TMS therapy is a relatively new treatment for depression that has been shown to be very promising. But how long do the effects of TMS therapy last? Below, we will explore the research on this topic and give you an idea of what to expect from TMS therapy in terms of its long-term effects. But always remember that medical treatments aren’t guaranteed, and their effectiveness can vary from person to person. Always make sure to consult with a qualified medical professional.

What Is TMS Therapy?

TMS therapy is a treatment for depression that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the brain. It was approved by the FDA in 2008 as a treatment for depression, and in some studies, it has been shown to be very effective. Today, some medical professionals consider TMS therapy to be one of the most effective treatments for depression. Others have questions about its long-term viability, but the results are promising.

The Benefits of TMS Therapy

Before we get into this, note that there is no guarantee that any specific individual will get these benefits. Studies are still ongoing. Some believe there is a placebo effect. Others fervently believe in the therapy itself. But these are benefits that have been reported:

  • It is an effective treatment for depression.
  • It does not require medication.
  • There are limited side effects.
  • It is noninvasive.

When positioned like that, it’s easy to see why TMS therapy might be alluring. The only thing that holds TMS therapy back is that the mechanisms by which it works are poorly understood. But it’s hard to argue with the results.

Are There Really No Side Effects to TMS Therapy?

As with any medical treatment, there are some risks associated with TMS therapy. However, the side effects are minimal and usually disappear after a day or two. The most common side effect is a headache, which is generally mild and goes away on its own. Other potential side effects include:

  • Skin irritation at the site of stimulation.
  • Tingling or prickling sensation.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue.

Because TMS therapy is still a relatively new treatment, others may have side effects that they did not anticipate. But TMS has been used successfully for nearly two decades.

How Long Do the Effects of TMS Therapy Last?

The research on the long-term effects of TMS therapy is still relatively limited, but what we do know suggests that the benefits of TMS therapy last for at least several months after treatment is completed. In one study, participants who underwent TMS therapy showed significant improvement in depressive symptoms up to six months after treatment ended. [1]

Similarly, another study found that the benefits of TMS therapy lasted for at least eight months after treatment ended. [2] However, it is important to note that not all studies have shown such long-term benefits. One study found that the positive effects of TMS therapy faded within two months after treatment ended. [3]

Controversy Around TMS Therapy

There is some controversy around TMS therapy, with some people arguing that the long-term benefits have not been proven. However, the majority of research suggests that the benefits of TMS therapy do last for at least several months after treatment ends.

There is some debate about whether the benefits of TMS therapy are due to a placebo effect. However, most experts believe that the positive effects of TMS therapy are real. When it comes to treatment for depression, the line between a positive placebo effect and a “true” effect is blurred regardless. If a patient feels better after treatment, that is a positive outcome. Since there aren’t any long-term or significant side effects, the risks are so minimal that some patients may want to try the procedure regardless.

Overall, the research suggests that TMS therapy is an effective treatment for depression. It does not require medication, has minimal side effects, and is noninvasive. Additionally, the benefits of TMS therapy seem to last for several months after treatment ends. While there is some controversy around TMS therapy, the majority of research suggests that it is a safe and effective treatment for depression.

Talk to Your Doctor About TMS Therapy

You should always talk to your doctor about any new therapy. A doctor who knows your patient history well can advise you about the right course of action for you. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of TMS therapy, contact the expert professionals at Prime Behavioral Health.


[1] “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Depression.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Nov. 2017,

[2] Borckardt, Jeffrey J., et al. “Efficacy of transcranial magnetic stimulation at six months following termination of acute treatment in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled study.” Brain Stimulation 11.02 (2018): 299-307.

[3] Padberg, Frank, et al. “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Patients with Treatment-resistant Depression: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial.” Biol Psychiatry 63.11 (2008): 1119-1121,26.

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