields.

By applying strong magnetic pulses to the brain, neurological changes occur in the areas of the brain associated with the symptoms of, for example, depression.

Through the application of powerful magnetic stimulation, brain changes occur on all of the above levels, which move the body towards healthy function and healing, thereby reducing the symptoms of ill-health in the patient. This is how TMS works.

What does TMS feel like?

You may feel some tingling on the scalp due to the magnetic stimulation. The electromagnetic pulses are applied through a coil device which is placed towards the front of your head. You will be seated in a reclining chair and offered earplugs to wear during the session.

At the start of the session a qualified technician will need to determine the intensity of the stimulation required, as well as where specifically to place the coil.  Once this has been ascertained, the device will deliver rapid pulses of the magnetic field in 10 second intervals. This may feel like a tapping on your forehead and you may hear a clicking noise which is simply indicating that the electromagnetic pulses are being transmitted.

You may experience a mild headache after the session. TMS does not affect your cognition, which means that you will be able to resume your usual activities of daily living straight after your session.


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How long does TMS treatment last?

In order to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment, a weekly questionnaire will be conducted during one of the sessions. The TMS technician will ask you questions relating to your symptoms of depression, as well as any physical symptoms.

These answers will be recorded and used in a review process in order to ascertain if there is any improvement each week. Should there be no improvement after 3-4 weeks, it may be necessary to adjust aspects of the treatment, such as length of sessions, frequency of sessions or position of the coil. 

You will typically receive daily sessions, 5 days a week (Monday to Friday), for 20-50 minutes, for several weeks at our TMS therapy center in Phoenix, AZ. It may take 3-4 weeks before you start to experience the benefit of the therapy.

Who is it not for?

TMS is not recommended for everyone. If you have any of the following then it is recommended that you find an alternative treatment:

  • Epilepsy or a history of seizures
  • Serious neurological disorders
  • Head injury

What are the side effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

One of the main benefits of TMS therapy, other than its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of depression, is that it doesn’t have any significant side effects. The most common side effect of TMS is a headache during or after the session.

What are the advantages?

TMS treatments are pain-free, and side effects are rare. It is non-invasive, and it does not require any form of sedation or anesthesia.

There is no need to discontinue your medications while receiving TMS therapy and it can also be used in conjunction with other therapies.

Patients who have undergone a course of TMS therapy report positive effects for a few months after the cycle of sessions has been completed. In some cases these positive effects are reported over one year later.

TMS and Mental Health

TMS therapy was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2008 for the treatment of unipolar depression in patients who had not responded to psychotherapy or medication.

TMS has been found to be effective in up to 30% of patients who have not responded to first line treatments. About 50-60% of patients do not respond to first line treatment for unipolar depression — these first line treatments refer to psychotherapy and antidepressant medication. TMS has also been found to be effective in maintenance treatment for people with unipolar depression.

Other disorders for which TMS may be helpful include bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, smoking cessation, and pediatric depression. There is further research to suggest that TMS may also be effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and post traumatic stress disorder PTSD. Large clinical trials are currently underway in order to establish the effectiveness of TMS in these and other conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

To give you a better understanding of transcranial magnetic stimulation, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.

Individual sessions usually last between 20 to 50 minutes, depending on what you and your mental health provider have decided. Sessions may be regularly scheduled for several weeks or months to see the most benefit.

Although results aren’t permanent, TMS treatment for depression benefits can last for a year or more once the initial treatment is completed. This is significantly longer than alternative therapy options, such as daily medications.

Most people receiving TMS treatment have already used the other mental health therapies available to them. However, your doctor or mental health professional may recommend continuing with certain management options to create lasting results. For example, you may be told to continue with talk therapy treatment sessions to deal with any ongoing stress.

Many insurance providers cover TMS sessions and other forms of mental health treatment. However, whether this specific treatment is covered (and what you’ll pay out-of-pocket) varies from one insurance company to the next.

Use our online form today to determine whether your insurance covers TMS or other mental health treatment options. Simply fill out the information and one of our professionals will get back to you with details on your provider’s coverage.

Before having your first session, you’ll undergo a physical exam and psychiatric evaluation to ensure you’re a good candidate for this type of therapy. Be honest with your health provider and, most importantly, let them know if:

  • You are pregnant, are nursing or may become pregnant in the near future
  • You have any implanted devices, particularly metal implants
  • You’re currently taking any medications
  • You have seizures or a family history of seizures
  • You’re addicted to any substance, including alcohol
  • You’ve ever had a brain injury resulting from physical trauma or illness
  • You have frequent headaches (including migraines)
  • You’ve had TMS treatment before this
  • You have a history of mental health disorders
  • You have any other medical conditions

Since TMS is noninvasive, most people can return to normal activities after a session. For example, patients are typically fine to drive themselves home or even return to work right after.

However, some people may have a few lingering side effects, such as lightheadedness, that makes driving or working unsafe. These side effects should disappear within a few hours of the session’s end. If you worry about lasting side effects or have a history of lightheadedness following your treatment sessions, you should bring a support person.

If it’s your first treatment and you have side effects but no support person, tell the medical provider. They’ll allow you to rest somewhere until your side effects subside and it’s safe for you to drive home.

No. TMS isn’t exclusively for depression, and it can be helpful to alleviate symptoms of certain other mental health disorders, too. This makes it a particularly beneficial treatment option for those with two or more conditions they’re trying to treat.

Besides depression, TMS therapy may also be used to manage mental health conditions such as:

Besides treating mental health disorders, TMS is also sometimes used for neurological or physical conditions. Examples include chronic pain, multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and stroke rehabilitation.

TMS and Camelback

If you are considering TMS therapy as part of your treatment plan, you are welcome to contact us to set up an appointment with one of our trained professionals. Camelback Recovery would like to provide you with the best possible treatment on your journey to healing and well-being.

Learn More About TMS Therapy at Camelback Recovery Today

If you or a loved one is battling with depression that hasn’t responded to other treatment options, transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment for depression may be the key to overcoming your symptoms. Contact us today at Camelback Recovery to learn more about this brain stimulation therapy and how it can help you manage your depression so you can live life to the fullest. Our trained specialists at our Phoenix treatment center are ready to guide you.