Does TMS Work for Anxiety?

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TMS is a safe and effective treatment for patients suffering from a range of mental health disorders, including anxiety. Originally used to treat long-term depression, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has also been used as an effective treatment for conditions like ADHD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and more. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is non-invasive and is a great option for patients who have exhausted other treatment options. It is also effective as a complementary therapy.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation involves using electrical currents to activate certain areas of the brain. These brain regions are responsible for things like mood regulation and emotional processing. Using one-off or repetitive TMS treatments can alleviate anxiety symptoms over time and improve your general quality of life. Carried out in a comfortable and relaxing environment, our treatments can offer you a gateway to more manageable and stable mental health. Contact TMS Elevated in Park City, Utah, for more information.

Does TMS Work for Anxiety?

TMS is an FDA-approved treatment and can be effective in reducing or managing anxiety symptoms. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation can reduce anxiety symptoms after just one treatment or after several repeated sessions. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has also been shown to have a positive effect on common mental health conditions, such as depression and ADHD. As many anxiety sufferers also struggle with adjacent mental health conditions, magnetic stimulation can be an excellent supplement to other treatments, like medication or ongoing therapy.

What Is TMS?

TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and refers to a non-invasive mental health treatment that is usually carried out in a controlled, clinical environment. Transcranial Magnetic treatments use electrical currents to create a magnetic field in parts of the brain. This magnetic movement causes stimulation in areas of the brain that are associated with managing mood. Non-invasive transcranial treatments involve having a magnetic foil placed on the scalp to gently manipulate the brain area with electrical currents.

By stimulating these areas, transcranial magnetic treatments can alter our mental state and have an effect on mood regulation, which is frequently disrupted in those with mental health conditions. During the treatment, magnetic pulses are delivered through the scalp, stimulating cells within the targeted brain region. For instance, for patients suffering from depression, the prefrontal cortex will often be targeted for stimulation. This is because this region is often underactive in those suffering from depression.

What Is Anxiety?

While short periods of anxiety are a normal emotional response to stressful or dangerous situations, chronic anxiety or anxiety disorders are disruptive mental health conditions. Patients may suffer from ongoing, generalized anxiety, usually diagnosed as General Anxiety Disorder or GAD. This usually refers to chronic anxiety that has no obvious source or where the cause of fear constantly changes.

Anxiety disorders can also cover things like phobias (irrational or exaggerated fear responses to certain objects or scenarios) and panic disorders. Panic disorders are usually characterized by frequent panic or anxiety attacks, which, in turn, feed the fear of having more panic attacks. Patients may also suffer from social anxiety, which is the specific fear of social situations, or compulsive disorders, like OCD. Other forms of anxiety may include obsessive worry about your health or specific conditions, like post-partum anxiety.

How Does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Work?

Repeated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatments can reduce depression and anxiety symptoms over time by changing the brain’s general makeup. Our neural pathways and brain cells have a high level of plasticity. This means we can, to an extent, shape and mold our neural response to stimulus. This is also why treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are effective; they encourage us to build and strengthen certain neural pathways through repetitive thoughts and behaviors.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation works in a similar way by repeatedly stimulating certain neural pathways. What’s more, when one area of the brain is targeted and stimulated, this has a knock-on effect. This means that connected neurons elsewhere in our brains are also activated. This can lead to increased connectivity between certain brain regions, which may be underactive or overactive in patients who have depression or anxiety.

Which Mental Disorders Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treat?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation can positively impact a range of mental health symptoms. Although some patients may require repeat treatments over time, other patients may feel the benefits after just one or two sessions. Magnetic neural stimulation can be used to treat conditions like:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Mood Disorders
  • Tinnitus
  • Chronic Pain Disorders

Who Can Have Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatments?

TMS treatments were approved by the FDA in 2013 and are considered a safe treatment for most people. Patients usually undergo psychiatric evaluation before they have transcranial magnetic therapy to assess whether or not the treatment is likely to benefit them. Some implants or prior health conditions may prohibit patients from having transcranial magnetic treatments. However, for the vast majority, these treatments are perfectly safe. Patients who may not be eligible for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation are as follows:

  • Individuals who have suffered a severe stroke
  • Patients with existing brain injuries
  • Patients with aneurysm clips
  • Patients with stents
  • Patients with cochlear implants
  • People who suffer from seizures
  • Patients with vagus nerve stimulators
  • Children or patients under age 16
  • Patients with a history of bipolar or psychosis

Who Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Suitable For?

Patients who opt for transcranial magnetic stimulation usually have ongoing mental health problems. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a great option for patients who have not responded to medication or to talking or CBT therapies. It is also an excellent option for patients who have found medication helpful but who do not want to live with long-term medication side effects.

As it is totally non-invasive, transcranial magnetic stimulation is also a great option for breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding mothers may not wish to take mental health medication as it can transfer through breastmilk to their infants. Transcranial stimulation options are also well suited to people who want to reduce the amount of medication they take or who want to try a more holistic solution to mental health issues.

What Can You Expect at Your TMS Appointment?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation does not require any anesthetic and will usually take less than one hour to complete. It can even be quite a relaxing experience. Once you have had your psychiatric assessment, you can book your appointment and have the treatment performed at our center. When you arrive for your appointment, you will be able to recline in a comfortable seat while the treatment is administered. You will also be given earplugs to wear.

A large magnetic coil (shaped like a figure 8) will be attached to your head throughout the treatment. Before the treatment starts, your practitioner will also determine where the coil should sit and what dosage you should be given, based on your specific mental health needs. You will be awake throughout the treatment and may feel a mild tapping sensation on your forehead or hear some clicking noises. The treatment is completely painless.

Can I Drive Myself to my Appointment?

The short answer is, yes. You do not need to take any pain relief or other medication throughout your transcranial treatment so your awareness should not be affected. If you are undergoing several rounds of treatment in one week, you will be able to drive yourself to and from them. You should also be able to continue your day-to-day tasks as normal. This is also the case if you are having more sporadic treatments over a long period of time.

Are There Any Side Effects Associated with this Treatment?

Compared with many other mental health treatments, transcranial magnetic stimulation treatments have minimal side effects. This makes them a popular choice for people who have experienced strong adverse reactions to medications in the past. Some patients report mild scalp discomfort or a slight headache after their round of treatment.

Occasionally, you may also experience some facial twitching or spasms. However, practitioners usually view this as a sign that you may need a lower dose so this should not be a recurring side effect. Any mild side effects should resolve quickly and further reduce as your treatment course proceeds.

Why Choose Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation can have an extremely positive effect on your life and mental well-being, especially if you are seeking a holistic treatment for chronic anxiety. With minimal side effects and totally non-invasive treatment sessions, it is easy to fit Transcranial Treatments into your daily life. Reach out to us at TMS Elevated in Park City, Utah, for more information. Contact us today!