Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Treat Depression in a New Way


Updated on 07/03/23

Persistent depression can disrupt your life. Activities you once were interested in can take too much energy. Your family and friends may worry about your lack of energy or withdrawal from them. Life can seem hopeless, and you don’t know how to feel “right” again. 

After several attempts at therapy, medications and support groups, you can lose hope and wonder if there is an option that can provide relief. Persistent depression shares many of the same signs of lesser forms of depression but is persistent and does not respond to standard therapy modes. Sometimes a new, innovative treatment, like transcranial magnetic stimulation, is called for.


Depression is a frequent and concerning mental health disorder that interferes with your life and affects your emotions. Some of the signs of depression are:

  • Sadness
  • A decrease in interest in activities
  • Lack of engagement in relationships
  • Lowered energy levels
  • Anxiety
  • Disruption of sleep patterns
  • Decreased appetite
  • Feelings of guilt or low self-worth
  • Poor concentration

People with depression can experience mild to persistent symptoms. Those with mild to moderate forms of depression often respond well to standard treatment.

Persistent Depression

A persistent depressive disorder is not as common as mild to moderate forms of depression. Those with persistent depression (PD) can begin to experience the symptoms anywhere from childhood to early adulthood. Persistent depression can have the same symptoms of mild or moderate depression; however, if you are depressed for most of the day, most days of the week and this feeling continues for more than two months over two or more years, you can have PD. If you have persistent depression, it is unlikely that you can continue with social, work or home activities, except to a limited extent.

Major Depression

Major depression is one of the two most common types of depression. You can have major depression if you have the symptoms of depression most days for at least two weeks. These feelings can disrupt your everyday routine, activities or relationships. A major depressive episode can occur one time or several times in your life. 

If you have PD, you can also have major depression. Research shows about seven percent of the population is diagnosed with major depression. Symptoms of major depression can occur either before or during PD episodes. Symptoms include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Having low energy
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Inability to go to sleep or stay asleep
  • Changes in your appetite or weight
  • Agitation or tiredness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Suicidal ideations

The overlapping of major depression and PD can make it harder to treat if you have PD.

Standard Treatments for Depression

Therapy for depression traditionally includes a combination of psychotherapy and medication. 

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is a traditional form of therapy. You talk with your psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor or another type of mental health provider. While you are in treatment, you can talk about your thoughts, feelings and triggers. Psychotherapy is used for mental health disorders and addiction.

Medication: The use of medicines for mental health disorders can help those with many types of mental health disorders like schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder or depression. Medication given to you requires the supervision of a doctor or psychiatrist.

Unfortunately, approximately 30% of people with major depression fail to respond to these treatment forms, making PD challenging to treat. Therapists can look at other therapy modes to aid those with treatment-resistant PD. In some cases, the therapist will combine alternative therapies. For years, therapists have employed brain stimulation therapies with the standard treatments for PD. One of the most notable is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

The National Institute of Mental Health says repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses a magnet to either activate or curb the brain. Coils administer the magnetic pulses to your brain. The benefit of TMS is it can target a specific site in the brain. When a particular part of the brain, like the prefrontal cortex (which controls your mood) is targeted, the electric current stimulates your brain cells. The stimulation’s strength level can determine whether your cells are prompted to increase or decrease their activity. The pulses of electricity do not hurt you. TMS is a safe, holistic form of treatment for your PD. Your sessions are non-invasive, drug-free and FDA-cleared. About 2.5 million people have experienced TMS with positive results.

What to Expect from TMS Treatment

When you begin your TMS treatment, you can discuss what to expect during a session with your therapist. Your first session can include measurements to ensure the TMS therapy coils will target the appropriate areas of the prefrontal cortex. The coils are placed above your head, and your treatment settings are determined. When treatment begins, you will hear clicking noises and feel like you are being tapped. The tapping sensation is normal. 

You can feel safe and comfortable throughout this process. Some patients experience slight discomfort; your treatment center can reduce any side effects. The treatment can last about 20 to 35 minutes and can occur five days a week. Because TMS is non-invasive, drug-free and requires a small amount of time, you can go back to work or complete your daily tasks after finishing treatment. 

Depression can negatively affect your life. Your emotions, activity levels or relationships are disrupted. At times an overwhelming sense of sadness can consume you, leaving you unable to complete tasks or interact with others. The symptoms of depression can hurt your personal and work life, causing further feelings of sadness, guilt or low self-esteem. You can seek help through traditional modes of mental health therapy — psychotherapy or medicine. Your therapist can help you identify your emotions, triggers or diagnose you with major depressive disorder or persistent depression. Both types of depression can last for several weeks, months or in the case of persistent depression years. If psychotherapy or medication fails to treat your depression, your therapist can recommend transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Casa Palmera understands you can benefit from a combination of psychotherapy, medicine and TMS or TMS by itself. We focus on your needs and ensure your comfort during a TMS session. Your well-being is our top priority. Casa Palmera welcomes your inquiries about TMS. Contact us for more information at (855) 508-0473.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.