Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

If medication and psychotherapy haven’t effectively treated your depression, you may be a candidate for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). At Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital, we’re proud to offer this drug-free treatment for depression.

Patient discussing Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) options with Doctor

Major depression is a treatable condition. But for some people, traditional treatments like medication and psychotherapy don’t work. Alternative solutions are available.

Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital has offered TMS for depression since 2014. Our staff is trained in NeuroStar TMS Therapy®. This brain stimulation therapy is highly effective and provides new hope for people with major depression.

What Is TMS?

TMS is an outpatient procedure approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults (18 and up) with major depression. You may be eligible if you have not benefited from other treatments such as medication and talk therapy. TMS is noninvasive because it does not require surgery.

During the procedure, we place an electromagnetic coil against the side of your head. The coil sends magnetic pulses into your brain that stimulate nerve cells involved in mood regulation.

The procedure is not painful. And you typically don’t experience the side effects that you may have from antidepressants, such as mood swings, nausea and weight gain.

What Are the Benefits of TMS?

TMS has many benefits. It is:

  • Effective: Research shows it can successfully treat major depression.
  • Noninvasive: After the procedure, you return to your daily life.
  • Low-risk: Serious side effects are rare, and other side effects (such as scalp sensitivity) are mild.
  • Complementary: You can have TMS with other treatments like therapy and medication.

What Are the Risks of TMS?

TMS has some potential side effects, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Pain in your neck or scalp
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Tingling in your scalp or face
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Seizures (occur rarely, in less than 1 in 10,000 people)

What Can I Expect During TMS?

The procedure is not painful or scary. Each treatment lasts 20 to 60 minutes, depending on your needs. Here’s what to expect:

  1. You sit in a spa chair (similar to a dentist’s chair).
  2. We place the electromagnetic coil on your head.
  3. The coil delivers brief, magnetic pulses that feel like light tapping on your head.
  4. You can listen to music or watch something on the TV provided. It’s important to stay awake during treatment to receive the maximum benefit.

After your treatment, you can resume your normal activities like driving and working. You typically receive treatment five days a week for several weeks. People with depression usually need a total of 36 treatments.


Visit our FAQ to get answers to commonly asked questions. For further resources, such as our patient brochure, see our TMS resources.

We’re Here to Help

Call 850-763-0017 or contact us to get help now. Assessment specialists are available 24/7. Call to speak with an assessment and referral counselor.

There are risks associated with any medical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is right for you.

Never Lose Hope, We’re Here to Help.

Personalized mental health and addiction treatment is ready for you. We are here to help.