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What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

TMS is a procedure employing a specialized device that generates magnetic fields and creates small electric currents that target specific brain regions. By stimulating these areas, TMS affects levels of neurochemicals such as dopamine, resulting in the relief of symptoms related to the mental health condition being treated. (1) The most common target area is the prefrontal cortex, which plays a vital role in mood and emotional regulation.

Mental Health Disorders That May Be Treated With TMS Include:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Neurological disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Schizophrenia

It’s important to note that the use of TMS is currently only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of depression. Still, it has been used successfully for other mental health conditions with no additional adverse effects. (2) 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Mental Health Disorder Treatment

Guardian Recovery offers transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), an effective, innovative mental health treatment option. TMS is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation that can be very useful in treating depression and other mental health conditions. It is most effective when included in a personalized, comprehensive plan with conventional approaches such as individual therapy and medication management. 

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Benefits of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

TMS can be a valuable option for those who haven’t responded well to medications or psychotherapy alone. It is non-invasive and doesn’t require surgery or anesthesia. Moreover, individuals can expect to resume their normal activities immediately after a session. 

Side effects of TMS are temporary and usually mild, such as minor scalp discomfort or a headache. TMS can also be used as an adjunct to other therapies and potentially increase the overall effectiveness of all treatments. For depression, it has also been associated with a lower risk of relapse than some other approaches.

What To Expect During TMS Treatment Sessions

During a TMS session, the person sits while a TMS coil is placed against their scalp near the forehead. This coil delivers multiple magnetic pulses to the targeted brain region. Sessions typically last 20–40 minutes and are usually administered daily over several weeks as needed based on the individual’s response to treatment.

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Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Covered By Insurance Health Providers?

Insurance coverage for TMS can vary based on several factors, such as the insurance company, the policy, and the condition for which the TMS treatment is intended. TMS is most commonly covered by insurance when used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) or treatment-resistant depression (TRD). (3) You or your treatment provider should check with your insurance to determine if it’s a covered benefit under your policy if a pre-authorization is required, and if co-pays and deductibles may apply.

Our TMS Treatment Intake Process

The intake process for TMS treatment involves several steps to ensure that TMS is suitable for the client and to gather the information necessary to develop a treatment plan. During this process, patients are also educated on the TMS procedure and what to expect from upcoming treatment sessions.

Typical Steps in the TMS Intake Process Include:

  1. An initial consultation to discuss current symptoms, treatment history, and past attempts to manage the condition.
  2. Evaluation and assessments, including interviews and questionnaires, to gather information to help determine if TMS is a suitable treatment option.
  3. Discussion of medical and medication histories.
  4. Physical examination if necessary.
  5. Discussion of the TMS treatment process, including how it works, its benefits, and any potential risks.
  6. Verification of insurance coverage and any required authorizations.
  7. Baseline assessments may be conducted to establish a baseline for tracking progress.
  8. Development of a personalized treatment plan that includes details about the number and frequency of TMS sessions.
  9. Session scheduling with the treatment provider or center.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You are encouraged to browse through the following FAQs and contact us with any further questions or concerns.

You can drive yourself home and engage in your normal activities after a TMS treatment. It’s non-invasive, and side effects are generally brief and mild.

TMS is considered painless, although patients do report experiencing a sensation of knocking or tapping on the scalp during the procedure.

The best way to determine whether TMS is the right treatment for you is to have a psychiatrist or other mental health professional perform an evaluation. In addition to your symptoms and severity, they will consider your medical history, age, and health status to ensure the procedure can be administered safely.

Although TMS can be an effective treatment for some individuals with certain medical conditions, it is not suitable for everyone. It is only considered for those with specific clinical diagnoses and characteristics. The health professional conducting the assessment will determine if the patient is a candidate.

Side effects are usually mild, such as scalp discomfort and headache. Less common effects may include lightheadedness, tingling sensations, hearing changes, and cognitive effects such as difficulty concentrating. In extremely rare cases, seizures have occurred. Patients with bipolar disorder occasionally experience manic or hypomanic episodes. (4)

The duration of TMS treatment varies depending on factors such as the patient’s specific mental health condition and their response to treatment. Between 20 and 30 sessions is most common, although this number may fall outside that range. Sessions during the initial phase typically start at around five per week and may then decrease to just 1–2 per week in the maintenance phase that may follow.

A typical TMS session usually lasts between 20–40 minutes. However, some newer TMS systems use a protocol known as theta burst stimulation, which shortens the session to 10 minutes or less.

Although there may be some mental health conditions not listed here, in general, TMS is used to treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, OCD, neurological disorders, and substance use disorders.

Contact Guardian Recovery To Learn if TMS Is Right for You

If you are seeking help for a mental health condition, you are encouraged to reach out to us today to learn mor e about TMS therapy and receive a free, no-obligation assessment and health benefits check. We are dedicated to ensuring our clients receive practical, individualized care and can access treatments appropriate for their condition. 

At Guardian Recovery, we understand that every person’s circumstances are unique, and our goal is to provide comprehensive support to help them achieve long-lasting health and wellness.

Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

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