Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in Jacksonville

River Point Behavioral Health offers TMS for adults (18 and up) in one of our outpatient mental health treatment programs. We have extensive experience performing TMS. The small size of our center means you receive the individualized care you deserve.

An older woman smiles as her doctors shows her a medical brochure in a doctor's office

Understanding TMS

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive treatment for depression that hasn’t improved with medication and therapy. TMS may also be right for people with treatment-resistant anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

TMS is a brain stimulation therapy for depression. It uses magnetic waves to activate the part of your brain that regulates mood and emotions. TMS is noninvasive, so it doesn’t involve needles or cuts in your skin. We use a special coil to deliver magnetic pulses to your scalp. The magnetic energy stimulates electrical activity in your brain to help you feel better.

Some common questions about TMS:

Am I a candidate for TMS?

TMS and ECT are both brain stimulation therapies for depression and some other mental health disorders, but they have important differences.

  • Driving: TMS does not affect your driving ability. You can’t drive during ECT treatment.
  • Seizures: TMS does not produce seizures like ECT does.
  • Sedation: You don’t need sedation for TMS. ECT requires general anesthesia.
  • Side effects: People typically have fewer side effects from TMS.
  • Sessions: TMS requires more treatments (36) than ECT (six to 12).

What happens during TMS treatment?

You receive TMS treatment in the comfortable, homelike atmosphere of our office. Your caregivers are by your side throughout the procedure.

For your first TMS treatment, we do “brain mapping” to locate the right spot to deliver treatment, typically the front area of your skull. This area of your brain, called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, regulates your mood and emotions.

During brain mapping:

  1. We deliver magnetic pulses to your prefrontal cortex using a handheld paddle.
  2. We track your brain activity on a monitor.
  3. An involuntary movement, such as a thumb twitch, tells us we’ve found the right spot.

TMS treatment takes about 20 minutes, though your initial treatment with brain mapping takes longer. We place a coil on your scalp. You’ll feel a tapping or knocking sensation on your skull as we deliver the magnetic stimulation. You won’t feel any pain. After treatment, you can return to work and regular activities right away.

What are the side effects of TMS?

TMS has very few side effects. You may have a slight headache or neck ache after treatment. Some people notice a temporary ringing in their ears or have mild scalp irritation.

How many TMS treatments do I need?

Most people need 30 to 36 sessions of TMS for depression. The results are gradual, so you may not feel better immediately. Most patients report feeling the positive effects of TMS after about 15 sessions. We monitor your progress closely and adjust the dose or frequency of TMS to meet your needs.