What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?
TMS is an innovative therapy that can help people who struggle with major depressive disorder, even after taking antidepressant medication. It helps activate the natural function of the brain’s neurotransmitters using a non-invasive magnetic field.
Given in an office setting without anesthesia, treatments last about 20 minutes and are usually given five days per week for six weeks with two weeks of taper sessions. Magnetic pulses, generated by a treatment coil, are used to stimulate specific mood centers of the brain.
Because TMS is a non-drug treatment, people don’t experience side effects like those associated with antidepressant medications.
TMS is a breakthrough in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, because it offers a real potential for long-term remission of symptoms. As you can see in the chart to the right, with standard drug therapy, long-term remission becomes less likely with each prescription medication treatment attempt. As antidepressant medication increases, so can side effects and the potential for treatment failure.
TMS uses a targeted pulsed magnetic field, similar to what is used in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine. While the patient is awake and alert, NeuroStar TMS Therapy stimulates areas of the brain that are underactive in depression.
Precisely targeted TMS makes long-term remission possible, without the side-effects and decreasing effectiveness of drug therapies.
TMS Treatment For Anxiety
TMS can be used to treat symptoms other than depression by targeting different areas of the brain. Research has shown that TMS can be helpful in reducing anxiety where other treatments such as medication or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have failed. A brain without anxiety can regulate emotions, impulses, and behaviors by controlling the limbic system—the emotional center of the brain. If you suffer from an anxiety condition, like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), your brain is hyperactive in the amygdala. TMS treatment can reduce activity in the amygdala thus reducing your symptoms and allowing you to a live a better quality of life.
TMS is for Patients Who Have Not Found Relief After Several Antidepressant Medication Trials
Is This Safe?
TMS therapy is well tolerated and has been proven to be safe in clinical trials. The most commonly reported side effect related to treatment were scalp pain or discomfort during treatment sessions. These side effects were generally mild to moderate, and occurred less frequently after the first week of treatment.
What is the Typical Course of Treatment?
Patients will typically receive TMS five times per week for 20 minute sessions, over six weeks.
Will My Insurance Cover This?
Most major insurance carriers currently cover TMS, including Medicare and Tricare. Several factors go into whether treatment will be covered. Our TMS Coordinator will be able to assist in determining insurance coverage, and request pre-authorization.
Dr. Bruce Hubbard attended Medical School at Vanderbilt University. After completing a psychopharmacology and research internship at Vanderbilt Medical School, he decided to become a psychiatrist. After graduating from medical school he completed his internship in medicine and his residency in psychiatry at University of California, San Diego. Following his completion of his training, he remained full time on the faculty at UCSD, School of Medicine. He taught general psychiatry and psychopharmacology at UCSD for several years before establishing his private practice in Mission Valley in 1990. Dr. Hubbard has been practicing psychiatry in Mission Valley for approximately 30 years.
Watch the video above to hear Dr. Bruce Hubbard, M.D. explain the benefits of TMS for treating depression and anxiety
Watch the video above to hear Dr. Ann Wycoff Ph.D. explain how TMS works
Ready to find out more?
Click on the button to see a video from Neurostar to learn more about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the treatment of depression.
Read the following testimonials from patients we have treated with TMS
“I noticed immediately an improvement and so did the people around me. That heavy weight of depression was lifted and I felt good. I’m happier than I’ve been in years. The medicines weren’t working so I got proactive and tried this. I’m so patient with my husband now. I don’t have that anger anymore. I laugh every day many times and that’s really new. I’ve never been to a place with so much empathy and compassion. I felt I could let down and show it all. The staff here is deeply invested in their patients. What I experience now is positivity. I guess that’s the right word. My husband is so happy with the results. I didn’t smile for so long. I don’t have the moodiness. There are so many depressed people in the world that this will help. If anyone wants to email me or talk with me I’d be happy to talk with them.”
"Everybody here is so nice, so warm and caring. Every single person in this office. Since the tms I’m moving around more. I’m less fatigued. It woke my brain up. I feel lighter; the fatigue has lifted. I have energy to move. I used to chill on the couch for hours. I felt I was always tired. After being up for two hours I would have to lay down. It’s easier to get things done. I just do things. I’m alive again. Hanging out with my daughter isn’t a chore. I’m getting along better with my boyfriend. It’s not a chore to pick up the house. Now I’m cooking again. It doesn’t affect my sleep one way or another. My back pain is better and it’s less draining. It feels easier to get things done. I’m going to be going back to work soon. I’m more efficient. My memory is better. It takes less time to get things done because I’m more focused."
"Now that I’m awake again I think things through. Now I know what behaviors kept me depressed. I’m more aware. Now I can see what I do that works against me. I’ve started cutting out sugar. I went and bought a behavior chart for my daughter. A Star Chart with tokens. It’s helping her. I’d wanted to do this for a long time. I just couldn’t."
"My boyfriend notices the difference and it makes him try harder. I can see my behavior now. I realize now I was sometimes being rude. He sees me trying and he tries harder too. So we’re getting along better.
I’m not in a black hole of despair anymore."
"I was afraid of doing TMS for a long time. But I trust Doctor Hubbard and he recommended that I consider TMS. I feel I’m an educated consumer. I can’t say enough about the nurturing, healing environment in this office. It’s so welcoming, so peaceful. It’s the perfect environment to do this."
"I wasn’t feeling anything different until about 3 ½ weeks. I can’t really explain it except to say I felt brighter around the edges. I started to feel I had a personality again—I’m still in here! I feel like I’ve woken out of a 25 year coma.
I don’t dread getting out of bed. I’m still not a morning person. My first thought when I would wake up was, ‘I hate the morning!’ Now my first thought is, ‘I can handle this!’ I’m more self-confident, calmer, clearer cognitively. I feel more open. My partner has definitely noticed the difference. I have wanted to go to school for a long time. Now maybe I will."
"My experience was really good. The techs are all really nice. This is a nice place to come every day. They all care. After about 3 weeks I started feeling lighter, more hopeful, better about myself. I started dieting. I started taking my kids on long stroller rides to get exercise. I confided in a coworker that I was doing TMS and she said she was seeing a difference. She said I seemed more light-hearted. Medicine makes life bearable and TMS makes it more enjoyable. My sleep got better. I’m not waking up during the night. I’m sleeping all night. I have more energy, more pep. I was previously exhausted. I don’t worry as much. Before, I thought: ‘I’m fat and ugly’. I was ashamed. Now, I don’t feel horrified by my appearance. I used to feel disgusted. Now when I look in the mirror I think, it’s not too bad. The fact that I’m sticking with my diet is new. I would have given up in the past."
"I’m more patient with my kids, more tolerant. I’m finding positive traits in my husband and minimizing the things that bother me. I’m recognizing that he’s a good father. That makes it easier to tolerate the negative things. Everyone has them. I feel fortunate to finally see life through the eyes of someone who’s not clinically depressed. If I’d done this sooner, I would have lived my life differently. I guess you could say I’m more aware. More insight, that’s it. I still get frustrated with stuff. But I don’t go into a hole. In the past I would have gone down into the abyss."
"I feel good when I wake up. I’m so happy I got a solid sleep. I would do TMS again in a heartbeat. This is as close to a miracle as an atheist can call it. It’s been life-changing. I’m better at telling myself, ‘do it, you deserve it."
"I spent 22 years living with depression and now I have full range of emotions that I’ve never experienced before, and a new outlook on life. Before beginning treatment, I was non-functioning and almost completely non-verbal. My sleep schedule was non-existent, my energy levels were very low, and I had to pause my schooling because I was unable to even talk to people. By week two of treatment, not only was I sleeping better and waking up refreshed, but those around me noticed a significant change. I began talking so much I joked that my therapist would have to teach me to be quiet. This treatment has changed my life for the better. I would highly recommend TMS to anyone suffering from severe depression."
Call Us Now to Arrange a Free Consultation with Ann Wycoff, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist
1565 Hotel Circle South, Suite 380
San Diego, CA 92108