I’m Depressed; How Long Until I Feel Better with TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is still a fairly new tool in the shed of tools we have to fight depression. And as with any new treatment, patients still have questions and concerns that are going unanswered – Will it hurt? Will it give me nasty side effects? Will it work for me? If you or a loved one is currently suffering from depression and are considering TMS Therapy, I recommend you visit our TMS FAQ section or contact us for a free consultation.

While our FAQ section will surely answer your most pressing question, there is still one that needs to be answered on a case-by-case basis; when will I feel better? We tried to answer these questions as best as we could.

TMS Therapy sessions range from 20 to 30 treatments over a 4-6 week period, when do patients start noticing a change?

Because every patient is different, reaction to treatment can vary. Some patients may notice small changes after week 2 and others not until week 4 or 5.

What are the first things they usually notice?

It is the small, everyday things that count. Small changes like having a better night’s sleep, waking up on time and getting out of bed, making more independent decisions. Some of our patients reported feeling “good” in the mornings, they were dressing more nicely, having increased patience with family members, feeling like they could resume working, motivated to be more social; these are all signs of improvement!

How long will these signs of improvement last? Do patients need to keep coming back for Maintenance Therapy?

Again, every patient and every case is different. Some people may need maintenance therapy and some won’t. It depends on so many other factors like age, number of medication tried and failed, ECT, support systems, therapy, diet, exercise ….  The more they do to upkeep their results, the longer lasting they will be.  It is extremely complex to know what happened in a patient’s life to pinpoint what triggered a relapse; as an example, if someone gets better and then they experience a devastating event (such as a death in the family) then that can easily trigger a depressed episode. Finding the right “formula” for each individual person is key and we take pride in helping every patient understand their own situation.  As you mentioned before, TMS is one tool in a whole shed of tools. Diet, exercise, healthy sleep habits, surrounding yourself with a support system, continuing talk therapy, amongst other activities will ultimately result in overall remission and sustainability.

Learn more about the Greenbrook TMS Neurohealth team.