Is your teen or young adult struggling with OCD, depression, or anxiety? Have the treatments you've tried for their mental illness just not worked? Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, could be the therapy your son or daughter needs to heal. 

What Is TMS Therapy?

TMS therapy is a safe, low-risk, and noninvasive form of brain stimulation treatment that requires no posttreatment downtime. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is used when other mental health treatments and medications have not been effective. TMS is approved by the FDA for ages 18 and older to treat:  

TMS has also successfully treated teens and young adults who have issues with the following: 

TMS provider prepares RTMS treatment for female patient in therapy office

The History of TMS

  • 1960s: Transcranial magnetic stimulation was first explored when researchers, based on scientist Michael Faraday and physician Jacques-Arsène d'Arsonval's early work, investigated the effects of stimulating the brain through magnetic fields.  
  • Mid-1980s: TMS took a leap when Anthony Barker, Ph.D., used magnetic fields to treat mental health conditions.  
  • 2008-2018: The Food and Drug Administration approved TMS as a treatment for issues such as depression in 2008 and OCD in 2018.  

Over time, TMS has been shown to greatly improve symptoms for a series of mental health conditions. 

How Does TMS Work?

TMS works by placing electromagnets on specific, targeted positions on the head to create magnetic fields that stimulate the nerve cells in the brain. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine these fields generate electric pulses that activate regions in the brain believed to regulate mood. Specifically, TMS works by using the prefrontal cortex, to target and treat major depressive disorder and OCD. 

During treatment, a cushioned coil will be placed against your teen or young adult’s head, releasing a slight warming sensation. TMS treatment is a non-drug, noninvasive treatment, so your son or daughter can get back to their day and normal activities right away. TMS can take place in an outpatient therapy setting where your teen or young adult will receive up to five treatments a week for six to nine weeks. Sessions are typically 18 to 45 minutes each. Embark Behavioral Health's high standards of treatment ensure that all TMS services provided are administered with compassion and skill. At Embark Behavioral Health we provide transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment alongside psychotherapy.   

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Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Embark Behavioral Health offers repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation or (rTMS), which uses a small electromagnetic coil that is placed against the head to stimulate the brain through repetitive electrical pulses. Differing electrical pulse frequencies painlessly stimulate the region of the brain involved in mood control and depression where the brain isn’t firing optimally. rTMS helps to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to increase neural connectivity and promote healing. It can be used to treat conditions such as major depressive disorder, OCD, and smoking cessation. 

Woman undergoes TMS treatment in therapy office
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Insurance for TMS

TMS treatment at Embark is covered by most major insurance plans if your teen or young adult has a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, has had one to four medication failures, and has had unsuccessful results with psychotherapy. It can also be covered by Medicaid and Medicare in many areas. If you’re interested in TMS for your son or daughter, we can help you demystify the complicated insurance process and get started with this therapy as soon as possible. 

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Signs TMS Therapy Could Help

TMS therapy works well for adolescents 18 years and older who’ve had unsuccessful results treating issues like major depressive disorder or OCD through medication and/or talk therapy. Criteria that can help you decide if TMS treatment is right for your son or daughter include: 

  • 1

    Unsuccessful Results From Antidepressants

    If medication has not successfully treated your teen or young adult’s major depressive disorder or OCD or helped them quit smoking, TMS therapy may help them overcome these challenges.  

  • 2

    No Remission From Symptoms

    As your son or daughter has increasing amounts of unsuccessful treatments using medication, the chance of going into remission from symptoms can decrease. TMS treatment can help your teen or young adult return to normal functioning and overcome difficult mental health challenges where other treatment options have failed.     

  • 3

    Negative Side Effects From Medication

    If your teen or young adult has had extreme negative side effects from medications such as anxiety, weight gain, or suicidal thoughts, TMS may be a safer option.  

  • 4

    Not Wanting To Use Medications

    If you feel antidepressants and medications just aren't right for your son or daughter, TMS therapy could be an excellent next step.  

  • 5

    Diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or a Desire To Quit Smoking

    If your teen or young adult is struggling with major depressive disorder or OCD or trying to quit smoking, TMS could be a helpful treatment option.

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TMS Success Rate

Evidence that TMS is successful is seen in reduced rates of self-injury and suicidal behavior, reduced hospital visits and inpatient stays, improved social functioning, and being less likely to drop out of treatment.  

For example, according to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, transcranial magnetic stimulation has been shown to be successful in driving up remission rates (nonexistent or minimal depressive symptoms) in patients with major depressive disorder. For patients who’ve tried and failed to see a response with depression medications, there have been positive responses rates from TMS treatment. The Journal of Affective Disorders study showed up to an 83% response rate (experiencing noticeable relief) and up to a 62% remission rate. About one-third of people who receive TMS therapy for depression after not receiving relief from medications see a full remission of symptoms, according to Harvard Medical School. Another study published in Frontiers of Psychiatry showed that TMS treatment can successfully reduce the rates of suicidal thoughts in patients. 

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Is TMS Right for Your Teen or Young Adult?

The best way to decide if TMS therapy is right for your son or daughter is to talk with one of our mental health specialists at Embark at Campbell. They’ll consider your teen or young adult’s symptoms, treatment history, and goals and help you find TMS therapy near you. 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation at Embark at Campbell

Embark Behavioral Health offers transcranial magnetic stimulation at Embark at Campbell. Reach out today to find TMS therapy is right for you. 

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Campbell, California 

Treatment for pre-teens, teens, and young adults