What is TMS?

TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation - is a painless and effective treatment for depression and has been used to treat thousands of patients worldwide. It has also been used to treat conditions such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

At TMS Australia we use repetitive TMS to precisely target the area of the brain that is involved in depression. The benefit to our patients may include a life free from depression and less antidepressant use. Some patients may be able to stop taking antidepressants altogether.

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TMS targets your prefrontal cortex and stimulates the limbic system.

Why has my doctor decided TMS is right for me?

The Australian Psychiatrists’ Guidelines recommend a step-wise approach to the management of depression, TMS is normally recommended when a patient has been unresponsive to 2 or more Antidepressants. Why may someone be unresponsive to antidepressants?:

Step 0
  • Stop taking any substances that can affect mood
  • Introduce lifestyle changes such as improving sleep routine, quitting smoking, increasing exercise and eating a healthy diet
Step 1
  • Psychosocial interventions (e.g. education, support groups)
  • Psychological therapy
  • Medication
No response to at least 2 antidepressants
Step 2
  • Combine antidepressants
  • Augment antidepressants
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Step 3
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

TMS is more effective than antidepressants in relieving depression for patients who have tried 2 antidepressants, with a 58% response rate

Treatment resistance increases with each new medication tried

Treatment resistance, or the presence of depression symptoms after 2 different antidepressants, is a common and serious problem in the management of patients with depression. A clinical study has found the following pattern when treating depression.

Depression medication #1
Depression medication #1

- 37% entered remission

- 49% responded

- BUT 40% relapsed

Depression medication #2
Depression medication #2

- 31% entered remission

- 29% responded

- BUT 55% relapsed

Depression medication #3
Depression medication #3

- 14% entered remission

- 17% responded

- BUT 65% relapsed

Depression medication #4
Depression medication #4

- 13% entered remission

- 16% responded

- BUT 71% relapsed

What does remission, response, and relapse mean?

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A 50% decrease (improvement) in the score on depression scales. Even though the scores are lower, symptoms are often still present and so you may still feel unwell. If the decrease in this score is between 25-50%, the response is defined as “partial”.


A measure of how well you feel. When remission is achieved, you experience few, if any, depression symptoms.


When your depression symptoms return soon after you enter remission.