For individuals who struggle with either anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) each day is punctuated with challenges to be overcome. Held captive by the symptoms of these disorders, many choose to isolate themselves rather than face the many obstacles placed before them. This only leads to loneliness and further impairment, not to mention loss of income, strained relationships, and deteriorating quality of life.
Most will seek the help of a mental health professional to assist them in better managing the condition. Conventional treatment for OCD and anxiety usually involves a combination of evidence-based psychotherapy approaches and medication. Many patients will experience significant relief from the symptoms using this treatment protocol. However, a substantial percentage, 30%-50%, will still struggle with the unrelenting symptoms.
When finding oneself treatment resistant to traditional methods for managing these complex mental health disorders, it is tempting to just give up and accept life as is. However, there is an alternative approach that may provide the relief desired—transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS treatment for OCD and anxiety is an exciting option that is worth exploring when other treatment methods failed to relieve symptoms.
Why Are So Many People Treatment-Resistant to Medications?
Back when antidepressants were introduced to the marketplace there was a sense of awe around the drugs. There was general consensus that these medications, designed to manipulate levels of serotonin in the brain, would be the magic pills that would finally cure depression. As time went on, it became clear that the drugs were not nearly as effective as once thought, and the side effects that plagued patients only added to the diminishing optimism.
Similarly, patients receiving treatment for OCD and anxiety disorders may also find the medications do not effectively relieve symptoms. In fact, according to a review of treatment-resistant anxiety in Molecular Psychiatry, only 60% of patients with anxiety respond to the psychotropic interventions. Similar challenges are faced by patients with OCD, as reported in the article “Treatment-resistant OCD: Options Beyond First-line Medications” published in Current Psychiatry, with up to 40% of patients determined to be treatment-resistant.
Science has yet to reveal the reason why a substantial number of patients struggling with mental health disorders are unresponsive to the medications. Some suggest that inadequate training, incorrect dosing, or medications prescribed for too short a time are possible issues.
About Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive fear and worry that results in unpleasant symptoms or avoidance behaviors. There are many different forms of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, specific phobias, and panic disorder. Trauma disorder and OCD are often included under the anxiety umbrella, as these share several features with anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:
- Shakiness, trembling
- Shallow breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty concentrating
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental health disorder that is has the potential to cause serious impairment in daily life. Due to the chronic nature of OCD, it is not reasonable to expect a cure for the disorder, but learning how to successfully manage the disorder is possible.
OCD involves two disordered actions—obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Obsessive thoughts, which are rooted in doubt, fear, or guilt, trap the individual in a pattern of repetitive compulsive behaviors. The compulsive behaviors represent a response to the obsessive doubts and fears as a type of anxiety-mitigating activity to reduce stress.
Examples of some obsessive-compulsive patterns include:
- An intense fear of germs or contamination, resulting in repetitive hand washing or excessive cleaning
- Fear of the house burning down, resulting in checking things repeatedly such as if the stove is turned off
- A disturbance when items are out of place or order, resulting in precisely arranging items and not permitting anyone to change the order
How Does TMS Therapy Work?
TMS therapy is a recent innovation in treating mental health disorders that has been shown to be highly effective. This noninvasive brain stimulation technology provides relief from the symptoms that plague individuals with depression, OCD and anxiety. TMS uses magnetic energy that is directed through a coil over the scalp toward the specified area of the brain, which is determined by whichever disorder is being treated. The object of the TMS therapy is to modulate the cellular activity in the brain, rebalancing the neurons.
During the treatment session, the individual will relax in an office setting, as there is no surgery involved. No medication is required for a TMS session, and the treatments are well tolerated by patients. Each session will last about 40-minutes, and most patients will be prescribed 5 sessions per week for 4-6 weeks.
Very few adverse effects have been associated with TMS therapy. There is no general anesthesia needed, so the risks often associated with sedation are avoided. Patients may experience some scalp tenderness where the magnetic pulses are delivered, and some report experiencing mild to moderate headache. There is no down time required following a TMS therapy session, so patients are free to drive themselves back to work following treatment.
Has TMS Been Tested for Treatment of OCD and Anxiety?
Research continues to validate the efficacy and safety of TMS therapy for the treatment of various mental health disorders, including treatment for OCD and anxiety. A recent study published in NeuroImage Clinical concludes that TMS therapy used in tandem with medication to treat OCD can augment treatment results. An article published in MD Edge Psychiatry entitled “Transcranial magnetic stimulation shows more promise in refractory OCD” cites a multicenter study that demonstrated a mean improvement in symptoms for 26% of study participants.
As for using TMS therapy to treat anxiety, there are several clinical studies to support that as well. One such study with 25 study participants concluded that by using TMS to modify the neural activity in the targeted site, response and remission rates were higher than in the sham group.
Anew Era TMS a Leader in TMS Therapy
Anew Era TMS provides expert TMS therapy for individuals struggling with anxiety and/or OCD in Southern California and TMS Therapy Austin Texas. When seeking alternative treatment options, consider TMS therapy. Call Anew Era TMS today at (888) 986-0680.