Anxiety and PTSD Treatment
TMS may be helpful in treating neuropsychiatric disorders beyond depression and OCD as an off-label treatment. Many clinical studies have been performed that support such uses, but TMS is not yet approved by the FDA to treat disorders beyond depression and OCD. For off-label treatments, the machines are set differently in order to trigger appropriate and beneficial responses in the brain. It is a safe and effective alternative to medications with no anesthesia and no long-term side effects. To learn if you’re a candidate for TMS treatments, call the TMS Institute at 480-668-3599 to schedule a detailed evaluation.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
GAD is one of the most common mental disorders with a prevalence of 2.7–3.1% in the U.S. and a lifetime prevalence of 5.1–11.9%. It is approximately twice as common in females than in males.
Major Depressive Disorder appears to be the most common comorbid condition associated with GAD, ranging from 39%–62% in individuals with current or a lifetime history of GAD having depression. Around half of the cases of Major Depressive Disorder begin with GAD.
Nearly five percent of adults experience panic disorders at some point in their lives. Like GAD and PTSD, it can be a debilitating condition that negatively affects every part of a person’s life.
Panic disorders are often comorbid with:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety
- Alcohol and other substance use disorders
TMS for Patients with GAD
Clinical Studies have shown up to a 60% positive response rates with TMS for GAD. Treatment calls for a low frequency 1 Hz or continuous theta burst stimulation to reduce activity in the region of the frontal cortex that is most responsible for triggering anxiety. TMS is not yet FDA approved yet, but the manufacturers of TMS technology, MagVenture, have CE approval in Europe for a mixed depression/anxiety disorder protocol. CE approval is similar to FDA approval, but for European countries.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusion or re-experiencing, avoidance, and a hyperarousal cluster of symptoms stemming from a major traumatic event. The lifetime prevalence of PTSD ranges from 6.1–9.2% in adults in the U.S. and Canada. The development of PTSD varies from person to person. Symptoms can develop immediately after the traumatic event or years later. Learn more about the DSM-5 PTSD Diagnostic Criteria (download).
TMS for Patients with PTSD
PTSD is not strictly a neuropsychiatric disorder, as there are various comorbidities. Serious physical illness is associated with PTSD:
- 12% of adults that had a heart attack developed PTSD
- 1 in 4 patients with a history of stroke or a TIA (transient ischemic attack) developed PTSD
- 20% of patients that survived an ICU admission develop PTSD
- 63% of patients with PTSD have underlying obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
Traditionally, treatments for PTSD include medication (antidepressants) and psychotherapy such as EMDR. Alternatively, rTMS has been shown to result in significant improvements in patients with PTSD symptoms with or without depression—and does not come with the risks and side effects associated with medications.