6 Common Bad Experiences With TMS And Why

Wyn Jugueta
February 24, 2023

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that has shown promising results in treating various mental health conditions. Despite its potential benefits, some individuals may experience adverse side effects or unsatisfactory outcomes from TMS treatment. This article will explore six everyday bad experiences with TMS and their possible reasons. By understanding TMS’s potential risks and drawbacks, individuals considering this treatment can make informed decisions and be better prepared for what to expect.

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#1 Headaches

One common side effect of TMS is mild to moderate headaches, which can occur during or after treatment. This may be due to the stimulation of nerves in the scalp or releasing chemicals in the brain. Patients who experience headaches can take over-the-counter pain relievers to help manage the discomfort.

According to the International Headache Society, some preventive strategies can be used to reduce the frequency and intensity of TMS-induced headaches. These include darkening the treatment room, keeping the stimulation parameters as low as possible during a session, and taking breaks between series of stimulations.

#2 Discomfort During Treatment

Another common issue is feeling uncomfortable during treatment, which usually only lasts while TMS is being conducted. Patients may feel an aching sensation or light tapping on their scalp, and some may experience mild tingling or a twitch in their face or neck. If a patient experiences negative feelings, they can inform the practitioner to adjust the stimulation settings or take a break from treatment.

#3 Drowsiness

Drowsiness is one of the most common side effects associated with TMS. Patients may feel fatigued during and after each session, and some may even experience difficulty staying awake during the treatment. While drowsiness can be frustrating, it’s generally not harmful and should subside soon after the session ends.

To help reduce drowsiness, patients can get adequate rest before their TMS sessions and take short breaks in between stimulations. Additionally, practitioners may adjust the stimulation settings to lower intensity levels if needed.

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#4 Cognitive Impairment

Some individuals report temporary cognitive impairment following TMS therapy such as difficulty concentrating or remembering things more easily. This may occur due to changes in brain chemistry, but it isn’t a long-term effect and it’s usually mild. If a patient experiences cognitive impairments after treatment, they should notify their practitioner right away so that adjustments can be made.

Moreover, it’s important to note that cognitive impairments can also be caused by underlying mental health conditions and are not always linked to TMS.

#5 Hyperstimulation

Hyperstimulation is a rare but serious side effect that may occur when the TMS device’s intensity level is set to too high. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and impaired coordination. If this occurs during treatment, the patient should alert their practitioner immediately and stop the session until the sensation subsides.

In addition, to help prevent hyperstimulation, practitioners should be mindful of the patient’s comfort level and adjust stimulation settings accordingly.

#6 Depression Relapse

Although TMS has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression over time, some patients may experience a relapse after they complete treatment. This could occur due to changes in brain chemistry or lifestyle factors such as stress or poor diet. To avoid relapse, it’s important for individuals to maintain healthy habits such as regular exercise and proper nutrition.

Additionally, they should follow their practitioner’s advice for monitoring symptoms and consider continuing with talk therapy or medication management after treatment is complete.

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Why does TMS make me feel worse?

If you think that TMS is making your symptoms worse, it’s important to inform your practitioner right away. They can assess the situation and make necessary adjustments to reduce the intensity of stimulation or take other measures to ensure your comfort and safety during treatment. Lastly, consider talking to a mental health professional about any concerns you may have before or after completing TMS therapy.

Many individuals with depression find relief through Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy, but there are potential risks associated with this type of treatment. By understanding these potential risks, patients can be better prepared to handle any issues that may arise during their treatment. Common bad experiences with TMS include discomfort during the procedure, drowsiness, cognitive impairment, hyperstimulation, and even depression relapse. By working closely with a qualified practitioner, individuals can ensure that they receive the safest and most effective treatments possible.

What can TMS do?

TMS is a safe, non-invasive procedure that can effectively reduce symptoms of depression in individuals who have not responded to other treatments. It works by stimulating areas of the brain associated with mood regulation and involves no surgery or medication. With proper monitoring from a qualified practitioner, TMS can offer patients relief without the risks associated with more invasive treatments. Additionally, it is relatively quick and easy to complete making it an attractive option for those seeking fast symptom relief.

When should I consider TMS?

TMS therapy can be a beneficial treatment for individuals who have not found relief with more traditional treatments such as medication or psychotherapy. It is important to discuss all options with a mental health professional and find the best course of action for you. Additionally, it’s essential to work closely with a qualified practitioner so that any adjustments needed during treatment can be made quickly and safely. With these considerations in mind, TMS may be an effective option for those struggling with depression.


TMS can be a beneficial treatment for many individuals but it is important to understand its potential risks and side effects. By being aware of common bad experiences with TMS, people can make informed decisions about whether this form of therapy is right for them. Additionally, by following preventive strategies and keeping an open dialogue with their practitioners, patients can reduce the chance of experiencing adverse outcomes from a TMS treatment. At Roots TMS, we provide personalized care to ensure that each patient is comfortable and safe during their TMS sessions. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to helping you on your journey to better mental health.

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Wyn Jugueta