What is the difference between tDCS and TMS?

tDCS can often be confused with TMS due to the similarity of their names. In addition, tDCS and TMS can produce similar results depending on their specific use.

TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) is the process of passing large magnets near a person’s scalp in order to generate a magnetic field that stimulates neurons in the brain. Similarly tDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation) stimulates neurons, but instead uses low levels of electric current. In addition to being cheaper more convenient, tDCS can produce a myriad of results that haven’t been recorded using TMS. Since tDCS is applied directly to the scalp using electrodes, many individuals experience more direct, stronger, and longer lasting effects.

Usually an individual must undergo a mental health evaluation and obtain a prescription before undergoing TMS. Often times the prescribing facility will offer TMS treatment in their office. TMS involves large machines that can occupying an entire room. During treatment, the patient must remain physically still in order for the machine to target a specific area.

Alternatively, tDCS devices are often compact, hand-held units that can be carried anywhere. The person using tDCS is not required to sit still, and depending on the case may even be able to complete their sessions in the comfort of their own home. tDCS and TMS are not interchangeable, and many factors are involved in the process of treatment. TMS is currently FDA approved for a small number issues such as Major Depressive Disorder, OCD, and

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