No, the two procedures are very different. While both are effective in the treatment of depression, there are many differences in safety and tolerability.
During TMS Therapy, patients sit in a chair and are awake and alert throughout the entire 37-minute procedure – no sedation is used with TMS Therapy. Patients can transport themselves to and from treatment.
In over 10,000 active treatments with the TMS in clinical trials, no seizures were observed. TMS Therapy was also shown to have no negative effects on memory function in these studies.
In contrast, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), intentionally causes a seizure. Patients receiving ECT are given a general anesthesia and a muscle relaxant. Patients are closely monitored during their recovery.
Short-term confusion and memory loss are common with ECT, and long-term disruptions in memory have been shown to occur and may persist indefinitely in some people. ECT still remains the gold standard in treating major depression.