Deep TMS (dTMS) vs. Conventional rTMS
The original TMS treatment technology, also known as rTMS, involves repetitive magnetic pulses. This technique produced electrical activity merely on the surface of brain structures, and although this can effectively treat depression, rTMS has not been shown to significantly improve other conditions that originate within deeper brain structures. Eventually, the company Brainsway and the National Institute of Mental Health, who share the patent for dTMS, invented a way to send magnetic pulses more than two times deeper into the brain, as well as stimulating over 13 cubic centimeters of neurons simultaneously, which means that millions more neurons are stimulated by each pulse. Therefore, instead of being able to stimulate only a tiny area of the brain, dTMS can target large brain structures directly and impact the brain structures of the “limbic system” by directly altering the activity of the neurons that connect to the most ancient parts of our emotional brain. Not only does dTMS have greater success in treating depression that has not responded to other treatments than the original rTMS technology, it also takes less time per session. Moreover, it allows for treatment of a variety of brain disorders, many of which are approved in Europe and several of which are in approval trials in the United States at this time.
dTMS vs ECT (electroconvulsive therapy)
Unlike ECT, which requires the induction of a seizure, dTMS therapy can be performed in the outpatient office setting without anesthesia while you are awake and alert. dTMS takes around 20 minutes each session and does not have any cognitive side effects. This allows you to get treatment on a regular basis and resume your usual activities before and after the procedure without impairment.
dTMS vs Medication
dTMS has no systemic side effects, such as fatigue, weight gain, insomnia and sexual dysfunction, that are often common with psychiatric medications (and any medication). Sometimes, dTMS treatment can be used to augment the effectiveness of medications, but most of the time, after dTMS treatment is completed, you are able to enjoy a calm, happy state of mind without the use of any psychiatric medication. Keep in mind, occasional maintenance treatment sessions may be required to prevent depression from returning.
dTMS vs Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is generally used to enhance the effects medication therapy or ECT as a depression treatment. When used as a stand-alone treatment, psychotherapy is typically reserved for mild cases of depression, whereas dTMS can be used as the sole treatment for treatment-resistant depression. Psychotherapy is by nature a lengthy process, and its success largely correlates to the skill of the therapist. With dTMS, the treatment course lasts just a little over a month.