What Role Does TMS Play in Mental Wellness?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a very effective type of noninvasive brain stimulation therapy that stimulates nerve cells through electromagnetic pulses. It may improve the symptoms of mental health or neurological conditions and is primarily used to treat treatment-resistant depression. Approved by the FDA in 2008 for depression treatment, it has since been adopted for the treatment of other conditions. Let’s review how TMS providers like Dr. Bryon K Evans can use this treatment.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The FDA approved TMS for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) treatment in 2018. As is the case with depression, it is usually recommended for patients whose symptoms are not responding to psychotherapy and medication. People with OCD have a hyperconnectivity between their striatum and prefrontal cortex and TMS can inhibit the activity in the latter, to eliminate the cause of symptoms.
Primarily, TMS is used to treat people with depression, or major depressive disorder (MDD). It is mostly recommended for patients for whom psychotherapy and medication have not brought relief – a condition referred to as a treatment-resistant depression. According to estimates, about 3 in every 10 people with depression do not respond to traditional treatments. Research done in 2015 shows that TMS can stimulate the nerve cells and increase the activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain behind depression symptoms, such as appetite changes and low energy levels.
Because TMS addresses psychological conditions like OCD and depression, it could also alleviate anxiety. This is because these conditions often result in anxiety symptoms. The treatment could also help treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) by reducing the nerve cell activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is often heightened in people with anxiety.
One of the primary symptoms of this chronic psychiatric disorder is auditory hallucinations. In fact, over 75 percent of people with schizophrenia experience them. A 2019 report shows that TMS can effectively alleviate auditory hallucinations by targeting the temporoparietal cortex. Which often becomes overactive in people with schizophrenia.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
A 2019 review showed the effectiveness of TMS treatments on PTSD. Because it targets the prefrontal cortex, TMS can regulate how you process worry and fear. This treatment is often more effective when combined with cognitive processing therapy and can create a therapeutic effect lasting 6 months.
Nicotine releases the aptly called “happy hormone” or dopamine, which signals your brain’s reward system and prefrontal cortex, leading to addiction and cravings. A 2013 study shows that TMS treatments that target the prefrontal cortex can promote dopamine release, decreasing the need for nicotine and reducing cravings.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. Some reports show that TMS could have benefits for patients with this condition, which results in progressive cognitive decline and memory loss. According to recent research, the treatment could alter the neural connections responsible for learning and memory, in turn improving the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sometimes, medication and therapy fail to alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression. This is when transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) comes into play. As one of the most effective and innovative modern treatments, it can be used to address several mental health conditions. You can contact the team at Psychiatric Consultants of Atlanta to learn more about this treatment and how it can help you.