Can TMS Make Depression Worse

Can TMS Make Depression Worse? TMS Side Effects and Risks


Like every other drug, even the most effective ones can have some side effects or reject your body. TMS is not an exception. TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific brain areas and is commonly used to treat depression and other mental health conditions.

While TMS is generally considered a safe and effective treatment, it can have potential side effects and risks like any medical procedure.

The Different Experiences of TMS treatments in Patients


The experiences of individuals undergoing TMS treatment can vary widely. Some people may experience significant improvement in their symptoms after just a few treatments, while others may not notice any improvement or even experience worsening symptoms.

Here are some common experiences reported by TMS patients include:

  1. Improvement in mood: Many TMS patients report improving their attitude and overall well-being after treatment.
  2. Reduction in symptoms: TMS may reduce the severity of specific symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.
  3. Some patients may experience side effects during or after TMS treatment, such as mild headache or scalp discomfort. These side effects are usually temporary and can be managed with medication or other remedies.
  4. Drowsiness: Some patients may feel drowsy after TMS treatment, particularly in the first few sessions. This is typically a temporary side effect that resolves on its own.
  5. Changes in cognition: TMS may cause changes in cognition, such as temporary changes in memory or attention. These changes are usually quick and resolve on their own.

It is not uncommon for people to have different responses to TMS treatment. The effectiveness of TMS can be influenced by various factors, including the severity of the condition being treated, the specific area of the brain being stimulated, and the individual’s overall health and medical history. It is essential to discuss any concerns or questions about the effectiveness of TMS with a healthcare provider.

The Side Effects of Using TMS for Depression


Different patients with depression react differently to TMS. Some of the common side effects of using it are:

  • Mild discomfort or pain at the treatment site: Some people may experience mild discomfort or pain when the TMS device is placed on their heads. This is typically temporary and goes away after the treatment session.
  • Some possible side effects of TMS for depression include:
  • Headache: TMS can cause a headache in some people, which may be mild or severe.
  • Scalp discomfort: Some people may experience scalp discomfort or pain during or after the procedure.
  • Facial muscle twitching: TMS may cause muscle twitching or spasms, which can be temporary or persist for longer.
  • Nausea: Some people may experience nausea after the procedure.
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness: TMS can cause lightheadedness or dizziness in some people.
  • Tingling or pins and needles sensation: Some people may experience a tingling or pins and needles sensation in the scalp or face during or after the procedure.
  • Hearing changes: TMS can cause temporary changes in hearing, such as ear ringing or hearing loss.
  • Seizures: There is a small risk of stroke with TMS, although this is rare.
  • It is essential to discuss any side effects you experience with your doctor or treatment team. They can help you manage these side effects and determine whether the benefits of TMS outweigh the risks for you.
Side Effects of TMS for Depression

It is crucial to note that the side effects of TMS are not long-lasting or permanent. You will experience any of the above side effects for a short period and mildly, and then they will fade away. Other than the side effects of using TMS, people also ask, can TMS make depression worse?

Well, the answer is that there is a small risk that TMS could potentially make depression worse in some individuals. However, this is not common, and the overall risk is low. TMS is a safe and effective treatment for depression and reduces symptoms of depression in many people.

It is essential to discuss any concerns you have about TMS with your doctor or treatment team. They can help you understand TMS’s potential risks and benefits and determine whether it is an appropriate treatment option. They can also help you manage any side effects or potential worsening of symptoms that may occur during treatment.



A “TMS dip” refers to a temporary worsening of symptoms that may occur during the early stages of TMS treatment. It is not uncommon for people to experience a quick dip in their symptoms after starting TMS treatment, and this is often referred to as a “TMS dip.” This dip is typically temporary, and most patients feel better after a few weeks of treatment.

The exact cause of the TMS dip is not fully understood. It is essential to discuss any concerns or questions about the TMS dip with a healthcare provider.

Why Does The TMS Dip Occur?


The exact cause of the “TMS dip” (a temporary worsening of symptoms that may occur during the early stages of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatment) is not fully understood. However, some scientists think it is related to the changes in brain activity resulting from TMS treatment.

During TMS treatment, the magnetic field applied by the TMS device stimulates specific areas of the brain. This stimulation can lead to changes in brain activity, which may result in temporary worsening of symptoms. The TMS dip is thought to be a normal response to these changes in brain activity and is usually temporary.

Note that TMS Dip is temporary.

TMS for Depression Side Effects

Reasons Why TMS Is Considered Safe

  1. Non-invasive: TMS does not involve any surgical procedures or the use of medications. The TMS device is held outside the head and produces a magnetic field that stimulates specific brain areas without requiring injections or incisions.
  2. Targeted treatment: TMS is a targeted treatment that specifically stimulates the areas of the brain thought to be involved in the symptoms being treated. This targeted approach reduces the risk of side effects compared to other treatments that may affect a wider area of the brain or body.
  3. Low risk of severe side effects: TMS has a low risk of serious side effects, such as seizures or mania. The most common side effects of TMS are mild and temporary and may include headache, scalp discomfort or pain at the site of treatment, tingling or spasms in the facial muscles, and lightheadedness. These side effects resolve independently within a few hours or days after treatment.
  4. Effective: TMS is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression in multiple clinical trials and is often used as a treatment option when other treatments, such as medication and talk therapy, have not been effective.

Wrapping Up


TMS is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for depression and other mental health conditions. While TMS is usually well-tolerated and has a low risk of side effects, it is essential to be aware that any medical procedure carries some risk. Some people may experience side effects from TMS, such as headache, scalp discomfort, facial muscle twitching, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, tingling sensations, or changes in hearing. But all these are mild and temporary.

If you are thinking about using TMS to treat depression, it is time to give it a try.