FAQ TMS Treatment

Here are some questions that we are regularly asked about depression and TMS treatment. Feel free to contact us if you require more information.

I think that I am depressed and don’t want to take medication. Should I consider TMS for my depression?

We strongly recommend you visit your GP or mental health practitioner (psychiatrist/psychologist/counsellor) and discuss your depression with a professional.  It is important you receive a formal diagnosis so you know what treatment is right for you.  TMS treatment should be considered in consultation with your treating doctor, after other avenues have already been explored.

What conditions does TMS treat?

At Sydney TMS we are constantly monitoring TMS protocols both in Australia and Internationally to offer the most up to date treatments available. In addition, our clinics regularly share knowledge and information with other TMS providers around Australia through the Royal College of Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists network.

While TMS technology has been applied and researched for many conditions including psychiatric conditions, addictions, neurological conditions and others, our clinic focuses only on treating those disorders  where an well established treatment protocol has been developed. Typically this means, that these protocols have been rigorously studied and are endorsed by a professional body or government agency internationally.

Currently we offer several treatment protocols including;

  • rTMS for Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Illness/ Bipolar Depression
  • Theta Burst (iTBS) for Treatment resistant Major Depressive Illness/ Bipolar Depression
  • rTMS for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • rTMS for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Is TMS safe?

TMS treatment has been approved for use in Australia by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Association) since 2007. TMS treatment is endorsed by the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. TMS is considered to be a safe treatment option. Click on the link to read more about the side effects associated with TMS.

How can TMS help with my depression?

TMS treatment works using magnetic fields through a coil that focuses on a specific part of the brain that regulates mood.  The coil produces tiny pulses which activates these brain cells that in turn releases neurotransmitters which play an important role in balancing mood. Repeated stimulation to this part of the brain has been shown to have long lasting affects improving depression. Please click on the link to find out more about how TMS works.

Is TMS treatment suitable for me?

There is a fairly specific checklist that we use to determine if you are suitable for TMS treatment.  We are happy to talk to you about your specific situation or questions you may have. In the mean time please look at the checklist we use by clicking on the link  Click here

How long does TMS treatment take?

Each session generally takes approximately 30 minutes.  You are asked to come to the clinic for 3 to 5 treatments each week for a course of 30 treatments. Each person experiences TMS differently and some clients will take longer to notice a difference in their mood.

What does it feel like to have TMS treatment?

You are fully awake and aware during the entire treatment.  You can watch television, flick through a magazine, listen to music or talk to the TMS technician. A cap will be created for you to wear on your scalp that identifies the specific area where the technician will focus the magnetic coil.  The machine can be noisy for some as it makes a tapping sound which is repetitive, so earplugs will be available for you to wear if you wish.  After the treatment you may experience a mild headache and paracetamol is recommended to treat the symptoms.

When should I notice a difference?

When you have received approximately 20-25 TMS treatment treatments you will hopefully see an improvement in your depression.  Some people take longer to notice a difference.  Your progress will be monitored during the course of the treatment.

Does the treatment require sedation or anaesthesia?

TMS does not require any sedation or anaesthesia and you are awake and fully aware during each session. There are many benefits associated with TMS therapy. To find out more about the benefits click here.

What do I do if I feel worse during the treatment session?

If at any time during the treatment you are feeling too unwell or if you experience any unusual symptoms, then we ask you to discuss this with your technician.  The technician will contact your treating doctor to work out a plan for you.

Does TMS enter the blood stream?

TMS treatment does not in anyway enter the blood stream, rather it works by stimulating inactive brain cells.

Does TMS treatment cause weight gain?

Great news here, TMS treatment will not affect your weight!

Is TMS like receiving ECT or electro conclusive treatment treatment?

TMS treatment is completely different to ECT treatment. Where ECT requires anaesthetic and the treatment itself produces a convulsion or seizure. A possible side effect of ECT treatment is the possible risk of memory loss.  Patients are usually hospitalised whilst undertaking ECT treatment.

TMS treatment differs greatly from ECT in that it does not require any sedation or anaesthesia.  TMS does not produce a seizure or convulsion, you are fully aware and awake during the treatment.  Also, you are not at risk of memory loss through this type of treatment.  TMS patients can attend treatment sessions in an outpatient setting and do not require to be hospitalised.  They can also get themselves to and from each treatment session.

Does TMS treatment cause problems with memory loss?

Even better news here, TMS treatment does not have any impact on memory. You memory will be just as good as when you arrived for your session.

Does TMS treatment have any side effects?

The most commonly reported side effects associated with TMS treatment, are scalp discomfort (which can be caused by the cap worn during treatment) and mild head aches.  If headaches are experienced they seem to occur less frequently as you get used to the treatment.

There is also a low risk of seizures (statistics suggest that 1 in 30,000 treatments may experience a seizure).

For more information on TMS side effects please click through the link Click here.

Does the College of Psychiatry offer guidelines for TMS?

Yes. Please refer to the College website for details on rTMS.

Who should not receive TMS treatment?

If you are under 18 years of age, pregnant or have any metal (aneurism clips, stents, pacemakers, magnetic material or other) in any area above your chest than TMS is not suitable for you.  If you would like to look at our checklist please Click here

Are dental fillings and braces safe when having TMS treatment?

General dental fillings and braces are safe and will not be affected by TMS treatment.

Unsure if TMS is the right treatment for you or a loved one?

Contact our friendly staff