Treating PTSD with TMS Therapy

March 20, 2019

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is usually associated with veterans and those in active duty. But this anxiety disorder isn’t just for those who have or had been in the military service. People who experience trauma – whether it’s physical, emotional, or sexual can have PTSD.

What exactly is PTSD?

PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. It’s often a result of traumatic experience like war, violence, fire, sexual assault, or an accident. People with PTSD re-live the trauma through dreams or recollections and hence, tend to avoid situations that remind them of those.

While it’s normal for people who experience trauma to have flashbacks or nightmares, those with PTSD have these for prolonged periods of time. Re-experiencing the trauma often have negative consequences on these people’s lives.

To diagnose someone with PTSD, he/she has to experience the following for more than a month:

  • at least one re-experiencing symptom (e.g. dreams, flashbacks, frightening thoughts)
  • at least one avoidance symptoms (e.g. avoiding places, things, or events that remind them of the traumatic experience)
  • at least two arousal and reactivity symptoms (e.g. outburst of anger, difficulty falling asleep, easily startled)
  • at least two cognition and mood symptoms (e.g. negative thoughts, distorted feelings, difficulty recalling the experience)

 

How do you manage PTSD?

Like most mental health problems, there is no cure for PTSD. However, there are certain therapies that can help you manage its symptoms.

Many PTSD patients respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, image rehearsal therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.

TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation can also benefit patients with PTSD. It is a non-invasive procedure approved by the U.S. FDA. TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain, with the goal to improve anxiety and depression symptoms.

Studies have shown that TMS has lasting positive effects after the usual treatment phase of a few weeks. While it has side effects like headaches, tingling, and lightheadedness after the procedure, they’re minor compared to the side effects of anxiety medications such as insomnia, loss of sexual desire, weight loss/gain, and restlessness.

 

It’s very much possible to live a quality life with PTSD. When coupled with the right form of therapy, TMS can be a really good adjunct therapy for it.

 

 

 

References:

https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/49058/veterans-ptsd-treated-transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/experimentations/201801/brain-networks-in-tms-combined-ptsd-and-major-depression

https://tmsmind.com/disorders-treated/mood-disorders/ptsd/