Results

If repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) works for you, your depression symptoms may improve or go away completely. Symptom relief may take a few weeks of treatment.

Repetitive TMS may be less likely to work if:

  • Your mental illness includes detachment from reality (psychotic symptoms)
  • Your depression has lasted for several years
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) hasn't worked to improve depression symptoms

The effectiveness of rTMS may improve as researchers learn more about techniques, the number of stimulations required and the best sites on the brain to stimulate.

Ongoing treatment

It's not yet known if maintenance rTMS sessions will benefit your depression. This involves continuing treatment when you are symptom-free with the hope that it will prevent the return of symptoms. Most insurance companies don't cover maintenance rTMS.

However, if your depression improves with rTMS, and then later you have another episode of symptoms, your rTMS treatment can be repeated. This is called re-induction. Some insurance companies will cover re-induction.

If your symptoms improve with rTMS, discuss ongoing or maintenance treatment options for your depression with your doctor.