Unlocking Results: Seattle TMS as an Adjunct to Medication

When seeking treatment for mental health issues, combining different approaches can often lead to enhanced outcomes. Seattle transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is no different. It’s emerged as a valuable therapy to use alongside other treatments, such as antidepressant medication if you’re seeking relief from conditions like depression or anxiety. Here’s what you should know about TMS and supplementing your medication regimen:

TMS is Highly Individualized

One of the main benefits of TMS treatment is that TMS providers can tailor it to your individual treatment plan. Considering your specific needs, medical history, and treatment goals, TMS specialists can develop a personalized treatment approach. TMS can work as a standalone treatment if you have treatment-resistant depression and you aren’t responding to medications. It can also work in conjunction with talk therapy if you are exploring medication-free treatment options. However, TMS is also an option for a complementary therapy to your antidepressant regimen.

TMS is an Excellent Adjunctive Therapy

In basic terms, antidepressants work when you swallow a pill. Your body digests, absorbs, and circulates the medication, so it can affect your brain chemistry. Because it circulates throughout your body, you can experience side effects in other areas. On the other hand, TMS works by targeting your brain directly. It’s a non-systemic treatment. It makes an excellent candidate to complement or strengthen other antidepressant therapies without interfering with their mechanism of action.

Because TMS is non-systemic, there are very few side effects you can experience. The side effects you could experience are mild headaches or scalp discomfort, which resolve quickly on their own, or you can treat them with over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen. These side effects are so minor and isolated that they don’t interfere with other treatments or cause confusion about which treatment is causing the issue.

An Important Note about Medication Compatibility

You can use TMS safely with most antidepressants, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, and more. However, you should collaborate with your prescribing doctor and TMS provider to ensure medication management and safety, avoiding interactions or other risks.

Even though TMS doesn’t typically interfere with medications, you still need to disclose to your TMS provider any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, or herbal supplements you are taking. They will determine if you can safely continue taking them or need to adjust or discontinue any before starting TMS therapy.

The 3 Benefits of Combined Treatments

1. TMS can Boost the Effectiveness of Medications

When used in conjunction with antidepressant medications, studies show TMS can strengthen or accelerate your body’s response. This means you can experience better results than you would from only medication or TMS by itself.

2. TMS can Reduce Your Need for Medication

While many individuals continue their other treatments after TMS therapy, many can reduce or discontinue their daily antidepressants. Research supports that the antidepressant effect of TMS alone can last up to a year–perhaps even longer with subsequent maintenance courses of TMS. In the not-so-distant future, TMS could even replace the need for prescription drugs in treating certain disorders.

3. TMS can Enhance Medication Duration

Prescription medications, including antidepressants, have a therapeutic dosage range. Prescribers often start you on the lowest dose that will put you in that range. They will reassess and continue increasing your dosage until you experience relief from symptoms. However, if the higher dose brings out side effects you can’t tolerate, they will have to consider switching you to another medication.

The other snag is that over time, your body can build up a tolerance to medication, requiring a dosage increase. Once you start experiencing significant side effects or you reach the maximum safe dosage without symptom relief, you must switch medications, which may bring on different side effects or never provide the level of relief you had with your original antidepressant. This is where TMS can help.

Because TMS boosts the effectiveness of medication and reduces your need for antidepressants, it can help slow or prevent severe medication side effects or tolerance. You can maintain lower dosages and stay on medications longer without maxing out on dosages. It can minimize side effects and improve your overall quality of life.

Always Remember

While TMS can work as a standalone treatment for some, it’s not a replacement for medication for everyone. Many get the most benefits from TMS by using it as one part of their overall treatment plan. It’s also not always a cure-all, and you shouldn’t make rash treatment decisions when your symptoms start to improve. Never suddenly stop or taper your medication without consulting your mental health treatment team.

Embrace a comprehensive approach to your mental health treatment. TMS can be a complementary treatment, providing additional support to alleviate symptoms that may not fully respond to medication or other treatment options alone. Combining medication with TMS therapy can offer hope and empower you. Visit a TMS treatment center–it may be the final key to unlocking your mental wellness.