TMS began as an alternative treatment for depression, with a potential upside of removing many of the abrasive side effects commonly found in antidepressants. As doctors started to see the success of TMS with response rates above 70%, they began to investigate other potential diagnoses that could be treated with TMS. So far, they have found that TMS is a viable option for people who suffer from chronic pain, OCD, PTSD, Tinnitus, and even Alzheimer’s. Along with treating the symptoms that accompany the listed diagnoses, TMS also cuts away all the undesirable side effects of the drugs that are often prescribed. It’s hard not to feel optimistic about the future of TMS and the possibilities for new treatment options.
The difference in a patient’s experience is staggering. While undergoing TMS treatment, a patient will have a chance of experiencing minor headaches for the first couple of treatments. When taking antidepressants, the side effects are longer lasting and more intimidating. Among the 3 most commonly prescribed antidepressants are Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro. Common side effects for these medications include blurred vision, eye pain/swelling, agitation, hallucinations, fever, nausea, diarrhea, fainting, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, lethargy, weight gain, and decreased libido. Yikes.
The side effects for commonly prescribed medications for all the previously listed diagnoses are equal to or worse than the side effects for antidepressants, which makes TMS an intriguing option for those suffering from OCD, PTSD, Tinnitus, and Alzheimer’s. While there is not an overwhelming amount of studies as to the other possibilities of diagnoses that can be treated with TMS in the future, the common theme has emerged. Direct stimulation of the brain is not just a viable option for treating neurological disorders, it’s inherently more effective and generates significantly less side effects than pharmaceutical remedies.