Examining the Role of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in Treating Psychiatric Disorders

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Are you looking for a new way to manage your OCD, anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia? These mental illnesses can be debilitating, robbing you of your ability to think clearly and perform your daily tasks. They can be even more frustrating when your current regime of therapy and medication isn’t working as well as you hoped. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can help you manage these conditions. The FDA approved the treatment for the treatment of major depression in 2008. It was approved to treat OCD in 2017, and it’s approved to treat anxiety. Let’s take a look at what transcranial magnetic stimulation is and how it can help you.

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation and how does TMS work?

TMS therapy includes the use of electricity and a magnetic coil. The coil is placed on the individual’s head and secured with a cap. Electricity is used to activate the magnet. During the treatment, magnetic waves are sent through the coil to specific areas of the brain. The concept behind the treatment relies on physics and your brain’s electrical activity. During the treatment, the magnet will be activated and deactivated with electricity to improve how your brain sends and receives the signals that help control your emotions and internal decision-making processes.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

What are the main psychiatric disorders that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) commonly treats?

TMS therapy is approved to treat many different psychiatric disorders, including treatment-resistant depression, OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, bipolar disorder, and Tourette Syndrome. It’s considered an alternative therapy for individuals who would otherwise consider Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

How does transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) compare to traditional treatment approaches, such as medication or psychotherapy?

When individuals are first diagnosed with a mental illness, especially depression and anxiety, they are often prescribed medication and talk therapy. Those two treatments are considered front-line approaches, and they do help many people each year. However, some mental illnesses are resistant to these approaches. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health disorder that’s classified as treatment-resistant, TMS for psychosis may be able you help you.

  • Talk Therapy – Talk therapy can include individual therapy with a counselor, cognitive behavioral therapy, guided self-help therapy, interpersonal therapy, Eye movement desensitization, and reprocessing therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and group therapy. These therapies tend to focus on identifying intrusive thoughts and harmful behaviors so that new patterns of thinking and behaving can be created.
  • Medications – Medication therapy for mental illness involves taking anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, or antipsychotics. While these medications help, they often come with unwanted side effects, like dependency, weight gain, muscle spasms, decrease in sexual interest, and dizziness.
  • TMS for Psychosis – Transcranial magnetic stimulation helps reduce the symptoms associated with major depression disorder, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. The treatment is non-invasive and doesn’t cause any pain. You can resume your normal daily activities after each session. It can also be used in conjunction with other types of treatment, including talk therapy and medication.

What are the potential benefits of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in treating psychiatric disorders?

Undergoing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for psychosis offers several benefits. The first benefit is that it lasts. According to a study on transcranial magnetic stimulation, roughly 58 percent of participants who complete their treatment cycle experience a reduction in symptoms. It’s also estimated that 38 percent of the recipients experience a full remission of their symptoms.

TMS treatment has fewer side effects than the medications used to treat mental illnesses. The primary TMS side effect is mild headache after the transcranial magnetic stimulation session, but many people don’t notice any side effects.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation may reduce your need for mental health medications. Many individuals with treatment-resistant depression and major depression could either reduce the amount of medication they take or stop taking their medications. It’s important to note that individuals should always consult with their doctors before reducing and eliminating medications.

Are there any potential risks or side effects associated with TMS?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation has fewer side effects than anti-psychotic medications and anti-depressions. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) side effects can include headaches, mild tapping sensation during the session, scalp pain, twitching of the facial muscles, feeling lightheaded, and altered cognition during the session. There is also a slight risk of experiencing seizures.

Are there specific criteria or patient profiles that make someone a good candidate for TMS treatment?

Good candidates for TMS treatment are at least 18 years of age and have a major depressive disorder, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or anxiety that is not being adequately managed by other treatments and therapies.

Individuals who have metal inside their heads are not good candidates. This includes people who have electrodes inserted into their brains, deep brain stimulators, stents in their neck or head, aneurysm clips or coils, metal plates, cochlear implants, and permanent piercings that cannot be removed. Individuals with these devices are not good candidates because the treatment involves a magnet that could attract the implanted metal.

What is the typical duration and frequency of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) sessions?

Individuals who are good candidates for TMS therapy typically undergo several treatments a week for multiple weeks. A typical treatment cycle might involve going to the center between three and five times each week for six weeks.

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