Though transcranial magnetic stimulation provides breakthrough non-invasive treatment options for depression and relief from other mental disorders, there is still an incredible amount of importance of what different treatment strategies coincide with it. Though typically medication will (at the very least) be attempted as a form of treatment before TMS therapy even starts, often both procedures will run parallel with one another. Also, the importance of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) cannot be understated when we speak on this subject.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a process by which a therapist or other mental health professional help their patient focus on their cognitive processes, specifically thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The goal of CBT is to improve the patient become more aware of their present selves, how their ideas come up and how they are interpreted, how they make them feel and intrinsically how it makes them act or react.
The goal of this type of therapy is to help individuals develop better-coping skills when it comes to their day-to-day lives and how they navigate their thoughts and feelings. By assisting them to overcome maladaptive or harmful behaviors or habits and incorporating new, positive activities that celebrate accomplishment and self-esteem, patients can bring to fruition a new and fulfilling lifestyle.
Why is CBT important for TMS therapy?
It is important to note that TMS is not a cure-all. However, it is a very durable treatment and can last years regarding remission when it comes to depression. That said, TMS is very much biological, meaning it is physical therapy of the brain, which can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety through its treatment process. How long the remission lasts can vary depending on the patient and their lifestyle factors: severity of illness, diet, exercise, as well as therapy. These reasons are why CBT is critical as a parallel treatment option, as it helps facilitate change on the mental level, which cannot be understated regarding its importance.
If someone is meeting with a therapist on a regular basis, they are going to be talking about their everyday life, their struggles and how they deal with feelings. Their therapist, in this regard, can act as a coach to let them know what is healthy and what is not. They can continue to work on themselves before and after TMS therapy sessions, allowing them to go hand in hand with one another to achieve the best results from either. Most patients already have therapists, but if they do not, they may get a therapist referral before even starting TMS.
TMS by Itself is Not a Universal Cure
Biologically, TMS patients are depressed because their particular mental disorder and depression have impaired their neuropathways. Even though TMS can work wonders in this regard, if their sleep patterns are off, they are having difficulties with relationships, they have unhealthy eating habits or not working or exercising, then they may be lacking on possibilities of fulfillment in their lives. Even though TMS can get them out of a depressive spell, it may not last as long until the lifestyle factors fall in suit.
If someone feels themselves getting anxious and feels a panic attack coming on, there are two options. They may let the panic attack take control, flooding the individual and making them feel as if they are a ball of tension of worry and anxiety. Or, if they are using CBT, they can utilize coping mechanisms such as: breathing techniques, writing exercises, communication with loved ones, etc. All these things can be gained through therapy and talking with someone who knows about coping techniques. Just because an individual has TMS, does not mean that they will never have an anxious or depressed thought again. It is much more about what they do now that they can apply some of the tools they have learned. After all, with TMS therapy they should already have as much biological help as possible!
TMS and Therapy Go Hand-in-Hand
These reasons are why it helps to work with a therapist to give updates on how they are feeling and what they are doing in their personal lives. Then, once treatment has completed, they need to have continued care with a counselor or therapist to continue to benefit at the maximum capacity from the physical improvement that TMS has provided.