Frequently Asked Questions2022-01-08T16:40:35-08:00

Alternative Depression Treatment Common Questions

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Common FAQs

Below are answers to some common questions we receive about depression and TMS Therapy. If you don’t find the information you are looking for, give us a call at (425) 919-6826 or use the form at the bottom of this page to send us a message. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

TMS Basics

Am I a good candidate for TMS treatment?2021-11-27T11:29:27-08:00

If medication and/or therapy has been ineffective in treating your depression or you cannot tolerate the side effects of antidepressants, you may be a good candidate for TMS. Magstim is non-systemic (does not circulate in the blood throughout the body), so it does not have side effects such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, dry mouth, sedation, etc.

You may not be eligible for TMS if you are susceptible to seizures or have metal in or around your head. Our experts would be happy to consult with you to determine whether TMS is an appropriate treatment for you.

What are TMS treatments like?2021-11-27T11:21:48-08:00

TMS treatment involves brief outpatient procedures performed while the patient sits in a chair. On average, patients attend five sessions per week, each of which has a duration of 19 to 37-minutes for five to six weeks. You will be able to travel on your own, to and from appointments and resume your usual activities immediately after each session. There are is no negative effect on cognition or alertness and no after procedure down time. You will remain awake during these short non-invasive procedures.

What are the risks and side effects? Does TMS hurt?2021-11-27T11:21:48-08:00

TMS is a safe noninvasive brain stimulation. TMS does not require the use of anesthesia and is not intended to cause seizures. It is not systemic, meaning it does not circulate throughout the body like prescription drug therapy.

TMS treatments should not hurt, although some patients may have minor headaches or initial scalp discomfort which typically subsides after the first few sessions. TMS does not cause memory loss. Your magnetic field exposure, which throughout the full course of the treatment is less than you would receive from an MRI, is minimal.

Our TMS treatments are administered at our offices and do not require hospitalization or anesthesia.

Will TMS treatment be effective?2021-11-27T11:30:37-08:00

TMS is one of the most effective procedures available for depression. TMS has been in use since 1985 and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2008. Magstim TMS is the only TMS system with the durability of its effects established over 12 months. In a clinical trial, 2 out of 3 patients who had either responded to treatment or completely remitted their depression symptoms reported 12 months later that they remained at the level they were at the end of the trial. Additionally, after the trial, only 1 in 3 patients needed to return for ‘maintenance’ TMS sessions.

Is TMS like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?2021-11-27T11:21:48-08:00

No. TMS therapy is not like Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). ECT is a treatment based on using electricity to induce seizures. ECT requires anesthesia and has serious side effects, including memory loss.

On the other hand, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) uses magnetic pulses to non-invasively stimulate specific brain regions associated with major depressive disorder. TMS therapy is performed in our offices, requires no anesthesia, and has no systemic side effects.

Should we have any testing done prior to coming in for TMS therapy?2021-11-27T11:21:48-08:00

No. All past information we will need will be filled out on the New Patient packet or at the intake appointment.

Is a referral required to begin services?2021-11-27T11:21:48-08:00

A referral from a provider is not required to begin TMS therapy. You can call our office directly to set up a consultation.

What happens if I miss a treatment session?2021-11-27T11:21:48-08:00

We encourage patients to be diligent in coming to their daily appointments. If there is a day that you are unable to attend your scheduled TMS appointment, please call our office to re-schedule for a different time that day or for another day. If you will require a prolonged absence during your TMS treatment please speak with your TMS Treater or the Office Coordinator to discuss your treatment plan.

How should I prepare myself before beginning each treatment session?2021-11-27T11:21:48-08:00

Preparation for your daily sessions is very minimal. We encourage patients to wear comfortable clothing (please refrain from wearing any tops with a hood). It is also helpful if you keep your hairstyle/haircut the same throughout the duration of your TMS treatment as it can affect how the coil sits on your head. No jewelry should be worn on your head or neck during treatment sessions.


What is major depression?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

Major depressive disorder is a condition that lasts two or more weeks and interferes with a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks and enjoyed activities that previously brought pleasure. This condition affects approximately 16 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older.1

  1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.
What causes depression?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

The exact cause of depression is not known, but leading research in Neuroscience points to an imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitters as the manifestation of depression. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells. A person’s genetic make-up and life history may also determine a person’s tendency to become depressed.

How prevalent is depression?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

In 2016 a study conducted by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality reported that major depressive disorder will affect approximately 16 million American adults (about 6.7% of the US population) in a given year.1

  1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.
Is depression a serious disease?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

Yes. The National Institute of Mental Health maintains that “Depressive illness can often interfere with normal functioning and cause pain and suffering not only to those who have the disorder but to those who care about them. Serious depression can destroy family life as well as the life of the ill person.” A national study of depression found that nearly all the respondents who reported a major depressive disorder also reported that their social and/or work lives were negatively affected by their illness.1 In 2010, the economic burden of depression was estimated at $210 billion in the US2 and depression was the second leading cause of disability, accounting for almost 20% of all years of life lost to disability and premature death.3

  1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.
  2. Greenberg PE, et al. The Economic Burden of Adults With Major Depressive Disorder in the United States (2005 and 2010). J Clin Psychiatry. 2015; 76(2):155-162.
  3. US Burden of Disease Collaborators. The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. JAMA, 310(6): 591-608, 2013
Is there a depression cure?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

There is no known cure for depression but with effective treatment, many patients can remain symptom-free.

Are some people more likely to become depressed than others?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

There are many factors that can predispose certain people towards depression more than others. However, the exact causation between these factors and the occurrence of depression are still being researched and debated. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Suffering from certain medical illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and hormonal disorders
  • Hereditary predispositions to depression passed through genes.
  • Experiencing a serious loss, difficult relationship, financial problem, or any stressful change in life pattern.
  • Taking certain medications that may increase vulnerability to depression
What are the symptoms of depression?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

According to the standard diagnosis guide (DSM-V) published by the American Psychiatric Association, depression is diagnosed when an individual is experiencing either a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure plus four or more of the following depression symptoms during the same two-week period:

  • Significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain (a change of more than five percent of body weight in a month)
  • Significant increase or decrease in appetite
  • Excessive sleepiness or insomnia
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt nearly every day
  • Diminished ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions

If you feel you are experiencing any of these depression symptoms, contact your doctor and speak with them about your depression treatment options.

What are the current approved treatments for depression?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

Depression is most often treated with psychotherapy (talk-therapy) and antidepressant medications administered together. Although antidepressants can be effective for many patients, they do not work for everybody. Additionally, since antidepressants are typically taken by mouth, they circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body, often resulting in unwanted side effects. More than 4 million patients do not receive adequate benefit from antidepressant medications and/or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them. For these patients, alternative treatments are available which usually involve the use of a medical device. These treatments include: transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the area of the brain thought to control mood. These pulses are thought to have a positive effect on the brain’s neurotransmitters levels. Treating depression with transcranial magnetic stimulation may provide an alternative depression treatment for those who have not benefited from prior antidepressant medication.

TMS Therepy

What is TMS Therapy?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. It is used to treat depression by stimulating the brain non-invasively using electromagnetic fields, similar to those produced by an MRI machine. During TMS Therapy, a magnetic field is administered in very short pulses to the part of the brain that research has demonstrated to be associated with depression.

How does TMS Therapy work?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

The Magstim TMS Therapy system uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate the area of the brain that is thought to function abnormally in patients with depression. The magnetic field produces an electric current in the brain that stimulates the brain cells (neurons). This results in changes that are thought to be beneficial in the treatment of depression.

Is TMS Therapy like other alternative therapies which use magnets to treat some illnesses?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

No. TMS Therapy involves a unique method of using pulsed magnetic fields for therapeutic benefit. The intensity of the magnetic field is similar to that of the magnetic fields used in magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. These techniques differ radically from the popular use of low intensity, static magnetic fields. These products deliver weak and undirected static fields that are not capable of activating brain cells.

Is TMS Therapy like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

No. TMS therapy is not like Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). ECT is a treatment based on using electricity to induce seizures. ECT requires anesthesia and has serious side effects, including memory loss.

On the other hand, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) uses magnetic pulses to non-invasively stimulate specific brain regions associated with major depressive disorder. TMS therapy is performed in our offices, requires no anesthesia, and has no systemic side effects.

What are the potential risks of Magstim TMS Therapy?2021-11-27T11:25:15-08:00

Magstim TMS Therapy has been shown to be well tolerated and the Magstim TMS Therapy system has been demonstrated to be safe in clinical trials. Throughout over 10,000 active treatments performed in clinical trials, the most commonly reported side effect related to treatment was scalp discomfort during treatment sessions. This side effect was generally mild to moderate and occurred less frequently after the first week of treatment. Less than 5% of patients treated with Magstim TMS Therapy discontinued treatment due to side effects.

In Magstim clinical trials, over 10,000 TMS treatments demonstrated its safety, with no occurrence of seizures. However, there is a small risk of a seizure occurring during treatment. This risk is no greater than what has been observed with oral antidepressant medications.

While Magstim TMS Therapy has been demonstrated to be effective, not all patients will benefit from it. Patients should be carefully monitored for worsening symptoms, signs or symptoms of suicidal behavior, and/or unusual behavior. Families and caregivers should also be aware of the need to observe patients and notify their treatment provider if symptoms worsen.

Can Magstim TMS Therapy cause brain tumors?2021-11-27T11:24:10-08:00

No, Magstim TMS Therapy uses the same type and strength of magnetic fields as MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), which have been used in tens of millions of patients around the world and have not been shown to cause tumors. The magnetic energy used in a full course of TMS Therapy is a small fraction of just one brain scan with an MRI.

Can I also take antidepressant(s) if I am receiving Magstim TMS Therapy?2021-11-27T11:22:40-08:00

Yes. TMS therapy can be safely and effectively used with or without antidepressant medications.

Why should I try TMS again if I’ve had a depressive relapse?2021-11-27T11:21:50-08:00

Although most patients stay better long-term after a successful course of TMS, depression can be a recurrent condition. Some patients receive booster sessions for recurrence of depression or may benefit from maintenance sessions to prevent depression from returning.

Does FDA-clearance of the Magstim TMS Therapy system mean that all TMS devices are cleared for use in major depression within the United States?2021-11-27T11:26:42-08:00

No, the Magstim TMS Therapy system is the first TMS device to be cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of major depression.

The Magstim TMS Therapy system is also the first TMS device to have been evaluated in a large, multicenter, controlled clinical trial, as well as the only TMS system with the durability of its effects over 12 months established.

Billing and Insurance

Is Magstim TMS therapy covered by my insurance?2021-11-27T11:27:33-08:00

TMS therapy is currently covered by over 80% of insurance providers. If you’re interested in learning more about your personal coverage, contact our TMS specialist at 425-919-6826

In addition to working with most insurance carriers, we have other financing options available. We are able to assist most people to get the care they need. There are payment options available and we will work with you. Call us today at 425-919-6826 to speak with a financial specialist who can help find the right solution for you.

How much will TMS treatments costs if I do not have insurance?2021-12-27T13:51:26-08:00

Eastside TMS and Wellness center offers flexible payment plans to help ensure that the out of pocket costs to patients are manageable. Our top priority is to make sure patients are able to get this life-changing treatment. Please call our office at (425) 919-6826 to discuss costs and payment options.

Why is my copay different from my copay for regular doctor’s visits?2021-11-27T11:21:48-08:00

Your co-pay could be different from your regular doctor’s visits depending on your specific insurance provider and plan. Eastside TMS and Wellness center offers free benefit investigations for patients to help you check what your plan’s coverage for TMS is. We also encourage all patients to check with their insurance on their TMS benefits.

Can I pay per treatment session or will a bulk payment be due before starting treatment?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

We offer flexible payment plans for patients to suit their needs and budgets. Most payments are collected at the time of service per session so there is no need to do a bulk payment before starting your treatment.

If I can’t afford the cost of the treatment are there other options?2021-11-27T11:21:49-08:00

Yes! We offer flexible payment plans to fit patient’s needs. Please call and speak with our TMS coordinator about a payment plan that would work for you.

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