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TMS Therapy | How Effective is it to Treat Mental Disorders?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy has been used by physicians to treat various mental disorders, including depression. It is a non-invasive treatment that uses magnetic fields to reach the deep regions of the brain. In 2008, FDA approved TMS for treating depression when other treatments are unsuccessful. Antidepressants and psychotherapy may not work on patients suffering from severe depression. When other treatments for depression have not been effective, doctors use TMS. This therapy has proved very effective to reduce the symptoms of depression in patients by stimulating the nerve cells in the brain.
Being a non-invasive therapy, it is well-tolerated and patients don’t require a significant time for recovery. The use of TMS is not just limited to depression treatment, but conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and anxiety can also be treated through TMS therapy . In this article, there will be a detailed discussion on TMS treatment, its benefits, and some common and uncommon side effects.
How does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy work?
In this therapy, a repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is delivered by an electromagnet to stimulate nerve cells of the brain regions involved in regulating mood. It helps in activating the brain regions that have reduced activity due to depression.
The treatment can be done in medical clinics or hospitals. The therapy lasts a few minutes, or an hour max, so the patient doesn’t have to stay at the hospital for the whole night. The physician would place an electromagnetic coil near the forehead on the scalp. This magnetic coil delivers the magnetic pulse to the brain cells and activates the nerve cells that have decreased activity.
What to Expect During TMS Therapy?
This is an electroconvulsive therapy that is completely safe, and painless, so it's better to not panic during the TMS procedure. The doctor may ask the patient to remove anything that can be sensitive to the magnetic waves, such as jewelry.
During the TMS procedure, the patient has to put earplugs on, so he/she doesn’t get annoyed by the sound of magnetic impulses. There will be no anesthesia, and the patient will remain awake throughout the treatment.
If it is the first session, the doctor may take extra time finding the place on the head to put the coil, personalizing the TMS machine setting for the patient, and making him/her feel comfortable.
Once the coil is placed and treatment is started, the patient will hear a clicking sound of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and feel vibration beneath coils.
One session of TMS therapy may last up to 20, 30, or 60 minutes maximum. After the procedure is completed, the patient can resume his everyday activities.
The patient may need to repeat the TMS session once a week for at least 4-6 weeks. How many sessions are needed and what would be the duration of each session depends on the patient’s condition and responsiveness to the treatment.
When is TMS Therapy Used?
Psychotherapy and antidepressants are used as first-line treatments for people suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, and other neurological disorders. Unfortunately, such treatments don’t work on some patients. TMS therapy is used as an alternative treatment for patients suffering from severe mental health disorders.
Moreover, some people who can’t tolerate the medication and fail to get significant results from antidepressants are treated with TMS therapy. The best thing about this therapy is its efficiency with almost zero side effects.
Key Benefits of TMS Therapy
TMS for OCD
TMS therapy is proved to be an effective and safe treatment used for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). TMS therapy for OCD was approved by the FDA in 2008 . Studies have shown that people with OCD have increased brain cell activity between the striatum and prefrontal cortex. This nerve cell activity also leads to OCD symptoms. TMS is used to reduce the activity in certain parts of the brain to reduce symptoms of OCD.
TMS for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
For depression treatment, the use of antidepressants and psychotherapy is more preferable. But it doesn’t prove to be effective for all patients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD). This condition is known as treatment-resistant depression and around 30% of patients don’t get any significant results from such treatments.
TMS therapy is used as an alternative treatment for such causes. In the case of depression, nerve cell activity in the prefrontal cortex is reduced. Depression patients may experience changes in appetite and low energy levels as major symptoms of depression. TMS therapy is used to deliver magnetic pulses to stimulate brain cells and increase the activity of cells in certain regions.
TMS for Anxiety
Just like depression and OCD, anxiety is also a psychological disorder that can be treated through TMS. Most of the time, anxiety is connected with the symptoms of OCD and depression, and its treatment is also similar. TMS is used by many doctors as an effective treatment to reduce the symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Like OCD and depression, anxiety also causes increased nerve cell activity in the prefrontal cortex. TMS is used to reduce the activity in this region of the brain.
TMS for PTSD
A review in 2019 has shown the effectiveness of TMS treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The prefrontal cortex is a region in the brain that deals with worry and fear, TMS is an electroconvulsive therapy that uses brain stimulation to correct the abnormalities in the brain cell activities in this region.
For treating PTSD, TMS and cognitive processing therapy proved effective. If both therapies are used for treating PTSD, the therapeutic effects may last up to 6 months.
TMS for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a severe chronic psychiatric disorder that involves a lot of issues related to thinking, emotions, and behavior. The symptoms of Schizophrenia are different for every person, depending on the severity of the condition. Difficulty in speech and hallucinations are some common symptoms that affect more than 75% of people with Schizophrenia.
Through TMS, magnetic stimulation is delivered to the temporoparietal cortex that can help reduce hallucinations. The temporoparietal cortex is a part of the brain that deals with language; there is increased activity in this region of the brain in Schizophrenia.
TMS for Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disorder is a neurological disorder that affects movement and the neuro cell damage leads to a drop in dopamine levels. The person suffering from Parkinson’s disease may experience motor dysfunction, tremors, gait freezing, balance issues, etc. in freezing of gait, the feel frozen and can’t move while walking.
TMS treatment is proved beneficial to improve freezing of gait symptoms. Through TMS brain stimulation, the connection between various brain parts is normalized, causing freezing of gait.
TMS for Chronic Pain
TMS is a well-known treatment to reduce chronic pains, including fibromyalgia. Electromagnetic pulses are delivered to the Motox cortex and neurotransmitters of pain to relieve chronic pain. If someone is suffering from depression and chronic pain together, it can further worsen the pain. Fortunately, TMS can help reduce depression symptoms and keep chronic pain in control.
TMS for Nicotine Addiction
Have you ever wonder, why is it very hard for people to quit nicotine? It is because nicotine releases dopamine, also known as the “happy hormone”. This hormone is released when you get a reward or do activities that give you pleasure. Whenever someone takes nicotine, their brain sends signals to the prefrontal cortex, leading to addiction and craving for nicotine.
TMS is used to reduce the craving for nicotine by delivering magnetic pulses to the prefrontal cortex. According to researchers, TMS enhances dopamine release, and the need for nicotine is automatically reduced.
TMS for Alzheimer Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that can seriously damage memory and affect cognitive skills and the ability to do everyday tasks. People in their 60s are more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. TMS can help in treating Alzheimer’s disease by stimulating the neuro cells involving in learning and memory.
Researches have been done to prove the effectiveness of TMS for Alzheimer’s disease, but there is still a need for more researches to fully understand the TMS effectiveness to control Alzheimer’s disease.
TMS for Multiple Sclerosis
It is a condition when the body’s immune system attacks brain tissues and starts eating up the nerves’ protective covering. This is a kind of autoimmune disorder that can have a devastating effect on the nervous system. The person with multiple sclerosis may experience various symptoms including vision loss, fatigue, pain, and impaired coordination.
TMS treatment combined with physical therapy can help reduce spasticity in the motor cortex of people dealing with multiple sclerosis.
TMS for Stroke Rehabilitation
A stroke occurs when blood flow is blocked or decreases to a certain part of the brain, reducing oxygen supply to brain tissues. Some common symptoms of a stroke are trouble in walking, speaking, and understanding; it may also cause temporary paralysis on one side of the face, leg, or arm.
The motor cortex is a part of the brain that controls voluntary movement. By sending the magnetic pulses into this region of the brain, the symptoms of stroke can be reduced. Stimulating the motor cortex using TMS can improve dysphagia. It is stated in an article in 2017 that almost 50% of people who experienced a stroke were affected by dysphagia.
Are there any Side effects of TMS?
TMS is a non-invasive and well-tolerated treatment with zero to very few side effects. Most side effects are very mild that they don’t interrupt patients with everyday activity and there is a very small number of patient quit TMS treatment because of side effects. The doctor may recommend patient OTC medications to treat minor headaches. People who have migraine issues are likely to experience frequent headaches.
Some people complain about hearing problems they are facing due to procedures. It mostly happens when the patient had not used earplugs during treatment.
Not everyone will have side effects after getting the TMS treatment. Still, there can be some mild to moderate side effects involved, but luckily most of them are very mild and wouldn’t take any significant time for recovery.
Following are some side effects, the patient can expect to have after getting a TMS session.
Common Side Effects
These side effects are more likely to occur shortly after getting the TMS treatment session. They may include:
- Discomfort in the scalp while getting the treatment
- Shivering of facial muscles, and spasms
- Mild headache
Uncommon Side Effects
These side effects are rare but can be serious. They may include:
- Mania, especially in people with bipolar personality disorder
- Hearing loss, if no precautions are taken during treatment for ear protection.
Note: Taking precautions during treatment and following the safety guidelines can reduce the risk of getting any severe side effects. The patient must notify his/her physician immediately if he/she is experiencing any mild, moderate or severe side effects.
VitaMind TMS Therapy Center in Texas
VitaMind is a trusted infusion center that is now introducing premium quality TMS therapy for its clients. High-quality TMS devices are used by professional TMS physicians to treat a wide range of mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, mood disorders, and PTSD. TMS is a safe and effective therapy to treat neurological and psychological disorders. It is widely used as an alternative treatment for depression patients who are insensitive to antidepressants and psychotherapy.
It is a non-invasive, painless treatment that doesn’t require anesthesia, patients remain awake throughout the TMS procedure. The number of sessions requires and the overall duration of sessions is different for each patient based on the severity of the disorders.
TMS is a promising treatment with a higher success rate for treating mental health disorders. On average success rate of TMS for depression patients is between 30-64 percent. Although, there is a need to do more research to understand its success rate for other mental conditions.
If you are interested in knowing more about TMS treatment, ask our experienced doctors at the VitaMind Infusion center . Schedule your appointment and feel free to ask any question.
Book your Appointment for Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy Today.