The Pros and Cons of TMS Therapy

If other medications and treatments haven’t worked for you, you may be considering giving TMS therapy a try. TMS therapy is a relatively new and innovative treatment for depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. “TMS offers phenomenal, safe, tolerable treatment for depression and these other disorders,” according to Dr. Griffith of Dr. TMS Therapy clinics.

But, before you start TMS therapy, you may want to learn more about some of the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment. So, let’s explore the pros and cons of TMS therapy today and help you make an informed decision about your care.

Cons of TMS Therapy

1. Time Commitment 

TMS therapy is a significant time commitment. Typically, TMS therapy for depression is 36 19-minute therapy sessions done daily (Monday through Friday) over 7 weeks. Patients can drive themselves to and from each session, often straight to work, and carry on normally for the rest of the day, but it is still difficult for many people to make a daily commitment because of work or child responsibilities. 

Dr. TMS Therapy Clinics help with this by offering early, very early, and late appointments each day. Each person responds to TMS therapy differently, so a specific treatment plan will be made with your doctor before you begin treatments, and adjustments will be made to accommodate your body’s reaction to the treatment. We highly recommend you attend each of your daily TMS treatments, but we understand that life sometimes gets in the way, so missing a few treatments when necessary is allowed (and won’t negatively affect your treatment outcome, unless you’re absent for about 14 consecutive days).

Although the time commitment prevents a lot of patients from joining the TMS program, we believe it is a small ‘price’ to pay for life-changing results. Those who are depressed for decades and have tried multiple antidepressants without satisfactory results, can walk out of our TMS program with a better life.

2. Cost

The other potential drawback to TMS is the financial cost. However, the financial cost to each patient is going to vary greatly and depends on the insurance plan the patient subscribes to. Some of our patients owe $0 while others may owe $6,000. Since the cost of TMS is unique to each patient, the only way for the patient to learn their financial responsibility is by reaching out to a TMS provider.

Our TMS Coordinator works closely with each insurance company and can give you an accurate idea of what will be owed. If you’d like to learn more about TMS and the cost of the treatment, please reach out to our clinic. We typically can get you answers the same day as your call. This will help you make a decision on whether or not TMS is the right option for you. 

If you are not insured, TMS can cost anywhere from about $4,000 to $8,000. The cost of TMS really depends on what type of treatment the patient will benefit from. If you want to know more about what TMS therapy can help treat, learn more here.

Dr. TMS Therapy Griffith Psychiatry understands that cost can prevent patients from accessing  effective treatment, which is why we offer several options for those in financial need.

Our clinics offer a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model and do NOT require upfront payment. We understand a lot of people are struggling right now and living paycheck to paycheck and we don’t want to contribute to the patient’s financial stress. 

Dr. TMS Therapy also offers an in-house, interest-free payment plan for qualified patients. We are proud to offer this option because we believe it greatly increases access to premium, effective care.

Pros of TMS Therapy

1. TMS Therapy is FDA-Approved

TMS therapy was first FDA approved in 2008 for Treatment-Resistant Depressive Disorder.  Since then, the FDA has approved various TMS devices for the treatment of depression, cortical mapping, migraine pain, and, in 2020, the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Smoking Cessation. Research is continuing and it is hoped that TMS therapy, in its various forms, will be effective in treating a wide variety of other disorders as well.

2. TMS Therapy has Safer, More Tolerable Side Effects

The side effects of current antidepressant medications come in a long list and are well-documented. A multitude of these side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, weight gain, and trouble sleeping can affect your entire body, not just the medication’s intended target area. TMS therapy allows for accurate, localized treatment because TMS therapy is applied only to those “sleepy,” underactive neurons. The goal is to “wake them up,” resulting in more normal activity from your neurons without interfering with the other normal functions of your body. Because TMS therapy does not have the same breadth of side effects that current antidepressants do, it is a much safer option for mental health treatment. The typical side effects from TMS therapy are temporary headaches and or scalp discomfort.

3. High Success Rates from TMS Therapy

In 2006, a nationwide public health clinical trial on the effectiveness of antidepressant medications was completed. This study, called STAR*D, is the largest and longest study ever done on depression treatment. Researchers found that a depressed patient has a 30% chance of remission with the first medication tried and a 15% chance of stopping the medication because of intolerable side effects. The percentages go down from there. The fourth attempt has only a 7% chance of remission and a 40% chance of stopping.  

A study published in December 2020 looked at responses from over 3,000 TMS patients and reported much higher percentages of remission (28%-62%) and positive response (58%-83%) after a complete course of TMS therapy. TMS therapy, even after trying 2 or 3 other types of antidepressants without a positive response, has been able to help almost one-third of depressed patients into remission  – if you only consider the low numbers. The numbers are much higher when you look at reducing or improving symptoms. Dr. TMS Therapy clinics report an 84% chance of recovery with only a 2% dropout rate due to side effects. This makes TMS therapy the most effective treatment available today for major depression.

4. Doctors are Seeing Long-Term Results For Many Depression Sufferers

At Dr. TMS Therapy Clinics more than half of our TMS patients walk away depression-free.  About 85% of patients have significantly reduced depression symptoms by the end of a course of treatment. Our experience shows that TMS therapy lasts an average of 12 months, and other doctors are reporting similar results. TMS therapy is a once in a lifetime thing for some people, but others need additional treatments to keep their initial results going.

5. TMS Therapy is Covered by Insurance

Insurance companies have responded to the effectiveness of TMS therapy and the major companies cover TMS. Although they often require jumping through several hoops, and, unfortunately, each company has different hoops, our office staff can help you navigate reaching out to your insurance company and offer alternative options if you need them. Just fill out our insurance questionnaire and we will reach out to your insurance provider to assess your insurance coverage for TMS treatments at our clinic. 

When TMS has been proven effective for a depression sufferer and the person needs additional treatments, many insurance companies have begun covering the additional treatments as well.

6. No Memory Loss Or Hospital Stay is Involved in TMS Therapy

Unlike ECT, TMS therapy is an outpatient treatment administered in comfortable rooms at our clinic sites that does not result in memory loss. In fact, TMS helps improve memory, focus, and motivation as it treats the symptoms of depression.

TMS is non-invasive which means there is no surgery or anesthesia. You are awake and fully functional during and after treatment. You simply sit in a chair for about 19 minutes and afterwards you get up and are able to drive yourself back to continue your normal daily activities.

Dr. TMS Therapy is Ready to Help You

We, at Dr. TMS Therapy, get to see the benefits of TMS therapy every day. We understand the pros and cons of TMS therapy and are committed to doing everything possible to help you heal. From our super early or unusually late appointment times to our in-house, interest-free payment plans, we will make it as easy as possible for you to take advantage of the most effective non-drug treatment available for depression and anxiety.  

If you are ready to experience the benefits of TMS therapy or if you have more questions about this treatment, please contact the Dr. TMS Therapy Team today to schedule an appointment and find out if TMS is right for you!   

Think TMS therapy may be right for you?

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Walter G. Griffith Jr., MD, PA

Dr. Griffith earned his Undergraduate Degree from Notre Dame University and his Medical Degree from Ohio State University’s College of Medicine. He then completed his Residency in Psychiatry at Ohio’s prestigious Cleveland Clinic, and ultimately became the Chief Resident at the Cleveland Clinic in his final year of residency. After completing his residency, Dr. Griffith moved with his family to sunny Florida in 1992, where he worked at several hospitals in the early days of his career, but, ultimately, he decided to start his own outpatient Psychiatric Private Practice in Florida, where he has been working and growing the practice over the last three decades. Dr. Griffith is the Medical Director for the medical practice and oversees all of the medical clinicians who work in the practice in order to help manage the growing patient caseload at both of the medical office locations.

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