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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation ("TMS") has been FDA-approved for treatment of depression since 2008 and has been approved for this use in Europe, Canada, Australia, and the United States.

Other promising areas of research include treating the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. However, TMS is expensive compared to CES, and the Cochrane Collaboration seriously questions its efficacy. TMS is experimental, not supported by persuasive clinical evidence or endorsed by any source, and usually not reimbursed by insurance. Moreover, unlike CES, TMS treatments require a therapist in attendance and are expensive.

Side Effects

No drug interactions have been noted. Single pulse TMS stimulation is considered safer than repetitive TMS ("rTMS"). However, in rare cases, seizures may follow single pulse TMS stimulation in people with stroke or other disorders involving the central nervous system. RTMS has been reported to cause seizures in individuals without pre-existing conditions when certain combinations of stimulation frequency and intensity are used, and guidelines have been developed to avoid this. Common adverse effects of rTMS are discomfort or pain from the stimulation of the scalp and associated nerves and muscles on the overlying skin. This is more common with rTMS than single pulse TMS.


Promising, but not yet proven. But given minimal side effects, experimentation with TMS is a reasonable choice if other treatments prove ineffective or poorly tolerated.

For detailed information on TMS and other treatments, download the full review.