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Community Elder

TMS for Depression - Update

My son is nearing the end of his TMS (20 down and 5 to go). His psychiatrist has increased the number of treatments from the planned 20 to 25 because he has been observed to have shown some improvement. Whether his improvement is due to TMS or not is something I don’t think we’ll ever know. It could just be that he is benefiting from a healthy sleep/wake cycle and/or the structure that the hospital offers (compulsory groups, set meal times, etc). Nevertheless, he is the best I have seen him since I can remember. The differences are subtle and small, but in comparison to how he was prior to TMS they are huge. He is on zero medications as well.

He generally is more “alive”. More engaged and engaging. More communicative, expressive and light-hearted. He has been able to hold great conversations with me and exercised his wicked sense of humour. He is laughing and smiling more. Additionally, he has been so nice on the days I’ve brought him home for day leave by willingly helping me with general chores and cooking. He has been watching MKR in hospital and is into it - knows all the characters and talks about the recipes. That’s a first! He’s never, ever watched mainstream TV, let alone followed a program. Yesterday we had a birthday lunch for my Mum and he single handedly made a salad following my instructions and then sat with all of us to eat. That’s a far cry from the young man that refused to come out of his room at Xmas time and join us for lunch or exchange presents. There are many more small positives - too many to mention.  The funny thing is that when he is asked if he feels better or thinks that TMS has made any improvements his answer is “No, not really”. There could be many explanations for this under-reporting of improvement but I’m not too concerned about what he feels, it’s what myself and others can see.

Hoping that we can keep this going after discharge. It’s going to be hard to keep the momentum going at home and it’s times like this I wish there was a half-way residential program somewhere that was able to continue building on what has been achieved thus far, or that I didn’t have to work so I could dedicate myself to him full-time.

At this stage I would have to conclude that TMS has worked better than anything else we’ve tried in the past. Hope this gives other sufferers of major depression some hope.

Janna ❤️


Re: TMS for Depression - Update

Thank you for sharing your experience with your son's TMS therapy @Janna. It sounds like he has been more like himself lately and that's so special. Hopefully the small steps of success continue after discharge Smiley Happy

Re: TMS for Depression - Update

How are things going @Janna


Re: TMS for Depression - Update

Hey @Darcy,

Thank you for asking how things are going.  The answer is good .... relatively speaking.

Since discharge my son has been able to maintain a few healthy habits and is still engaging at a level that is far better than before the TMS.

Prior to TMS he never left his bedroom, stayed in his PJs all day, had questionable personal hygiene, and was completely non-functional.

Post TMS he wakes somewhere between 8 - 9.30am, showers, dresses in day clothes, leaves his room to have meals at the table and helps to cook.  This is aided by a wonderful medication he is now on which is a non-psychiatric wakefulness promoting drug which is also a cognitive enhancer.  He takes this around 7.30-8.00am each day and within 1 hour or so he is up and heading to the bathroom.  This is most definitely helping to maintain a healthy sleep/wake cycle and allowing him to function in normal time zones.  He is on no other medication other than this.

There are still many things he is not able to do without my instigation or encouragement, but I'm not complaining because he is moving forward in tiny increments.   Overall, I can see a lightening of his mood and an improvement in functionality to the point where I can say that "he's back" in the land of the living and I couldn't be happier with his progress.

Unfortunately I've been absent from the forums because I have other major life issues going on in relation to divorce which are dominating my life at present.  It is panning out to be very difficult due to the fact that my soon-to-be-ex has a florid personality disorder and is teetering on bankruptcy.  My focus at present is for me to stay sane, maintain stability in our home, and to ensure that my son remains safe and is not adversly affected by it.

Janna ❤️



Re: TMS for Depression - Update


thank you for your information about tms. Do you happen to know how old you have to be for this treatment? My daughter is 16 and suffers from depression/anxiety. If you don't mind saying what is the medication your son takes called? Is he still doing well from the tms? And does he have to go back for more treatments ?it seems that this could be a good thing to do if your child is stuck in life. We had to send our daughter to wilderness and she has only been there one week. It was the hardest thing I've ever done but she was having suicidal thoughts and we had to intervene. I hope your son is well and I'm sorry about your divorce circumstance. I appreciate any info you can give me on the tms! 


Re: TMS for Depression - Update

Hi @1hopeful


Welcome to the forums - it's great that you are reaching out here.

Just a heads up that our forum guidelines ask that members do not mention specific medications for saftey reasons. The experience of medication is one that is very subjective and personal to each individual so it is best that medication advice is sought through a GP or mental health doctor. The guidelines can be tricky to get across at the beginning, so dont worry!


You are welcome to discuss the other areas you mentioned below and keep sharing your story. There are lots of members here who are parents and navigating similar journeys. 🌼


Re: TMS for Depression - Update


I hope I can answer some of your questions.  With regard to a minimum age for TMS I really can't say.  I am unable to provide the name of the medication my son is on, however, it is a wakefulness drug and I believe there is only one kind.  It is not classed as a psychiatric drug and has been historically used by the armed forces for soldiers who are assigned to the field where it is imperative that they stay alert for hours.  It is being used to keep my son functioning in a healthy sleep/wake cycle and has zero effect on mood.   At the time my son had TMS he was not on any psychiatric medication as he had chosen to go off all of them because they were not working.  He has been able to maintain many of the benefits gained through TMS and his 5 week inpatient stay.  Since having TMS his overall mood is better and he actually gets out of bed every day, showers and dresses in day clothes, eats dinner at the dining table and is willing to accompany me to the shops etc.  He receives ongoing support via an outreach support officer and sees a clinical psychologist weekly and I believe this is helping him to maintain all that was gained.  He is reviewed by his psychiatrist every 8-12 weeks and to date he has not been required to have any further TMS.  What is important is that my son wanted to have TMS - infact he was requesting to have ECT as he was sick of living in his depressed state and wanted help.  More than half the battle in treating depression in teens is getting co-operation and willingness to engage in treatment.  TMS needs to be supplemented with ancillary treatment such as group therapy, individual psychotherapy, etc.


Please talk to a psychiatrist about TMS as possible treatment for your daughter.  My son's depression was treatment resistant and there were very few options left.  There are facilities that have TMS machines in which treatment is given on an outpatient basis, and a few private hospitals that can provide TMS together with an inpatient stay. Private health funds do not cover outpatient treatment, but cover inpatient treatment.  I don't believe there is any TMS treatment available for public patients at this stage.


All the best with your daughter.  Depression and being 16 years of age are a bad mix and I hope that things sort themselves out sooner rather than later.  In the meantime take care of yourself .




Re: TMS for Depression - Update

Thank you for getting back to me! Best of luck with your son. Sounds like he is doing much better.

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