For many people, treatment for mental health conditions involves taking a course of medication or attending counseling for some time until symptoms ease up. However, for others, medication or talk therapies do not work. When treatment is unsuccessful, it can leave many feeling hopeless, worried, and lost.
The good news is that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy can significantly improve symptoms. As a relatively new form of therapy, it has shown promising benefits in those who have previously been resistant to other forms of treatment.
One of the major questions for those seeking this form of treatment is how much does TMS therapy cost?
This article outlines what TMS therapy is and provides the information needed to understand whether it is a financially viable option..
When considering TMS therapy, it is common to wonder how much TMS therapy costs. While the cost of TMS therapy has reduced in recent years, if the course of treatment is paid for up-front, it is expensive. Although the price will vary depending on where it is administered, one TMS therapy session typically costs approximately $300.
Due to the necessity of having multiple sessions over several weeks, the total cost for a course of TMS therapy is roughly between $6,000 and $12,000. However, the total cost of TMS therapy can fluctuate depending on the clinic attended.
The good news is that since 2013, most major insurance companies have covered the cost of TMS therapy. This means that it will generally cost something similar to a course of antidepressants.
Many insurance providers have specific eligibility requirements that a client must meet to qualify for insurance coverage. The general criteria for someone with a severe major depressive disorder include:
TMS therapy, therefore, is a cost-effective option if the above criterion is met. Although clients are required to contribute to the cost of treatment, insurance makes it a lot more affordable for many.
To determine whether insurance covers the cost of TMS therapy, it is best to contact insurance providers directly.
Severe depression is a mental health condition most commonly treated with TMS therapy. For insurance companies to cover TMS therapy, it must be FDA cleared, which it is. Unfortunately, most other conditions are not yet covered by many insurance providers.
Related article: TMS in Florida
TMS therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) was approved in 2018. However, lots of insurance companies do not yet cover the costs.
Those with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could benefit from TMS therapy. However, they have not yet been cleared by the FDA as treatment, meaning that an insurance company won't cover the cost. This, of course, will make the TMS treatment more expensive.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is a non-invasive therapy. This means that it does not involve medical instruments or anything inside the body. Instead, an electromagnetic coil is placed over the prefrontal cortex, responsible for regulating mood.
TMS treatment is primarily used to treat depression and is safe with high success rates. It can also be used to treat a range of other mental health disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and Tourette's syndrome, to name a few.
Although medication and talk therapy are successful forms of treating depression symptoms, they do not work for everyone. In fact, as many as 30% of people suffering from depression who have tried these therapies have found that they have not worked.
For some people, they are wholly ineffective, and for others, they may work for a while before ceasing to work as intended. If this sounds familiar, treatment-resistant depression may be present, and TMS therapy could be beneficial.
TMS therapy is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for treating depression and can be an excellent option for those struggling with traditional therapies.
TMS treatment involves an electromagnetic coil being placed over the left prefrontal cortex. Impulses are released during this non-invasive procedure under the guidance of a TMS technician.
To prepare for treatment, clients need to have honest conversations with doctors to establish their physical and mental health. It is also vital to remove magnetic items, such as jewelry, as the treatment involves magnets which could interfere with the procedure.
Before TMS treatment is carried out, the client's head is measured to ensure the coil is correctly aligned. Once the coil has been correctly positioned just above the forehead, magnetic stimulation begins, and impulses are released. These impulses are low intensity, with some people stating that they feel a slight tapping on their scalp. However, this is not painful.
During the treatment, it is common to hear loud clicking sounds. In some instances, TMS technicians provide earplugs to protect a client's ears from the noise.
Read more: TMS Therapy at home
Both electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy are similar, and some people may get the two confused. They both produce chemicals in the brain that regulate well-being and mood and stimulate the brain as a form of treatment. The two treatments are also mainly used for treatment-resistant depression.
However, they have many differences. ECT, for example, works by giving the brain electric shocks, causing it to seize, which essentially resets the brain. TMS therapy, on the other hand, uses low-intensity magnetic pulses.
Read more: Pros and Cons of TMS Therapy
Furthermore, ECT has many side effects, such as memory loss, confusion, and nausea. Meanwhile, TMS therapy is generally well tolerated. ECT also requires a general anesthetic, whereas clients remain awake during TMS therapy. This is because TMS uses magnetic stimulation, whereas ECT works through administering electric shocks.
Additionally, ECT must be performed in an operating room in a hospital, while TMS is more straightforward and conducted in a doctor's office. Most clients who undergo TMS find they can go about their day as expected after a TMS session.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation can be quite time-consuming. Overall, the treatment will last from thirty to sixty minutes. This treatment will be repeated five days per week over the space of four to six weeks in total. Some factors may affect the length of treatment, such as the psychiatric disorder it is being used to treat as well as response to treatment
Related article: How many TMS Sessions are needed?
As a method of treating depression symptoms, TMS is cost-effective for those with health insurance. Most people with medical insurance coverage will be able to get the majority of the cost covered, which decreases the overall price.
Depending on an individual's income, some people will be able to afford TMS therapy without insurance coverage. However, for many, this will not be achievable.
For those on low incomes or who do not meet the criteria asked for by insurance companies, it may, unfortunately, seem too expensive, preventing them from taking advantage.
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