Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

TMS is a proven, well-tolerated, drug-free depression treatment1-3 recommended for patients who have not had a satisfactory response to antidepressants or therapy.

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The Brain & Depression

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities that can interfere with daily life.

Research has shown that certain parts of the brain may be under active in people with depression.

TMS for Depression

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive, proven depression treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate these under active nerve cells in the brain.

It is recommended for people who have tried at least 2 antidepressants without a satisfactory response or for those who cannot tolerate antidepressants.

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No longer


>50% symptom

TMS Evidence

Research shows that TMS may be an effective way of reducing depression symptoms and in some cases lead to remission of symptoms.

Real-world studies suggest nearly 3 out of 5 patients respond to TMS and 2 out of 5 patients go into remission, even after trialling multiple antidepressants.1,2

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TMS vs Antidepressants

TMS has been found to be more effective than antidepressants in individuals with treatment resistant depression (those who have not had a satisfactory response to at least two prior antidepressants.)1-3

TMS Side Effects

TMS is generally well-tolerated, with minimal side effects compared to antidepressants or more invasive treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

TMS side effects are often transient and can go away after a couple sessions.

TMS Safety

TMS has been studied for decades without any significant safety concerns and the Australian New-Zealand College of Psychiatrists list TMS as a safe & well-tolerated medical procedure.4

There is a very rare risk of seizure (<1 in 30,000 which is less than many antidepressants.)5,6 Patients will always be seen by a psychiatrist prior to and throughout treatment and will never commence unless it is safe to do so.

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TMS Treatment Process

TMS is typically administered in an outpatient clinic setting, patients receive treatment 3 to 5 times per week for 4 to 6 weeks. Treatment sessions last about 20 minutes.

Referral from Psychiatrist or GP

Psychiatrist safety assessment

Dosing session

Up to 30 treatment sessions, with psychiatrist reviews

Psychiatrist recommended maintenance program (TMS and/or other treatments)

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Frequently Asked

Is TMS the same as electroconvulsive therapy?
No, TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are not the same. While both are used to treat mental health disorders, they work differently. TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific areas of the brain, while ECT uses electrical currents to trigger a brief seizure. TMS is a non-invasive procedure that does not require anaesthesia or muscle relaxants, and does not have the severe side effect profile of ECT. After TMS you can go about your day.
How does TMS work?
TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific areas of the brain that are involved in regulating mood. By targeting these areas, TMS can help improve symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions.
Is TMS covered?
TMS treatment is covered by Medicare, DVA, Workcover, and TAC for eligible patients. However, it's a good idea to check with Bluebell Health’s Patient Experience team to confirm if you may be covered.
What conditions can TMS treat?
Bluebell Health only use TMS to treat major depressive disorder, but research is underway in other disorders.
How long does a TMS session take?
A TMS session typically lasts 20 minutes
Can I continue taking my medication during TMS treatment?
Yes, it is generally recommended that patients continue taking their medications during TMS treatment, unless advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
Will TMS interact with other treatments I'm receiving?
TMS is generally considered safe to use in conjunction with other treatments. However, it's important to discuss any potential interactions with your healthcare provider. Bluebell Health’s psychiatrists will conduct a safety assessment prior to commencing treatment.
What should I expect during a TMS session?
During a TMS session, the patient sits in a chair while a magnetic coil is placed against their scalp. The coil delivers magnetic pulses to stimulate specific areas of the brain. The patient may hear a clicking sound and feel a tapping sensation on their scalp during the session.
How soon will I see results from TMS?
Many patients start to see improvement in their symptoms after a few weeks of TMS treatment, although the timeline can vary depending on the individual.
Can I drive after a TMS session?
Yes, it is generally safe to drive after a TMS session. Unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), TMS does not cause confusion or memory loss.
Are there any restrictions on activities or diet during TMS treatment?
There are no specific restrictions on activities or diet during TMS treatment, however your Bluebell Health Psychiatrist will discuss any concerns with you prior to starting treatment 
Is TMS a suitable treatment option for me?
TMS may be a suitable treatment option for individuals who have not satisfactorily responded to other treatments such as medication or therapy. However, it's important to discuss your individual situation with your healthcare provider to determine if TMS is right for you.

Need more information?
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