Medical Center MEDICA 2005

Affiliates Sofia, Vidin and
MC Academica 2008 - Pleven
Medica 2005 Medical Center
Home Activites Depression



TMS for depression

Clinical depression differs from simple mood swings and short-term emotional changes in response to daily challenges, especially when episodes are severe and prolonged.

Major depression is a serious illness, which in severe cases leads to suicidal incidents. As many as 1 in 10 people may develop clinical depression or anxiety at some point. About 5 in 100 adults develop a major depressive episode each year. Sometimes the episodes are mild and last for weeks. In 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men, the depressive episode is severe enough to require treatment.

Clinical studies show that when small electrical impulses are induced in the prefrontal cortex, this is followed by an increase in blood flow and glucose metabolism, leading to increased neuronal activity, improved mood and executive functions. rTMS stimulation of the mood-regulating left prefrontal cortex activates brain cells and triggers a neuro-biochemical cascade, incl. release of dopamine and serotonin, during which normalization of neurotransmitter functions occurs.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Many people can recognize the symptoms of depression. However, some people are unaware that they are depressed. They don't feel well and don't function normally, but don't know why? Some of them think they have a physical illness - eg. if they lose weight.

  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Fatigue easily and lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Pessimistic feelings
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, restlessness and anxiety
  • Loss of interest in recreational activities and hobbies

TMS treatment of clinical depression

TMS affects depression by modulating the activity of brain neural circuits involved in mood regulation.

  • Stimulation of neural circuits – during TMS sessions, the electromagnetic coil is placed on the skull near the forehead. The coil generates magnetic pulses that travel through the skull into the brain.
  • Neuroplasticity – repetitive magnetic stimulation can induce changes in neuronal activity and neuronal connections, a phenomenon called – neuroplasticity. This process affects the brain capacity to reorganize and form new neural connections, which help restore normal brain functions and affect depression.
  • Neurotransmitter regulation – TMS can affect the release and activity of certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which play a key role in mood regulation.
  • Long-term effect – the cumulative effect of rTMS sessions over several weeks can produce long-lasting improvement in depressive symptoms. These long-term effects are likely the result of TMS-induced gradual changes in neural circuitry and neurotransmitter function.

Benefits of TMS treatment for major depression

TMS is a proven effective treatment for depression, which has a number of advantages over traditional therapeutic approaches:

  1. Non-invasive treatment. TMS is a non-invasive procedure, meaning it does not require surgery or anesthesia. Brain stimulation is much safer than electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
  2. Absence of systemic side effects. Unlike antidepressant medications, which can cause weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and nausea, TMS is not associated with such side effects. Most of the side effects are mild and limited to the side of stimulation, such as headache and scalp discomfort.
  3. High success rate – TMS is highly effective in treating depression, especially in cases that do not respond to antidepressants. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated significant improvement in depressive symptoms following TMS.
  4. Reduction of exacerbations – Studies have shown a reduced number of exacerbations in depressed patients treated with TMS. Strengthening neural connections as a result of TMS may help maintain a long-lasting therapeutic effect.