Should I Choose TMS Instead of Medication?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers a non-invasive, pain-free way to treat a number of serious psychiatric conditions. While that already makes it appealing to many patients, many are particularly attracted to the fact that TMS can be an effective long-term treatment without requiring mood altering or psychotropic drugs.

Whether you haven’t responded to medication in the past, have difficulty tolerating side effects, or simply would prefer not to use prescription drugs, TMS may be the treatment option for you. TMS can also be an effective add-on or boost when used in combination with drugs. Instead of a higher dose of medication, what may benefit you most is TMS.

At LiveWell TMS in Huntington, NY, Dr. Nina Greif offers gentle and compassionate TMS care for her many patients who prefer to take a drug-free approach to their mental health. If you’re wondering whether to choose between TMS or traditional medication, here’s just a few of the factors you should consider.

TMS can be used with medication

If you’re already responding well to a specific medication without any unpleasant side effects, you can add TMS treatment to boost your chances of recovery. Because TMS is a drug-free procedure, it can be used with your existing medical regimen. 

In fact, some studies suggest medication may even have an increased efficacy when used alongside TMS treatment. If you do choose to use both types of treatments, be sure to discuss this with Dr. Greif and let your prescribing psychiatrist know first.

Medications can have frustrating side effects

Whether you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, ADHD or another condition, psychiatric medications can come with a range of disruptive to even dangerous side effects. For many people, these medications can be wonderful tools for mental health, but many others suffer from symptoms that make it impossible to continue taking them.

For example, stimulants for ADHD can cause insomnia, mood swings, and appetite changes, while antidepressants often cause dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, headaches, weight gain and loss of libido. Some psychiatric medicines even come with serious long-term health risks, like the risk of tardive dyskinesia (which causes jerky, uncontrolled movement), serotonin syndrome, difficult withdrawal symptoms, and sometimes even increased suicidal thoughts. 

If medication side effects are getting in the way of you feeling your best, TMS may be the best option for you. Don’t worry about whether your side effects are serious enough to justify looking into other options. Effective mental health treatment is about what works best for you, personally, and should improve your life instead of adding to your challenges. 

TMS can help treatment-resistant mental illness

More than 50 percent of patients with depression do not achieve remission after their first course of antidepressants, and about 33 percent of patients don’t experience remission after four courses. This means many people are suffering from mental illnesses that don’t respond to conventional medications, making them “treatment-resistant.”

Because continued treatment with different medications is unlikely to improve treatment-resistant mental illnesses, many providers recommend trying alternative treatments such as TMS. TMS has been shown to work extremely well with patients suffering from treatment-resistant conditions offering the possibility of long-term remission well after the treatment concludes. 

TMS can be more cost-effective and timely

Most antidepressants and psychiatric drugs take weeks or months to show their full effect, if they show a noticeable effect at all. While you’re waiting to see if they’ll be effective, you’re likely to experience uncomfortable side effects along the way. TMS, on the other hand, can show results in a matter of weeks, and allow you to avoid a tiring trial-and-error process with different medications. 

Additionally, because these sessions are so much quicker to work, they are cost-effective too. Studies have shown that by using TMS instead of medication, your initial costs for a treatment course are lower and you are less likely to incur follow-up treatment costs as well. 

If you’re still wondering whether to choose TMS over traditional medication, or to use it as a supplement to your existing treatment plan, call LiveWill TMS at 631-228-7674 or request an appointment online to speak with Dr. Greif. During your consultation, Dr. Greif can help you learn about how TMS can help you.  

You Might Also Enjoy...

Is OCD Treatable?

If you’ve been diagnosed with OCD, you may be wondering whether it’s treatable and curable. While it is a challenging diagnosis, there are treatments available to help.

Help! My Anxiety Won't Calm Down

Racing thoughts, sleepless nights, frantic worries: having anxiety can be downright exhausting. Here’s what to do if you can’t seem to get your anxiety under control.

Can TMS Help My ADHD?

Do you struggle with ADHD? TMS offers a safe, FDA-approved, and drug-free way to improve your focus, attention, and impulse control.

When Does Anxiety Warrant Professional Help?

It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious from time to time, but if it’s starting to interfere with your daily life, you deserve professional help. Find out when to seek help with your anxiety.

How Does TMS Help PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a challenging condition that can affect every aspect of your life. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation can help you recover and get back to your daily routine.