Ketamine Infusion vs. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Ketamine Infusion and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) are innovative treatment options that prove effective in significantly reducing symptoms of mental health conditions.  Ketamine infusion is a psychedelic that can treat major depression, bipolar depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and suicidal ideations.  Ketamine infusion is the most effective when administered intravenously (IV) for quick and accurate dosing based on body weight.  The medication is dosed appropriately in a medical setting and enters slowly to control and maximize the benefits of the infusion.  Ketamine directly stimulates neurons by improving and making new connections in the brain over time.  It refers to what science calls the study of neuroplasticity, which is the new frontier of mental health treatment.  Ketamine also quickly reestablishes the lost neural connections due to chronic mental illness.  Conventional treatment methods such as medication usually take several weeks to experience a reduction in mental health symptoms.  In contrast, the benefits of Ketamine infusion show between the end of the first infusion to a few days from the initial session.  Ketamine infusion is groundbreaking in mental health treatments and medicine for this very reason.


The ketamine infusion process typically lasts one hour, monitored by a medical doctor, with little to no side effects.  Clients described the infusion experience as relaxing and effective.  There is a dissociative part to this experience that may be new to some people.  Dissociation occurs when the client separates from their thoughts, feelings, memories, or even the infusion experience entirely.  It may be a new experience for some; dissociation is a normal part of the process which many people find peaceful.  Dissociation is a fundamental part of the healing process when clients think of past experiences without the emotional component.  Very few patients experience nausea, faintness, dizziness, or increased blood pressure/ heart rate.  The medical provider monitors the client throughout the session for any side effects that may arise to ensure a seamless and soothing infusion experience.  Considering this process is non-invasive, you can return to work, go out for dinner, or go for a walk after your infusion session, allowing it to integrate easily into everyday life.


The success rate of ketamine infusion reducing symptoms of mental health conditions is between 70-80%.  There is a series of 6 infusion sessions throughout the first 2–3-week period, followed by booster infusions monthly, usually up to 12-18 months.  The frequency for a booster session is contingent on the treatment plan suggested by the medical professional individualized towards your needs.  These sessions may also be paired with psychotherapy to offer an innovative approach and impactful treatment.  There is a high recommendation of ketamine infusion treatment because it significantly improves a client’s quality of life when conventional methods have failed.  Ketamine is not addictive when administered at a low dose and within a controlled medical setting.  Dr. John Mendiola of NYC’s Mind-Body Therapeutics says that “ketamine infusions are increasingly recommended for patients who are in need of immediate relief from symptoms, with practically no side effects post-infusions.  The neuro-plasticity benefits are the new frontier of mental health treatment.”


Around 30% of all individuals diagnosed with a mental health condition will not respond to medication use, even with the most appropriate medication combination and consistent usage.  It is crucial to spread awareness of different treatment options with high success rates, even beyond ketamine infusion.  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been around for many years, while the non-invasive tool became known in the late 1980s. TMS uses insulated coils that pulse deeply through the skull into the brain to target specific areas known to regulate mood.  TMS is typically used to treat depressive symptoms and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  Though there is less research, TMS may also be effective for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Clients are not sedated and fully awake during this process because it is not painful.  TMS also stimulates neural activity and connections to reduce severe mental health symptoms.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) differs from ketamine infusion in a few areas.  The TMS procedure lasts between 40-60 minutes per session, and the average person will need between 20-30 sessions to notice a reduction in symptoms.  These sessions need to occur on consecutive weekdays, usually one session per weekday for about 4-6 weeks.  There may be a noticeable difference after one week of treatment, though it varies with the client.  Side effects from TMS may include scalp discomfort, jaw tension, twitching in the face, headaches, and muscle tension.  In rare situations, a client may experience seizures from TMS.  The presence of side effects often decreases with continued treatment.  Like ketamine infusion, a client can return to typical activities after treatment, although it is not recommended to operate heavy machinery following either treatment method.


We encourage clients to consult with their health care professional to determine if ketamine infusion or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is appropriate for them.  Those experiencing pregnancy, unstable mental health conditions, substance use, etc., are not ideal candidates for ketamine infusion.  Additionally, clients with metal implants in their head, neck, or face tattoos with metallic ink are not appropriate candidates for TMS.  Below is a chart that includes an overview of important information stated above for both methods of treatment:



Ketamine Infusion

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)


Reduce symptoms of mental health

Reduce symptoms of mental health

best suited for

Major depression, bipolar depression, OCD, PTSD, severe anxiety, suicidal ideations

Major depression,

OCD, anxiety, PTSD


Intravenous (IV)

Magnetic device


60 min, six sessions over 2-3 weeks, monthly booster for up to 12-18 months

40-60 min, every weekday, 4-6 weeks

possible side effects

Rare nausea and increased blood pressure during infusion can be remedied with an additional medication in the IV drip quickly

scalp discomfort, jaw tension, twitching, headaches, muscle tension

estimated cost

per session

Out of network reimbursement by many insurers

In-network and out of network reimbursement with many insurers


Paired with psychotherapy, either of these treatment options can maximize one’s mental state with fewer negative symptoms.  Ketamine infusion or TMS, along with psychotherapy, allows the client space to decompress and reach their full potential without a strong presence of mania, depression, intrusive thoughts, compulsions, obsessive behaviors, or the overwhelming reminder of trauma.  Therapy modules including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), applied behavior analysis (ABA), paired with a humanistic and interpersonal approach, allow the client a genuine opportunity to thrive in their everyday lives.  At Gateway to Solutions, we’re prepared to guide you on your journey to wellness with access to psychotherapy and a referral to the treatment method best fit for you.






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