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Comparing Deep TMS with Other Depression Treatments: Efficacy, Side Effects, and Safety



In India, depression is a commonly prevalent mental health condition that affects millions. Thankfully, there are various treatment options available to manage depression and improve one’s quality of life. Amongst these, Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) has emerged as an innovative therapy.


In this blog, we will compare dTMS with other treatment options, including medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), in terms of their efficacy, side effects, and safety.


1. Efficacy

  • Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (Deep TMS): Deep TMS is a US FDA approved, non-invasive procedure that utilises magnetic fields to safely and effectively regulate the Deeper regions of the brain like the prefrontal cortex, which is a region of the brain that is involved in mood regulation, decision-making, and planning, associated with depression. Several clinical studies have demonstrated significant reductions in depressive symptoms and improved mood with dTMS therapy.

  • Medications: Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are commonly prescribed for depression. They work by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood. Though medications are generally effective, it can cause side effects such as weight gain or sexual dysfunction.

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): ECT induces a brief set of controlled seizures that stimulate the brain’s neural activity. It is a well established treatment to treat severe depression, especially when other treatments have been ineffective.


Though highly effective, ECT is not for everyone. It requires full sedation under anaesthesia, which complicates the recovery process.


2. Side Effects

  • Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS): Research and clinical studies have shown dTMS therapy to be safe and well-tolerated with minimal-to-no side effects. The minimal side effects typically pass away shortly after the initial treatment session.

  • Medications: Medications may cause a range of side effects such as nausea, weight gain, dizziness, and sexual dysfunction. In some cases, individuals may experience severe side effects or adverse reactions to medications.

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): ECT is generally considered safe and well-tolerated when administered by trained professionals. However, it can cause temporary and short-term side effects such as temporary memory loss.


3. Safety

  • Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS): Deep TMS therapy is a non-invasive process that doesn’t require any sedation or anaesthesia to be administered.

  • Medications: The safety of antidepressant medications depends on the individual’s medical history and potential drug reactions. A thorough evaluation by a medical professional is essential before prescribing medications.

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): ECT is generally safe when administered by a healthcare professional. However, it is reserved for severe cases of depression only and due to the need for anaesthesia, there is potential for temporary memory loss and confusion.


Deep TMS has shown promising results, particularly for individuals with treatment-resistant depression, as a non-invasive and well-tolerated therapy option. Antidepressant medications remain a commonly prescribed treatment for depression, while ECT is reserved for severe cases when other treatments have not yielded sufficient results.


Ultimately, the choice of depression treatment should be based on an individual's unique needs, medical history, and preferences, in consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.


If you or a loved one is showing symptoms of depression, book a consultation with our mental healthcare professionals at Asha Neuromodulation Clinics. Don't wait to find the support and care you deserve.


Our mission lies in seeing every person living their lives to the fullest.


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