Below are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about TMS. If you have additional questions that are not outlined below, please contact us to learn more by calling the location nearest to you to speak directly to one of our TMS specialists:

Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital in Panama City: 850.763.0038

Okaloosa Outpatient Center in Fort Walton Beach: 850.226.7893

What is TMS? 

TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) is a treatment Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital offers for patients with major depression on an outpatient basis. It is FDA approved for people who have not adequately benefited from prior antidepressant use. TMS is similar to MRI technology (different from shock therapy or ECT) and is very safe. TMS uses short magnetic pulses to stimulate the nerve cells in the brain. The magnet is positioned to specifically target the areas of the brain that are underactive and depressed. It basically “wakes up” the neurotransmitters and the serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine begin to function.

Why TMS?

TMS is a non-invasive alternative to antidepressant medication. 1 out of 2 patients experience significant improvement of depression symptoms within 4 to 6 weeks of treatment; 1 out of 3 patients are symptom-free.

What are the side effects?

TMS is free from the side effects antidepressant medications often cause, such as weight gain, nausea, and mood swings. However, some patients complain of a slight tingling or tapping on the head during treatment, which usually disappears by the third or fourth visit.

Who is not eligible for TMS? 

TMS is not appropriate for any patient who has experienced any type of manic episode or anyone who has had any type of metal implant placed above the neck or in the head.

How long is each treatment?

Each treatment lasts about 30 to 45 minutes and patients are awake and alert the entire time during treatment. They can immediately resume normal activities afterwards–there is no recovery time. We recommend treatments for 5 days a week for about 4 to 6 weeks.

Will my insurance cover TMS treatments?

Currently, Aetna, Beacon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, Medicare, Tricare, and United Behavioral Health cover TMS therapy, but other insurances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Our case managers will work with you to determine your insurance benefits and coverage prior to starting treatment. We will also arrange payment plans for individuals who would like to private pay.

Steps to get started:

Your physician or mental health professional can refer you for TMS. Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital’s TMS specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. For Panama City, call 850.763.0038 and for Fort Walton Beach, call 850.226.7893. You can call for additional information or to schedule an appointment for a full assessment and consultation. If our physician determines you are an appropriate candidate for TMS, we can then start the admission process. Your insurance will be reviewed and payment options determined by a financial specialist, and we will schedule your first session. Call us today to learn more about TMS!

I’m a clinician; how can I refer a patient to this service?

Our TMS specialist is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. For Panama City, call 850.763.0038 and for Fort Walton Beach, call 850.226.7893. You can call and discuss the case with us, and then our care coordinator and clinician will schedule an appointment to meet with the patient and provide a full assessment and consultation. If you need to fax over any information, the TMS direct fax number for Panama City is 850.532.6203 and for Fort Walton Beach is 850.226.8081.