Center for translational brain stimulation
at the Charité Berlin

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Non-invasive and without side effects
First effects already after 2 weeks
Individual and professional treatment

New treatment options for people with depression

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

  • Non-invasive and without side effects
  • First effects already after 2 weeks
  • Individual and professional treatment
  • The Therapy
    TMS is an effective and very well tolerated, innovative treatment method for depression. It specifically improves brain activity that is out of balance. Often there is a noticeable improvement in mood, performance and the control of negative thoughts and feelings.

    The Center for Translational Neuromodulation at the Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (CCM), Charité – University Medicine Berlin, offers an individual treatment of depression based on 20 years of scientific work with TMS.
    The procedure
    Introductory briefing
    In the course of an introductory briefing, suitability of a treatment with rTMS will be discussed and decided. You will also receive information on reimbursement from your health insurance company. This introductory briefing can be held personally or via telephone.
    On the basis of a detailed medical examination you will receive an individual therapy recommendation and treatment plan.
    The treatment takes place from Monday to Friday over a period of two to six weeks, accompanied by weekly consultations with the doctor.
    In the final discussion, possibilities for maintaining the therapeutic effect are discussed.
    The most important questions

    In TMS, a magnetic coil is placed over the skull and stimulates the underlying brain tissue by magnetic impulses. The pulse series lead to a continuous stimulation of the brain tissue or regulation of brain overactivity. Treatment with TMS works by normalizing brain activity that came out of balance. Treatment with TMS can supplement or improve usual drug and psychotherapeutic treatments.

    Previous studies have been conducted on patients for whom other therapies have failed. An earlier start of treatment is even more likely to have a promising effect. Hence, you don't have to be seriously ill to benefit from TMS.

    The signs of improvement vary greatly. Many patients report more clarity in their mind, better control over "brooding thoughts", others report more activity or an improvement in appetite or sleep. Overall, most patients experience an improvement in individual symptoms or depression in total over the course of three to six weeks of treatment. In many cases TMS can improve bad mood, negative self-image, restlessness and the feeling of no longer being able to perform.

    Many patients report that at the beginning the TMS-related muscle twitches on the head are somewhat disturbing. However, almost all patients tolerate TMS without any problems and permanent side effects or even changes in the brain substance are not to be feared. It is therefore a low-risk but effective procedure. We provide very detailed information about all possible side effects during the preliminary consultation in the clinic.

    The statutory health insurance funds do not yet reimburse this treatment whereas most private insurances cover the costs. Though, it is advisable to clarify this with the insurer beforehand. We will be happy to support you with all the necessary documents.

    The regular treatment session does normally not last longer than 15 minutes. Since the stimulation strength is individually adjusted, the first session takes about 45 minutes. Treatments are usually performed once a day from Monday to Friday. We start with a two-week treatment series but in many cases, the patients decide to continue the therapy to strengthen and stabilize treatment success.

    There are several larger clinical, placebo-controlled studies that demonstrate the efficacy of TMS in depression treatment. Meta-analyses, which summarize the results of the existing clinical studies, conclude that the efficacy has been proven (Lefaucher et al. Clin Neurophys 2014; Brunoni et al. JAMA Psychiatry 2017; McCormick et al. J Clin Psych 2017). On this basis, the German therapy guidelines state that TMS can be used for the treatment of depression.


    We are happy to provide further information by phone or e-mail.

    Contact - Center for translational brain stimulation Berlin

    We are happy to provide further information by phone or e-mail.

    Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
    Virchowweg 19 (Room 01065)
    10117 Berlin
    030 450 517345
    Our Team
    Prof. Dr. Surjo Soekadar - Center for translational brain stimulation Berlin

    Prof. Dr. Surjo Soekadar
    Medical director

    Anne Wrana - Center for translational brain stimulation Berlin

    Anne Wrana

    Maria Buthut - Center for translational brain stimulation Berlin

    Dr. Med. Maria Buthut
    Post-doctoral Researcher

    Fernanda Santos - Center for translational brain stimulation Berlin

    Fernanda Santos
    Research Associate

    Content provided by:
    Staff of the AG Klinische Neurotechnologie
    Campus Charité Mitte
    Hufelandweg 14
    10117 Berlin
    Alessia Cavallo