What is PTSD, and how can TMS treat it?
A traumatic experience or witnessing one can lead to the mental health condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (often abbreviated to PTSD). Magnetic fields are used in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to stimulate particular parts of the brain. During this minimally invasive treatment, a magnetic coil is applied to the scalp, producing magnetic pulses that cause electrical currents in the desired brain region. The prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of controlling mood, emotions, and cognitive processes, is the location of stimulation.
TMS offers a variety of modalities, such as intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) and repetitive magnetic transcranial stimulation (rTMS). While iTBS delivers pulses in fast succession, rTMS delivers repetitive magnetic stimulation pulses over the course of several treatment sessions. Depending on the target area and stimulation parameters, both modalities seek to influence brain activity by either increasing or lowering cortical excitability.
The therapeutic advantages of TMS therapy come from its capacity to modify brain activity, fostering the growth of new neural connections and reestablishing balanced functioning in afflicted brain regions. When compared to pharmacological therapies, TMS has the advantage of being a safe and well-tolerated therapy option with few adverse effects.
TMS has potential as an efficient non-invasive method for enhancing the quality of life for people with a range of neuropsychiatric illnesses, according to growing research.
Find out more information on how TMS for PTSD treatment works.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
- Intrusive thoughts, a typical PTSD symptom. People could relive the terrible event in their brains as a result of upsetting memories or nightmares. Additionally, people could experience flashbacks where they seem to be reliving the incident.
- Avoidance behaviours, this may entail keeping away from individuals, locations, or pursuits that bring up the painful experience. Due to the upsetting feelings it evokes, they could also refrain from discussing or thinking about the incident.
- Unfavourable shifts in thought and mood, this can be seen as low self-esteem or dissatisfaction with the world, feelings of alienation, or a loss of interest in once-enjoyed hobbies. People may also experience concentration issues or memory issues.
- Alterations in one’s emotional and physical responses, where higher levels of arousal, might cause people to exhibit irritability, angry outbursts, and trouble falling asleep. They could also react with exaggerated astonishment or become overly alert.
Comprehending and identifying these indications is essential for accurately identifying and managing PTSD. It’s critical to get assistance from mental health specialists who can offer the right therapies and support to manage and reduce these symptoms.
When diagnosing PTSD, the length and intensity of symptoms are also important factors. For symptoms to be distinguished from acute stress reactions, they must last longer than a month. Furthermore, there is a range in the degree of symptoms, from mild to severe.
It’s critical to rule out other mental health issues like anxiety or depression that could present with similar symptoms. To properly diagnose PTSD and guarantee that the right treatment is given, proper diagnosis and assessment are essential.
In general, evaluating the criteria for PTSD diagnosis entails determining the duration and intensity of symptoms, as well as ruling out other mental health illnesses that may present with comparable symptoms.
Why target the Prefrontal Cortex with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
One important part of the brain that is involved in both emotional control and cognitive processing is the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) targeting the PFC has become a viable therapy option for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in recent years. TMS therapy attempts to lessen the impact of traumatic memories on people with PTSD and refine depressive symptoms by adjusting PFC activity. Prefrontal cortex-targeted TMS has been shown in numerous trials to have positive impacts on quality of life and to reduce symptoms related to mental health disorders. For people who have not responded to conventional therapy, this focused method offers a fresh viewpoint on treating depression and PTSD.
Find out more information on TMS treatment.
Treating depressive symptoms with high-frequency repeated TMS (rTMS) administered to the left DLPFC (Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex) has demonstrated positive results. It lowers depression symptoms and enhances general quality of life by raising cortical excitability in the targeted region.
However, by lowering cortical excitability in the region, low-frequency rTMS given to the right DLPFC has demonstrated encouraging benefits in alleviating symptoms of PTSD. The DLPFC’s modulation, along with its connection to the amygdala (a part of the brain involved in fear response and memory formation), reduce anxiety and intrusive symptoms linked to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Our team alongside Dr Shanek Wick at Neuralia TMS are able to discuss your treatment options and history with mental health.
Clinical Research on TMS as PTSD treatment
Clinical research has demonstrated encouraging outcomes for TMS therapy in relation to PTSD. In one study, TMS treatment was shown to dramatically lessen intrusive symptoms in PTSD patients, such as upsetting memories. According to a different study, TMS treatment reduced the avoidance and arousal symptoms that are frequently linked to PTSD.
These recent studies have looked at the efficacy of TMS therapy in a number of populations, such as people with chronic PTSD and those who are depressed yet resistant to treatment. All things considered, the findings imply that TMS might be a helpful therapeutic choice for people with PTSD and depression, providing symptomatic relief and possibly enhancing their quality of life.
Although TMS isn’t a miracle treatment for PTSD, it is unquestionably a big advancement in the search for better, more effective therapies. With the development of technology and our growing understanding of the brain, therapies such as TMS provide hope to individuals seeking recovery from PTSD.
Visit your GP or contact our team at Neuralia TMS, Palmyra to go over the possible advantages and disadvantages of TMS if you or a loved one is thinking about it for PTSD or any other mental health illness.