Searching for an alternative to ECT therapy? TMS is an excellent alternative to ECT therapy. It does not have the negative side effects of ECT. For example, TMS does not have cognitive and memory problems that is typically associated with ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy). Typically, ECT therapy is done on an inpatient basis (though they do have outpatient ECT clinics). ECT also requires an anesthesiologist to administer anesthesia prior to each treatment. TMS does not require any anesthesia and does not require an anesthesiologist. With ECT, the patient will typically have a “recovery period” after the procedure and will not be able to drive home by themselves. With TMS, you will have no recovery period and can drive after the procedure. Also, with TMS there is no seizure that is induced.
There are also rare and potential fatal side effects of ECT. There is a rare risk of death resulting from anesthesia, cardiovascular complications, or a stroke. There is a rare risk of a seizure with TMS therapy. Each method of treatment has it’s place in the treatment of depression and other psychiatric conditions, but there are differences that are highlighted. See our table below.
To summarize the differences between ECT therapy and TMS therapy:
|Requires anesthesia||Does not require anesthesia|
|Medications are required||Medications are not required|
|Stimulation of the brain is done via electricity||Stimulation of the brain is done via magnetic pulses|
|The patient requires a recovery period after the procedure and cannot drive home by themselves||No recovery period. Can drive home|
|Memory problems are common||No side effect of memory problems|
|Rare risk of death resulting from anesthesia, cardiovascular complications, stroke||Rare risk of seizure|
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