01 Sep TMS for Bipolar Disorder
Why TMS works Better than Traditional Treatments
Bipolar Disorder, sometimes referred to as manic depression, is a psychiatric condition that is characterized by extreme mood swings from emotional highs (manic or hypomanic) to lows (depression). These episodes may last for weeks or months if untreated, and can greatly impact patients’ relationships, work or school performance, and quality of life. About 5.7 million Americans or 2.6 percent of the population age 18 and older have the disorder.
Conventionally bipolar disorder is managed by a cocktail of drug therapies, including antidepressants and mood stabilizing medications. However, there is an ongoing clinical debate regarding the effectiveness of these treatments. Recent studies suggest that antidepressant medications may even exacerbate the intensity and frequency of manic episodes. This is not to mention the potential side effects caused by these drugs, including nausea, fatigue, weight gain, cognitive impairment and sexual dysfunction.
By contrast, TMS offers a safe and non-invasive alternative treatment that can be used to replace or augment conventional drug therapies. The therapy stimulates the prefrontal cortex of the brain, causing increased activation of the neuronal circuitry related to the disorder. While TMS therapy for Bipolar Disorder is only part way through the long regulatory process of getting FDA-approval, the treatment has been demonstrated to be effective both in a clinical setting and in placebo-controlled studies. For example, a recent double-blinded Brainsway study achieved a 70% response rate.
Why TMS works for Bipolar Individuals
At Neuro Wellness Spa in Southern California, where we have been using TMS to manage our patient’s bipolar symptoms for years, we have seen even higher success rates! We have a proven patient selection method, and as such only treat patients that we are confident will see improvements. Plus, unlike clinical studies, are patients can choose to stay on or tweak their prescribed medications for optimal symptom relief!