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How does transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS, or rTMS) work in treating depression?

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This procedure sends bursts of energy from electromagnets to specific areas of the brain. It can be done in a doctor’s office. Your doctor places a "paddle" against your scalp. The specific area depends on what part of the brain your doctor is targeting. When switched on, the wire coil creates a magnetic field that can painlessly penetrate your brain. This magnetic field excites the targeted brain areas. Sessions often last about 30 minutes. You might be treated 5 days a week for 4 to 6 weeks.

SOURCES: American Psychiatric Association, , 2000. Avery, D.H., "A Controlled Study of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Medication-Resistant Major Depression," , August 31, 2005. Cadieux, R.J. , December 1998; vol. 58: pp. 2059-62. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance web site, "Finding Peace of Mind: Treatment Strategies for Depression and Bipolar Disorder" and "New Technologies in the Treatment of Mood Disorders." Fochtmann, L.J. and Gelenberg, A.J. , Winter, 2005; vol 3: pp 34-42. Holtzheimer, P.E. et al., "Focal Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Vagus-Nerve Stimulation, and Deep-Brain Stimulation," , February 2005; vol 12: pp 57-64. Keller, M.B., , 2005; vol. 66 (supp. 8): pp 5-12. Mayberg, H.S. et al., "Deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression," , March 3, 2005; vol 45: pp 651-660. Stanford, A.D."Magnetic Seizure Therapy and Other Convulsive Therapies," , October 2005; vol 12: pp 44-50. Stimmel, G., "Options for Treatment-resistant Depression," , July 2002; vol 19.









Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major DepressionBiological PsychiatryAmerican Family PhysicianFocusPrimary PsychiatryJournal of Clinical PsychiatryNeuronPrimary PsychiatryPsychiatric Times

WebMD: "Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) for Depression."

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on May 11, 2018

SOURCES: American Psychiatric Association, , 2000. Avery, D.H., "A Controlled Study of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Medication-Resistant Major Depression," , August 31, 2005. Cadieux, R.J. , December 1998; vol. 58: pp. 2059-62. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance web site, "Finding Peace of Mind: Treatment Strategies for Depression and Bipolar Disorder" and "New Technologies in the Treatment of Mood Disorders." Fochtmann, L.J. and Gelenberg, A.J. , Winter, 2005; vol 3: pp 34-42. Holtzheimer, P.E. et al., "Focal Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Vagus-Nerve Stimulation, and Deep-Brain Stimulation," , February 2005; vol 12: pp 57-64. Keller, M.B., , 2005; vol. 66 (supp. 8): pp 5-12. Mayberg, H.S. et al., "Deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression," , March 3, 2005; vol 45: pp 651-660. Stanford, A.D."Magnetic Seizure Therapy and Other Convulsive Therapies," , October 2005; vol 12: pp 44-50. Stimmel, G., "Options for Treatment-resistant Depression," , July 2002; vol 19.









Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major DepressionBiological PsychiatryAmerican Family PhysicianFocusPrimary PsychiatryJournal of Clinical PsychiatryNeuronPrimary PsychiatryPsychiatric Times

WebMD: "Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) for Depression."

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on May 11, 2018

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What are side effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS, or rTMS) for depression?

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