Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions in the United States, with approximately 40 million people affected. There are several specific types of anxiety disorders, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic disorder
- Social phobia
Anxiety disorders remain some of the most treatable mental health conditions, with a number of resources available to help reduce symptoms and improve one’s quality of life. In most cases, people experiencing an anxiety disorder benefit most from a combination of medication and therapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, individual therapy). Countless individuals have been able to utilize these modalities to their benefit, helping to even out their brain chemistry and implement learned skills to help cope with symptoms. Unfortunately, not everyone with an anxiety disorder responds to traditional forms of treatment. Others may respond to more non-conventional therapies like transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. So, can TMS therapy help anxiety?
What is TMS?
TMS is a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure that helps to activate certain areas in the brain to help treat conditions like depression and anxiety. A qualified medical or mental health professional will place a coil on the patient’s head that will send magnetic pulses to desired areas of the brain. Those pulses can be intermittent or consistent, depending on the needs of the patient. TMS is most frequently used for individuals with treatment-resistant depression and has an exceptional amount of research backing its effectiveness for this mental health condition. The idea is that the magnetic pulses that course through the brain activate areas in ways that help to reduce symptoms related to depression, or in this case, anxiety. This treatment typically lasts less than an hour and patients have reported feeling improvements fairly quickly.
Patients with depressive disorders have seen dramatic improvements in their mental health with the use of TMS. Can TMS therapy help anxiety disorders in the same fashion?
Can TMS Therapy Help Anxiety Disorders?
We know that TMS therapy has been highly effective in the treatment of treatment-resistant depression, but do the same benefits apply to those with anxiety? In short, yes. Let’s first take a look at what types of symptoms those with anxiety disorders experience:
- Experiencing a regular sense of impending doom/danger
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Excessive worry
- Avoiding things that trigger anxiety
- Problems controlling worries
- Difficulty thinking of anything but the present worry
- Sleep problems
- Increased heart rate
- Heavy respiratory rate
Living with an anxiety disorder can feel like not living at all. These and other symptoms can quickly wash over a person and prevent them from being productive in their lives. With the appropriate treatment, however, these symptoms can be minimized and life can be more easily lived. TMS is one of those therapies that can help.
Studies have shown that those with anxiety disorders who receive TMS therapy report a decrease in the following symptoms:
- Sleep problem
- Frequent urination
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Muscle tension
- Excessive sweating
- Problems concentrating
- Digestion problems
- High blood pressure
There is no doubt that TMS therapy can help reduce symptoms of a variety of different anxiety disorders. But how?
How TMS Therapy Helps Anxiety
The vast majority of people who experience anxiety disorders have a biological component to it. This means that there is something specific to their human makeup that influences the presence of their anxiety disorder. Generally, people with anxiety have abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex of their brains, which produces symptoms related to generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and so on. This is the primary reasons why prescription medications are used to treat anxiety disorders, as they can help address the abnormalities that this area of the brain is experiencing.
TMS therapy works by focusing on the prefrontal cortex of the brain. A medical or mental health professional will place the coil near the prefrontal cortex prior to beginning the procedure. As they conduct the procedure, they will supply a magnetic pulse to the area, helping to activate areas of the prefrontal cortex that naturally do not activate themselves (leading to the presence of anxiety). Some individuals notice relief after their first treatment, while others participate in several treatments prior to seeing noticeable results.
TMS therapy for anxiety is not the usual go-to for anxiety disorder treatment. However, that does not mean that it is ineffective. TMS therapy continues to help countless individuals manage their symptoms of anxiety on a regular basis.
TMS Therapy in South Florida at My Psychiatrist
If you are experiencing anxiety or other mental health condition, please contact us right now. Our team of dedicated and compassionate professionals will help get you started on the road to recovery.
Do not wait any longer. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services, including our TMS services. We are happy to answer any and all questions that you or your loved ones may have.