TMS should be considered as part of the spectrum of treatment options currently available for the treatment of depression. Treatment with TMS can occur in combination with psychological therapies or medications. This depends on the care needs and symptom profile of the individual patient.
There is minimal evidence supporting the concurrent use of TMS and ECT.
The current state of understanding of these two treatment modalities suggest distinct mechanisms of action and side effect profile, and therefore best considered distinct therapeutic modalities in their own right. Patients whose depression has not responded to one modality may well respond to the other.
TMS for Depression
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a proven treatment for depression.
Studies have evaluated the role of TMS in the treatment of depression since the mid-1990s. These studies have clearly shown that TMS is more effective than a placebo type of stimulation, especially in patients who have not responded well to antidepressant medication treatment.
By comparison, more than 40% of patients with depression do not respond to antidepressant medications.
For the majority of depression patients, TMS therapy can provide relief within 6 weeks.
Physical Symptoms of Depression
Behavioural Symptoms of Depression
• Insomnia or excessive sleeping
• Social withdrawal or isolation
• Headaches and nausea
• Substance dependence or abuse
• Fatigue or low energy
• Difficulties with work (employment/school)
• Appetite and/or weight changes
• Concentration difficulties
• Feeling sick or run down
• Lack of motivation
• Loss of libido
• Frequent crying
TMS for Anxiety
Anxiety is the leading mental condition in Australia, with 2 million of us suffering from an anxiety disorder each year.
TMS is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety symptoms will often improve during a course of TMS therapy.
Although its use is not as well-established as in the treatment of depression, TMS therapy may also help patients with anxiety even if significant depression is not present.
A small number of studies have suggested that TMS may benefit patients with GAD. The protocol available at TMS Australia is based on this research and it aims at reducing activity in an overactive area of the brain.
TMS can be applied to the right side of the brain that is hyperactive in anxiety.
Psychological symptoms of anxiety
Physical symptoms of anxiety
• Headache or dizziness
• Tiredness or insomnia
• Difficulty to concentrate
• Palpitations, shortness of breathe
• Nausea or stomach ache
TMS for PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops after a particularly upsetting or frightening event.
A group particularly exposed to PTSD in Australia are veterans and first responders
Patients with PTSD frequently have a combination of depressive symptoms, anxiety and the specific symptoms of PTSD described above. For these patients, TMS can be helpful in improving mood and reducing anxiety.
There is emerging evidence that TMS may also reduce some of the troublesome symptoms of PTSD itself.
PTSD can affect anyone, particularly when exposed to situations like:
PTSD can arise immediately, or can develop over time and affect one’s wellbeing and social interactions. It is a complex condition, which symptoms include:
• Military combat
• Depression, anxiety and/or stress
• Irritability and/or anger
• Abuse or assault
• Headaches, stomach ache, chest pain
• Natural disasters
• Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs
TMS for OCD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (abbreviated OCD) is a serious and debilitating condition where one would suffer from obsessive thoughts, which are intrusive and persistent.
OCD can be a very disabling disorder and persist even when patients engage in medication and psychological treatment.
Studies have shown TMS is increasingly being used for patients suffering from this disorder.
Signs of OCD:
Compulsions are repetitive behaviours, they can be:
• Misplacing/losing objects
• Washing/ Organizing
• Difficulties in establishing or maintaining relationships