TMS & ANXIETY TREATMENT

Can transcranial magnetic stimulation help with the treatment of chronic anxiety?

USING TMS FOR THE TREATMENT OF GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER

“Worry is like paying interest on a debt you don’t yet owe.” The idea of this quote is that if you can adjust the perspective of someone’s troublesome outlook, they may recognize worrying is a futile effort. Notions such as this are helpful, but what about those who suffer from clinical anxiety. They experience an insatiable worry and uncontrollable angst that no amount of perspective can ever help.

 

Anxiety takes many forms and it goes by many names. The most common form is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but there are several others such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder, not to mention the innumerable phobias that fall into this category.

USING TMS FOR THE TREATMENT OF GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER

“Worry is like paying interest on a debt you don’t yet owe.” The idea of this quote is that if you can adjust the perspective of someone’s troublesome outlook, they may recognize worrying is a futile effort. Notions such as this are helpful, but what about those who suffer from clinical anxiety. They experience an insatiable worry and uncontrollable angst that no amount of perspective can ever help.
 
Anxiety takes many forms and it goes by many names. The most common form is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but there are several others such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder, not to mention the innumerable phobias that fall into this category.

WHAT IS GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER?

GAD is identified as an excessive anxiety or worry most days for the better part of six months covering any number of things such as health, finances, work, relationships, etc. Symptoms include feeling restless, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, and sleep problems.
 
Panic disorders are frightening, literally. A sudden period of intense fear comes on quickly and peaks in minutes. The attack can come on unexpectedly or be triggered by an individual or a situation. Shaking, accelerated heart rate, sweating, and even shortness of breath can be debilitating. Fear of the next panic attack can impede individuals from going about regular day to day duties.

WHAT IS GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER?

GAD is identified as an excessive anxiety or worry most days for the better part of six months covering any number of things such as health, finances, work, relationships, etc. Symptoms include feeling restless, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, and sleep problems.
 
Panic disorders are frightening, literally. A sudden period of intense fear comes on quickly and peaks in minutes. The attack can come on unexpectedly or be triggered by an individual or a situation. Shaking, accelerated heart rate, sweating, and even shortness of breath can be debilitating. Fear of the next panic attack can impede individuals from going about regular day to day duties.

TMS AND OTHER ANXIETY TREATMENTS

EFFICACY OF TRADITIONAL TREATMENTS

Disorders such as these are often concurrent with other illnesses, most often depression, which can complicate diagnosis. The burden is substantial and the most common means of treatment is medication and/or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). However, 30-50% of patients do not experience relief from symptoms, leaving a significant need for additional treatment methods.

HOW TMS WORKS

During a treatment, a magnetic coil is placed against the head, and magnetic pulses are administered in increments. These pulses travel through the scalp and bone to stimulate neural activity. The intensity, location, and frequency are determined by the disorder being treated. For example, stimulation of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) at a frequency of 10 to 20 Hz would be typical of treating depression, while stimulation to the right DLPFC at 1 Hz would be applicable to treating anxiety. Because TMS does not require sedation, patients are able to hold a conversation, watch television, or listen to music during the treatment, and can return to work or normal daily routine immediately after.

TMS TEST RESULTS WITH ANXIETY

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been FDA-indicated since 2008 for treatment resistant depression. TMS is non-invasive and has little to no side effects. It alters the brains chemistry by stimulating the neural activity in the emotional-processing structure of the brain. Although not FDA-indicated for GAD, studies published regarding use of TMS on patients with GAD have demonstrated not only high response rates, but also high remission rates in 6 month follow up visits.

 

TMS continues to offer great promise in treating mental health disorders. Studying neurobiological models of disorders such as PTSD will help maximize the effects of TMS. It continues to provide positive results for patients who did not find relief from traditional therapies.

SOURCES

For more information about the services we offer or whether TMS treatment is covered by your insurance provider, contact us today.

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