Does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Really Work?

Does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Really Work?

What is TMS Therapy?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a procedure approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). TMS stimulates nerve cells in the brain, which improve neurological or mental health disorders by using magnets that generate a powerful magnetic field similar to that of a MRI machine.

During treatment sessions, repetitive magnetic pulses are delivered to the patient’s scalp towards the front of the head. The electromagnets send a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the areas of the brain that control mood and depression. This triggers a chemical reaction that, over time, helps the patient’s symptoms subside.

What Are The Benefits?

TMS therapy has many benefits. The most helpful is that it offers an alternative to antidepressant medications and is a non-invasive treatment. Additionally, since it is an outpatient procedure, TMS does not require the use of anesthesia, and individuals can continue normal activities immediately after treatment.

An article by the New York Times titled “A New Approach to Depression” states that one of the advantages of TMS treatment is that “unlike medication, it appears to have few side effects.”

With TMS, patients can avoid side unpleasant side effects such as gastrointestinal upset, dry mouth, sexual dysfunction, or weight gain, often associated with medication therapies.

TMS treatment is especially beneficial to patients who cannot get relief with antidepressants or other prescription drugs and who otherwise have no other treatment option.

TMS treats major depression and other mental health disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and similar mental health conditions.

Does It Really Work?

While the data was initially inconsistent, a later large clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2010 showed positive results. According to NIMH National Institute of Mental Health, “TMS sessions over several weeks are helpful for at least half the people who complete a full series.”


An individual interviewed by the well-known magazine Men’s Health shared his experience with TMS, saying, “After these treatments, I feel like I’m more connected with myself and the world around me, and I can truly say that I’m happy with myself.”

As part of their investigative story “Depression Sufferers Who Can’t Take Medication Can Use New Technology That Improves Symptoms,” ABC News reported that patients who successfully complete the TMS treatment course have a 70% chance that their depression will be gone for good.

OCD, PTSD, ADHD, and Anxiety Disorders

The FDA has approved TMS therapy for more than just treating depression. The FDA has now approved TMS for the treatment of a wide range of mental health disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and general anxiety.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in learning more about TMS therapy, call or contact our office to schedule a consultation. We offer both in-person and telehealth services.

We offer a wide range of psychology and psychiatry services at the Brain Wellness Institute at our treatment center. Under psychology, we offer therapy, neuropsychological testing, ADHD, and autism evaluations, and more. Under psychiatry, we offer medication management in addition to TMS treatments for patients suffering from depressive disorders or OCD.

Our office is located at 940 South Coast Drive, Suite 225, in Costa Mesa, California.