Crunching the Numbers: How Effective is TMS for Severe Mental Disorders?

Updated on February 24, 2021
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Mental health disorders are crippling. They can complicate a person’s life by making it difficult to perform everyday activities with any degree of normalcy. OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is one such mental health condition that makes it especially challenging to focus on anything other than the OCD; Major Depressive Disorder is another.

Over the years, traditional thinking on treatment regimens has slowly shifted. In the past, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) may well have been touted as the best approach for people suffering from agonizing mental health issues. 

Major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, treatment-resistant OCD, or mental health conditions where the person poses a danger to himself/herself and society at large, present as the most severe cases.

Traditional treatment methodologies dictate that serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) should be implemented as a first line of defense against major depressive disorder (MDD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). 

This bifurcated approach is highly effective for most cases, but not all. Those patients who suffer from MDD or OCD and are resistant to standard treatment protocols need viable alternatives.

Introducing FDA-Approved TMS for Treating Mental Health Disorders

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Source:  Brainsway Deep TMS Efficacy

The mechanics of TMS therapy are substantially advanced. Suffice it to say that magnetic waves are generated in a specially developed helmet which is worn during treatments. These waves target areas deep within the brain, specifically those which are known to cause symptoms of depression. This treatment system is well tolerated with few side effects, and is approved by the FDA. It is medication free, and does not require patients to take SSRIs or SNRIs in concert with the treatment regimen. 

For the most part, this FDA-cleared treatment for Major Depressive Disorder and OCD is largely covered, or partially covered by insurance. While there are side effects for every procedure, this is a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure, and there is no downtime, no healing, no anesthesia, no antibiotics, and no sutures. The standard treatment protocol for a patient would be 5 sessions of Deep TMS treatments per week for approximately 18 minutes per session for several weeks. At the end of the treatment cycle, a large cohort of patients reported favorably.

According to results collected by treatment centers, about half of people who are resistant to antidepressants report favorable results with TMS. The numbers vary from one treatment center to the next, but there is no denying the efficacy of the treatment. 

Using Deep TMS, some 30% of the patients reported a significant reduction of their symptoms after they achieved no response from traditional treatment options such as medication and therapy. Given the sophistication of specific Deep TMS treatment methods, it is possible to enjoy greater levels of success.

Astounding Results Attests to The Efficacy of Deep TMS Treatments

In terms of responsiveness to acute-phase remitters, the greatest levels of success are seen in weeks 5 and 6 during the acute phase of treatment. The levels of remission are only evident from weeks 6 through 16. The degree of success will vary based on the extent of treatment. According to certain studies, some 36.6% of patients reported favorably with Deep TMS treatments when they failed with using between 1 and 2 medications. 

Additionally, patients that failed with 3 or more medications reported a favourable outcome with Deep TMS 28.9% of the time. The inverse correlation between the number of treatment options that failed and the success of TMS is apparent.

In a study involving 1000 patients/participants, undergoing Deep TMS treatment for major depressive disorder, 75% of patients achieved what is known as a “clinical response”. 50% of those who achieved the clinical response went into remission. This is significant and substantial, and attests to the efficacy of TMS success rates in patients with severe cases of MDD or OCD. 
The Journal of Psychiatric Research published a study in 2019, combining different treatment protocols. They used Deep TMS therapy and medication (SSRIs and SNRIs) and found them to be far more effective than pharmacology alone. It is therefore clear that Deep TMS is a legitimate, and lasting treatment for major depressive disorder.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.