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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand you may have many questions about TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). Here are common questions we are asked with regards to the process of TMS and our assessment program.

  • Does rTMS work?
  • What is different about neurocare’s approach to TMS?
  • Can I just get TMS without cognitive therapy?
  • How many sessions do I need?
  • How often do I need to come in for sessions?
  • What if I have planned time away for (e.g.) a holiday coming up?
  • Are there any side-effects in TMS treatment?
  • Is TMS painful?
  • Does TMS really have a long term effect?
  • How is TMS different from Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)?
  • What is the difference between TMS and Neurofeedback?
  • Can anxiety also be treated with TMS?
  • Can I drive myself home after treatment?
  • Can I stop taking antidepressants while undergoing a TMS therapy program?
  • Why is a QEEG assessment required?
  • Who can benefit from TMS?
  • Would I be eligible for reimbursement via a private or public insurance provider?
  • Do I need a referral?
Does rTMS work?

Our research studies show that after approximately 20 sessions,   two-thirds of clients experience a significant improvement in their mood symptoms (see Arns et al. 2012).   The best results are based on a combined treatment using both rTMS and psychotherapy.

What is different about neurocare’s approach to TMS?

Therapists at neurocare combine Psychotherapy with TMS treatment.  This combined approach is more effective than monotherapy (see Arns et al. 2012).

Can I just get TMS without cognitive therapy?

Research studies show that rTMS without counselling has a lower efficacy, so we do not recommend this.

How many sessions do I need?

On average our clients need about 20 TMS treatment sessions. For the best results treatment sessions should be held at least 2 or 3 times a week. You may start to notice an effect within the first 5 sessions.

How often do I need to come in for sessions?

For TMS to have the best effect sessions need to be frequent.  We recommend a minimum of 2-3 sessions per week, and up to 5 sessions a week..

What if I have planned time away for (e.g.) a holiday coming up?

If you know you have a holiday or time away coming in the two to three months from starting treatment, just let the practice manager know and they can discuss with you what your best options are. We might decide it is best to wait until you get back from any planned time away. Or, if it is just a short trip, we can either work around your schedule or fit in more sessions before you go.

Are there any side-effects in TMS treatment?

TMS has the advantage of not inducing side effects common with anti-depressant medications.

Is TMS painful?

People undergoing TMS describe the magnetic pulses as a tapping, tingling, or twitching sensation, , but not painful. After a few sessions clients often get use to this feeling.

Does TMS really have a long term effect?

We tentatively conclude that the effects of TMS in combination with psychotherapy last at least six months for the majority of clients. However, a number of clients opt to return for follow-up treatment once a month or once every 2 to 3 months to maintain the effects or to prevent relapse.

Research shows that after six months depressive symptoms are significantly lower than at intake.

How is TMS different from Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)?

In ECT large electric currents are applied in order to create seizure activity across the brain.  This therapy requires sedation under medical care in a hospital, and may be associated with side effects including nausea, confusion, and memory loss.

TMS stimulation is very light and focused, so it doesn’t affect the whole brain or create a seizure, like we see in ECT therapy.  After a TMS session you can safe return immediately to your daily acitivites.

What is the difference between TMS and Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback is a brain-training technique that has been extensively studied in the treatment of ADHD, sleep and epilepsy. However, there less evidence for Neurofeedback to treat depression. rTMS is a brain stimulation process used to  adjust activity within the networks that regulate our mood.  TMS has been extensively studied in the treatment of depression and has a greater rate of treatment success.

Can anxiety also be treated with TMS?

Anxiety is common in people with depression and is often treated with psychotherapy. When other treatments have not been effective, rTMS in combination with psychotherapy may be effective in helping clients manage and overcome anxiety , particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Can I drive myself home after treatment?

Unlike some medications, TMS does not affect your ability to drive. The experience of intensive treatment, however, can be tiring. If you would not feel comfortable driving after this experience we advise you to ask a friend to drive you home after a treatment session.

Can I stop taking antidepressants while undergoing a TMS therapy program?

It is generally recommended to keep medications stable during the course of a rTMS treatment program, and to inform the clinical staff of any changes in medication use.

Why is a QEEG assessment required?

qEEG brain mapping is recommended for two reasons. The first is safety. We review the QEEG to rule out any patterns of brain activity that could suggest an increased risk of seizure.

Second, QEEG assessment allows us to further personalise your treatment , by identifying additional factors which may be contributing to depressive symptoms (e.g. a sleep disorder).

Who can benefit from TMS?
  • Individuals diagnosed with depression
  • Individuals diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression (depression that has not responded to psychotherapy and/or medication)
  • Individuals diagnosed with OCD
  • Individuals who wish to taper or cease medication for depression or OCD and are looking for therapy to support that process.
Would I be eligible for reimbursement via a private or public insurance provider?

Recently, Medicare funding has become available for TMS, for those with depression that has not responded to antidepressant medications and psychotherapy.  Medicare funding reduces out-of-pocket costs and can benefit thousands of Australians each year needing access to alternative care for treatment-resistant depression.

Please note there are certain criteria to be eligible for Medicare funding for TMS.  Please speak with our team to find out more.

Do I need a referral?

Before starting TMS we will need to conduct an intake assessment with a Psychologist or Psychiatrist. To be able to claim Medicare benefits you will need a referral from a GP.

We integrate leading research, digital therapeutics, physical devices, clinics, and professional education to offer the most comprehensive mental health solutions to patients, therapists and the research community.

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