rTMS and ECT Treatment

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What is rTMS and ECT?

There are several different options for the treatment of mental disorders. When medication fails to alleviate the symptoms of a mental health condition, there are other options to try. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are two alternative treatments that a psychiatrist may choose as the best treatment for a patient. Both are psychiatric treatments used to provide relief from mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. What is the difference between the two?

According to a journal published by the National Institutes of Health, rTMS is a non-invasive and relatively painless tool that has been used to study various cognitive functions as well as to understand the brain-behavior relationship in normal individuals as well as in those with various neuropsychiatric disorders. It involves using a magnet to target and stimulate certain areas of the brain.

ECT is a procedure, done under general anesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. When other forms of treatment or therapy do not help the patient overcome what he or she is going through, ECT is a depression treatment option that is sometimes used.

When are these therapies used?

ECT and rTMS can be used to treat a variety of mental disorders, however these two treatments are most commonly used for severe depression. Aside from treating severe depression, ECT is also used for:

  • Severe mania
  • Catatonia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Psychotic episodes

rTMS can be used for:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Suicidal thought
  • Catatonia

Is ECT or rTMS right for me?

A psychiatrist will determine if ECT or rTMS is the best depression treatment option for you. We recommend scheduling a time to speak with a local psychiatrist to get a full diagnosis and treatment plan figured out. If you are in Los Angeles, Dr. Mark Herbst is one of the best anxiety and depression psychiatrists in the Los Angeles area. Schedule a consultation with him, and he can determine if ECT or rTMS are good treatment options for your mental health condition.