Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an alternative non-pharmacological, non-invasive treatment to conventional depression treatments like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In a reflective study conducted with 81 patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression, results supported that most patients were more likely to choose TMS therapy for long-term treatment.


During TMS treatment, the treating physician will attach an electromagnetic coil to the patient’s forehead to stimulate nerve cell activity. The added stimulation helps to treat psychological symptoms associated with OCD, Tourette’s Syndrome, and depression.

Alternatively, ECT requires a physician to pass a strong electric current through a patient’s brain. The therapy’s goal is to generate brief and sudden seizures that can alter the symptoms and effects of mental illness. Both are equally valid ways of treating depression, but in many cases, a non-invasive, low-risk TMS treatment is the preferred option.

Benefits and Effects of TMS Therapy

With the use of updated and improved treatment parameters, the efficacy of TMS has seen a significant increase over the past years. Several recent studies have supported that TMS treatment is effective after four to eight weeks of treatment and produces long-term, consistent improvement in patient well being.

The advantages of TMS therapy include:

  • A process that is well-tolerated and non-invasive. TMS treatment does not require any kind of anesthetic.
  • Significant improvement in mental health for patients who struggle with medicinal treatment.
  • No daily interruptions. Patients receiving TMS can continue with their daily routines as there are minimal adverse side effects and no anesthetic injections are required.
  • No noticeable memory impairment.

Benefits and Effects of ECT

ECT provides significant and rapid improvements in individuals suffering from severe mental disorders. This therapy is primarily used to treat the following conditions:

  • Depression that causes loss of appetite and suicidal tendencies; particularly major depressive disorder with psychotic features.
  • Treatment-resistant disorders that are not improved through other treatments and medication.
  • States of intense euphoria, mania, hyperactivity, or agitation that might result from bipolar disorder.
  • Catatonia, categorized by strange or no movements, impairment of speech, and other unusual behavior.
  • Psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.

Side Effects – TMS vs. ECT

The side effects of TMS therapy do not inhibit the patient from carrying out daily life with ease. Further, TMS can be used in conjunction with exercise and psychotherapy. On the other hand, TMS’s most notable adverse side effect is a minor headache that usually dissipates within a few sessions.

Carrying out day-to-day functions may be difficult when undergoing ECT, as this therapy is sometimes too extreme for treating depressive symptoms. Short-term memory loss is also a reported side effect of ECT.

In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to be able to tend to everyday life immediately after therapy is essential. If this is a concern, TMS may be the better treatment option for you.

To learn more about TMS, visit or call (914) 468-6084 today. We are ready to help!