ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by chronic symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD affects approximately 8-10% of children and 2-5% of adults in the United States, making it one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders. ADHD has been a topic of increasing concern in the United States, as there has been a significant rise in the diagnosis of ADHD in America.
Over the past few decades, and particularly during the years since the pandemic, increased awareness and understanding of ADHD, improved diagnostic criteria for ADHD, and changes in societal expectations of children, teens, and young adults have led to a drastic rise in the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The rise in ADHD diagnoses has led to a greater demand for medication to manage symptoms and treat ADHD. Although stimulant medications are the most common treatment for ADHD, they don’t work for everyone. Fortunately, there are other treatment options for ADHD like TMS therapy, a non-invasive, drug-free treatment that has the potential to completely alter the landscape of ADHD treatment.
Why Stimulants Don’t Work For Everyone
While stimulants are 70-80% effective, 30-20% still struggle with their symptoms. And of that 70-80% that are taking medication, some still experience systemic side effects, or side effects that affect the whole body. Some side effects include but are not limited to:
- High Blood Pressure
- Sleep Problems
- Weight Loss
In recent months, an Adderall shortage has developed in the United States. Adderall and its generic versions are the most commonly prescribed ADHD medication. The reasons for this shortage are complex and multifaceted, but one factor contributing to the shortage is an increased demand for the medication due to the rising rates of ADHD diagnoses.
As more people are diagnosed with ADHD, the demand for prescription stimulants like Adderall has surged, putting pressure on the pharmaceutical supply chain. Even if a patient with ADHD is able to successfully treat their symptoms with medications, many people have faced difficulties in obtaining their prescriptions or have had to switch to alternative medications. This situation has raised concerns about the accessibility of effective treatment for ADHD and the potential impact on the well-being and functioning of adults with ADHD.
What is TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is emerging as a promising approach to treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy, or TMS therapy, is a non-invasive, revolutionary treatment that allows you and your doctor to directly measure, analyze, and improve brain activity using electromagnetic fields that stimulate your brain. The goal of TMS therapy is to modulate the activity of the targeted brain regions, particularly those associated with ADHD.
The Science Behind TMS
During a TMS session, the patient sits in a chair, and a device containing an electromagnetic coil is placed against the scalp near the forehead. The coil emits brief magnetic pulses that pass through the skull and into the targeted brain region. These magnetic pulses generate electrical currents that stimulate the neurons in the brain. TMS is FDA-approved to treat certain types of depression and OCD, but it is also used by many doctors as an “off-label” treatment to address other mental illnesses such as ADHD.
How Does it Work?
TMS sends small electric currents to specific areas of your brain that are believed to be underactive or overactive in certain psychiatric disorders. This helps to reset neural pathways and improve symptoms associated with these conditions.
A Non-Invasive Approach
Unlike other treatments like ECT, TMS is well tolerated and doesn’t require any sedation or general anesthesia. You can even resume normal activities immediately after each session.
Research on TMS for ADHD
Although repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy is not formally FDA-approved to treat ADHD, many psychiatrists have begun to use TMS therapy as a way to treat other mental health conditions.
A recent study demonstrated that TMS, which targeted the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex linked to ADHD, resulted in a significant improvement in ADHD symptoms for adults with this condition. Other clinical trials involving TMS have yielded promising results for treating adult ADHD. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area often linked with this condition, was targeted during each treatment session. Patients underwent 30-minute sessions over six weeks where low-frequency magnetic pulses were directed at their brains’ left prefrontal cortexes.
The research shows hope for ADHD patients who have not found success in treating their symptoms through traditional medications, or for those who are simply interested in trying innovative treatments. TMS therapy could potentially offer relief from debilitating ADHD symptoms without relying solely on medication regimes or traditional therapies alone.
Treating Co-occurring Disorders with TMS Therapy
Adult patients with ADHD are often diagnosed with other mental health conditions alongside their ADHD diagnosis. Depression and anxiety can have a compounding effect on ADHD symptoms. Luckily, TMS therapy has had proven effectiveness in treating both depression and anxiety.
TMS therapy is believed to treat depression and anxiety by modulating the activity of specific brain regions involved in mood regulation and emotional processing. The electromagnetic pulses generated by the TMS device stimulate the neurons in the targeted brain areas, leading to changes in neural activity and connectivity.
The effect that TMS therapy has on co-occurring disorders separate from ADHD can have a profound effect on the general wellbeing of a patient with ADHD.
The Potential Benefits of Combining Treatments
TMS therapy can be safely incorporated into existing treatment plans. Many patients find that incorporating TMS into existing therapies may improve results for those with both ADHD and related disorders such as depression or anxiety.
If you’re considering TMS therapy, Neuro Wellness Spa offers innovative treatments tailored to your needs. Our expert clinical teams provide high-quality care designed around cutting-edge research and best practices in mental health care.
The Future of TMS Therapy as a Treatment for ADHD
The potential of treating ADHD symptoms with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is promising, but there are several challenges and areas that require further exploration.
Limitations of Current Research on TMS for ADHD
While preliminary studies have shown positive results, larger-scale clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings. The majority of studies conducted so far have been small.
Integration into Standard Treatment Protocols
Addressing psychological ailments such as ADHD typically necessitates a multifaceted strategy involving both medication supervision and psychotherapeutic or behavioral interventions. Integrating non-invasive therapies into standard care plans may offer patients more comprehensive support while reducing reliance on medications that can carry significant side effects or be subject to supply shortages.
In order to integrate effectively though, healthcare providers need training not only in administering this innovative technique but also understanding its effectiveness.
TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) therapy presents an exciting avenue for the treatment of ADHD. While medication and behavioral interventions remain the mainstays of ADHD management, TMS therapy offers a non-invasive alternative that directly targets specific brain regions associated with attention, focus, and impulse control.
If you’re interested in learning more about TMS therapy and its potential benefits for ADHD, consider reaching out to Neuro Wellness Spa, a renowned provider specializing in innovative mental health treatments