Are you thinking of undergoing TMS therapy? As with any medical treatment, it is important to get the facts before proceeding. What you don't want to do is let your decision be swayed by myths — and there are a ton of myths floating around about TMS. Here are a few of them.
Myth: TMS is an outdated and barbaric treatment.
Those who perpetuate this myth are often confusing TMS therapy with ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy. ECT was indeed abused and used improperly in the past, often resulting in unwanted side effects and permanent injuries. TMS is a different procedure. It uses electromagnetic fields, not shockwaves, to change the currents running through your brain. There are no electrodes placed on your head, you won't have a seizure during the procedure, and TMS is widely considered to be safe and effective.
Myth: TMS will hurt.
TMS is a relatively painless procedure. Getting a vaccine hurts more! During the procedure itself, you will feel a tapping sensation on your skull or in your head, but this won't be painful. Some patients experience a mild headache after the treatment, but nothing that a dose of ibuprofen won't cure.
Myth: TMS requires time off or a hospital stay.
Some patients do not undergo TMS because they mistakenly believe they'll have to take time off from work or spend the night in the hospital after the treatment. This is not the case at all. In fact, one reason why TMS has become so popular and so widely used is that you can return straight back to work or your other obligations right after. You won't be drowsy or incapacitated in any way. You can even drive yourself home from the procedure.
Myth: TMS is a replacement for antidepressants.
Many doctors will recommend TMS to patients who are not getting significant relief from their antidepressant medications. However, you should not discontinue your medications because you have a TMS appointment scheduled, and it is not typical for a doctor to take you off of medications before this procedure. It tends to work best in conjunction with medications like antidepressants, not as a replacement for them.
Now that you're aware of these myths, you can avoid having them sway your decision when considering TMS therapy. Talk to your doctor for more information. They can help you decide whether this procedure is a suitable choice for your symptoms.