Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

November 12, 2012

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

If you are suffering from depression and have found other treatments to be ineffective, you may wish to consider transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Magnetic fields are used during this therapy to stimulate a certain areas of the brain to which depression has been associated. The increased activity and stimulation of nerve cells in the brain have been found to effectively reduce the symptoms of depression. Many individuals who suffer from depression and have so far found previously tried treatments to be ineffective are not turning to this form of therapy. The procedure consists of an electromagnetic coil, which is placed against the scalp. Electrical currents are then able to pass into your brain, stimulating the part of the brain that is now known to control our mood. Further studies are required looking at this fairly new treatment in order to fully asses the effectiveness and whether there are any long term side effects caused by transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Although researchers known that it is linked to the stimulation of nerves in the brain that causes a reduction in symptoms of depression, the whole process is not yet fully understood. Through monitoring the reaction of the brain, it appears that when the area associated with mood control is stimulated it increases the activity of the nerves resulting in an alteration of the functioning of the brain. This in turn leads to an improved mood and a reduction in the symptoms of depression. Research and studies are currently being carried out in order to help increase the knowledge and understanding or transcranial magnetic stimulation. Once more information and evidence has been produced it will be easier to say who is most likely to have success from this form of therapy. It is currently used on people who have failed to have positive results in relieving their symptoms of depression from other treatments such as medications and psychotherapy. In most cases depression is effectively treated with these methods but for those that it is not, transcranial magnetic stimulation may be a good alternative.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive procedure in which the patient remains fully awake and alert. Unlike other brain stimulation procedures it does not require surgery or implantation of electrodes. However there are some potential side effects of this from of therapy, some of which include headaches, discomfort on the scalp in the area of stimulation, tingling or spasms of the face muscles and light-headedness. Further more severe side effects that occur less commonly include seizures, mania in those suffering from bipolar disorder and loss of hearing due to inadequate protection during the treatment. Further research is required to determine whether or not there may be any long-term side effects.

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