Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy and PTSD

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is gaining attention for its increased success in treating individuals living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). TMS therapy is an FDA-approved procedure that painlessly revitalizes areas of the brain responsible for mood control, while it improves communication within the central nervous system. It has already proven effective for many people living with a variety of other major depressive and anxiety disorders that have been resistant to prescription medications and other traditional therapies. 

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. This may include experiencing physical or sexual assault, abuse, combat trauma, accidents, disasters, or other serious events. Some people develop PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or harm. Others may develop PTSD with the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, for example. Post-traumatic stress disorder alters a person’s brain, which changes the way they interact with the world around them. Nearly anyone of any age can develop PTSD, including children. Most importantly, PTSD is not a sign of weakness. It is a treatable medical condition.

Nearly everyone will experience a range of emotions and reactions following a traumatic event, and most people recover from these incidents without assistance. Yet, individuals who continue to experience difficulties that interfere with personal relationships and routines may be diagnosed with PTSD.

According to the National Center for PTSD, about 7 or 8 out of every 100 people in the United States will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Approximately 8 million adults will have PTSD in any given year. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and genetics may predispose some people to develop the condition more than others.

What are Signs and Symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months of the traumatic incident, and may vary depending on the individual. To be categorized as PTSD, symptoms must last more than one month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships, work, or daily routines. The course of the illness may vary. Some people recover within months, while it may become a chronic or ongoing condition in others. 

Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other healthcare providers will evaluate an individual on a variety of factors when considering a PTSD diagnosis. A range of symptoms may include ongoing flashbacks of the traumatic event, nightmares, avoiding certain places or actions related to the trauma, angry outbursts, sleeping difficulties, trouble recalling key features of the traumatic event, and distorted personal feelings like guilt or shame.

How Does TMS Therapy Work?

Primary therapies for PTSD have typically included prescription medications (typically antidepressants) and psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), or both. Yet, some people may need to try different treatments to discover what works best for their needs. Left untreated, PTSD may lead to other ongoing problems including panic disorder, worsening depression, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy may prove especially effective in treating some people living with PTSD. While antidepressants alter the brain chemically, TMS therapy uses magnetic fields to stimulate underactive nerve cells in the brain. At TMS Therapy Louisville, we use a top-of-the-line, FDA-approved device to direct magnetic energy pulses to the brain’s prefrontal cortex. As a result, transcranial magnetic stimulation can painlessly revitalize areas of the brain responsible for mood control while improving communication within the central nervous system.

TMS is a non-invasive, in-office procedure, and takes as little as three minutes, depending on the frequency, intensity, and range of stimulation needed. No post-treatment recovery time is required and patients may return to daily routines immediately following a session.

Trials have shown to produce lasting, positive effects on brain function in people who have otherwise experienced a form of treatment-resistant PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, stroke rehabilitation, and more.

TMS Therapy Is Shown Effective For PTSD

In a recent study regarding the effects of TMS therapy in treating PTSD, one-third of patients experienced significant improvements in symptoms of both PTSD and depression. In a separate study with veterans, seventy percent of participants no longer met the criteria for a PTSD after completing TMS therapy. In many cases, a person who is not experiencing relief of symptoms through traditional therapies will experience improvements with TMS therapy.

Other benefits of TMS therapy include:

  • Reduction in the emotional effects of depression
  • Greater control of anxiety symptoms
  • Non-systemic delivery, meaning nothing enters the bloodstream
  • No sedation – patient remains awake and alert during treatment
  • Non-invasive – nothing is inserted or implanted into the body
  • No medication – unlike with some drugs, there are no side effects such as weight gain, drowsiness, sleeplessness, stomach upset or sexual problems you may experience with medication. 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy may be covered by your health insurance. To ensure TMS therapy is right for you, talk to your doctor and request an appointment with TMS Therapy Louisville today. If you are suffering with PTSD, we are here to help you feel better.

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