TMS Therapy for Anxiety and Depression
Like spaghetti and meatballs, anxiety and depression often coexist. Either one of these common mental health disorders alone can cause serious impairment in one’s daily life, but when they are both present it can be absolutely debilitating. Anxiety can cripple one with irrational fears, and coupled with depression can leave a person depleted and despairing.
Individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder often present with a co-occurring anxiety disorder. These are traditionally treated with a combination of antidepressants, or other mood stabilizers, along with psychotherapy. Patients will trial the drug for about six weeks with the hope that it will help stabilize the symptoms of the mental health disorder. In a large number of patients, however, the medications—even after trialing several different drugs—are simply not successful in relieving symptoms.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a relatively new approach to treating medication-resistant depression, and was cleared by the FDA in 2008 for this purpose. In Europe, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has already cleared TMS therapy for anxiety. Ongoing research on the efficacy of TMS therapy for anxiety continues to demonstrate promise, and it is already being used “off label” here in the US. When using TMS to treat a patient with major depression who happens to also have a co-occurring anxiety disorder, it has been found that both disorders benefited from the TMS therapy.
TMS Therapy for Anxiety Disorders
TMS is a noninvasive treatment that involves making incremental changes in brain chemistry using magnetic fields. A coil is placed over the scalp strategically, depending on which disorder is being treated, and repetitive magnetic pulses penetrate the brain tissue. Over time, the treatment can reset brain chemistry that was out of balance, contributing to the mood disorder.
Where TMS therapy is being studied or prescribed for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), promising results have been seen. Because of the common relationship between depression and anxiety disorders, treating the depression can also positively impact the anxiety symptoms as well.
Studies have shown that applying low frequency (1 Hz) TMS therapy for anxiety to the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPRC) shows promising results. Participants in sham-controlled trials reported a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms, which can be attributed to an increase in theta activity. This placement of the coil and the frequency used differs from TMS treatment for depression, which is typically placed over the left DLPFC and utilizes a high frequency (10 Hz).
Is TMS Therapy Safe?
Where other brain stimulation techniques may require a general anesthetic, such as ECT, TMS does not. This eliminates the risks commonly associated with general sedation, making TMS a safe treatment option. Since the FDA cleared TMS for treating medication-resistant major depression in 2008 it has been well tolerated by patients. Some minimal adverse side effects from TMS have been reported, but they are short-lived, resolving spontaneously during the course of the treatment period. These include headache and localized scalp irritation.
Because TMS therapy doesn’t use sedation, the patient is fully alert during the 40-minute treatments. Patients often pass the time by reading, listening to music, or watching television. After the treatment, patients can drive themselves back to work or home to resume normal daily activities.
Anew Era TMS Leading Provider of TMS Therapy for Anxiety
Anew Era TMS is a Southern California provider of TMS therapy for the treatment of medication-resistant depression. Because anxiety disorders often accompany major depression, including PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder, TMS therapy has been shown to be useful in also relieving symptoms of anxiety.
If you have not found relief from antidepressants, or cannot tolerate the side effects commonly experienced with these drugs, TMS therapy may be the answer to improving your quality of life. For more information about this exciting treatment for depression and co-occurring anxiety, contact Anew Era TMS today at (888) 503-1549.