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How rTMS therapy can support with treatment for depression

Depression is a serious mental health condition that causes people to experience intense and persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair. The usual first-line treatment for depression is talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), combined with anti-depressant medication, most notably selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

However, for some people, these initial treatment methods are unsuccessful in alleviating the symptoms of depression. In these cases, a new and innovative treatment method, known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), can be used as a means of helping people to overcome their depression and return to the healthy and fulfilling life that they deserve.

rTMS is a safe, effective and non-invasive method for treating depression, which uses rapidly changing magnetic fields to stimulate areas of the brain that are involved in mood regulation. rTMS is typically used to treat people who haven’t responded to medication and therapy, or for people who are unable to take or tolerate medication. This novel approach is evidence-based and has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

We are proud to be able to offer rTMS at Priory Wellbeing Centre Harley Street, which is one of the few places in the country where this state-of-the-art treatment can be accessed.

How does rTMS work?

During an rTMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed on your head, just above your temple. Once this is in place, the electromagnet delivers electrical currents that stimulate the areas of your brain that are involved in mood control and depression.  This increases the electrical activity in your brain and causes your brain cells to connect more effectively with each other, which has been found to reduce depression and improve mood.

What can you expect during rTMS treatment?

Initial consultation

You will have an initial consultation with one of our depression treatment experts, to confirm your diagnosis of depression, review your medical history and get an understanding of any previous treatments you have received for depression. They will also talk you through all the treatment options that are available to you at Priory.

Your first session

rTMS sessions are administered by a specialist rTMS technician. Before treatment begins, your specialist will need to determine the best place to put the electromagnetic coil on your head, as well as the most appropriate dose of energy for you.

During each session

rTMS takes place on an outpatient basis, and each session will last for about 40 minutes. During this time, you will sit in a comfortable chair with the electromagnetic coil placed on your head and will hear clicking noises and feel tapping on your head. rTMS sessions are usually administered 4-5 days per week over a 4-week period.

What are the benefits of rTMS?

  • Highly effective based on clinical trials
  • Very few side effects (the most common side effects are local skin warming and a brief, mild headache)
  • Therapeutic benefits and effects can be seen after 1 week
  • Available on an outpatient basis, enabling flexibility, convenience and ease of access
  • You are able to resume normal daily activities (including driving) immediately after a treatment session
  • rTMS can work alongside medication and talking therapy if required

What do the experts say?

Dr Leon Rozewicz (MBBS, FRCPsych, MRCGP, MRCPsych), Medical Director at Priory Wellbeing Centre Harley Street said:

“rTMS is a novel and very promising treatment for depression and is safe and effective. It is particularly useful where other treatment approaches have not worked and has fewer adverse effects than other pharmacological or physical treatments.”  

Contact Priory today

For more information on the specialist mental health services that are offered at Priory Wellbeing Centre Harley Street, and to learn more about rTMS, contact us today.

Get in Touch Today

For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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