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By: Richard Williams

If you would like to listen, the show is available on BBC Sounds and the discussion was broadcast on 04 July 2022, starting at 1hr 05

We know how great TMS is and how effective it is, so to hear it being discussed on Radio 2 with Jeremy Vine is incredible.

Jeremy opened the discussion by asking about the similarities between TMS and ECT. Dr. Sarah Jarvis dealt with these questions by stating that TMS and ECT should not be confused with each other. ECT is Electroconvulsive Therapy that requires an anesthetic, as you must be unconscious. An electric shock is then passed through the brain, effectively inducing a seizure.

TMS is not that, TMS allows the patient to be awake and is described by Dr. Sarah Jarvis as “as simple as going and sitting in a chair” and keeping your head still. Dr. Sarah Jarvis also explained that during treatment you could listen to music, read a book or magazine, and following treatment you can even drive home.

Another treatment that TMS is confused with is Vagus Nerve Stimulation. Dr. Sarah Jarvis explains that these are not the same by advising this treatment “involves implanting something, basically a vagal nerve stimulator sends regular but very mild pulses of electrical energy into your brain via the Vagus Nerve”.

Points that were discussed

One point discussed was when Dr. Jarvis’ suggested that TMS is only applicable to people who have been through therapy and/or taking antidepressants that have failed to work. Whilst this may be the case within the NHS, it is not true within the NICE guidance limits. TMS could and should be considered by those who don’t want to take medication, perhaps because of the likely side effects. It could also be considered for those who are too unwell to engage effectively with talking therapy.

Dr. Jarvis suggested that TMS is not a treatment for “mild depression” – again this is not in line with the NICE guidance. We have seen patients with mild depression experience great success in their recovery with TMS treatment.

Dr. Jarvis highlighted the lack of certainty on the mechanism of action of TMS. However, this should not be a concern. As it is not known what exactly causes depression in the first instance, it is hardly surprising that the mechanisms of “repairing” it are also unclear.

Richard Williams our lead practitioner had to say this…

Richard, who is our lead practitioner and is also a former patient of TMS, described how he “got his life back” through receiving 25 sessions of TMS treatment in 2016.

Richard quite rightly highlighted that one session of TMS will not have a clinical effect. For depression, it is recommended to have 20-30 sessions of treatment as most patients will see a positive response to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.

It is true that not all patients respond to TMS. But that is also true of anti-depressants or talking therapies. Working out what exact treatment works for each individual patient remains elusive.

TMS for depression through private medical insurers

There was a lot of talk about TMS being a private medical treatment or in some cases that it is available with the NHS. Richard pointed out early on in his involvement in the conversation, that medical aid is available through Private Medical Insurers (PMI). PMIs cover TMS treatment for Depression.

Contact us to discuss further

We would like to thank Radio 2 and Jeremy Vine for covering the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatments on their show, which should help to raise awareness of it as an effective treatment for depression. It does also include, OCD, Anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues.

If you would like to listen, the show is available on BBC Sounds and the discussion was broadcast on 04 July 2022, starting at 1hr 05