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Anxiety disorders, pervasive and often debilitating, are a serious mental health issue that affects countless individuals worldwide. If you are grappling with anxiety, you’re not alone, and promising treatment options are available. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an innovative, non-invasive treatment that may provide much-needed relief for individuals with anxiety disorders.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety disorder is a mental health condition beyond occasional worry or stress. It is characterized by chronic, extreme feelings of fear and tension that are not temporary but persist and interfere significantly with everyday life. Anxiety disorders encompass several subtypes, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Phobias.
According to research by Harvard Medical School, an estimated 30% of individuals will experience some form of anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Despite the high prevalence and seriousness of these disorders, misconceptions continue to permeate society, presenting significant hurdles to understanding, treatment, and support.
Despite their severity, misconceptions about anxiety disorders continue to circulate, creating barriers to treatment and support. Many still erroneously believe that anxiety disorders are not severe or will disappear without intervention. It is essential to understand that these are real and severe disorders, which, if left untreated, can lead to co-occurring conditions or self-medication with substances like alcohol or drugs.
What is TMS Therapy?
First sanctioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008 for treating depression, TMS therapy has displayed significant success in managing depressive symptoms in patients who had not responded to traditional treatments. This promising outcome has propelled further investigations into the utility of TMS for treating a more comprehensive array of mental health disorders, such as anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and more.
The TMS procedure involves positioning a magnetic coil close to the patient’s scalp, targeting a specific area of the brain – usually the prefrontal cortex for treating conditions like anxiety. Once in place, the coil generates a magnetic field that passes through the skull and brain. This field creates small electrical currents stimulating nerve cells within the targeted area, promoting activity and communication among the neurons.
How Does TMS Therapy Help Anxiety?
TMS therapy targets and stimulates specific areas of the brain associated with mood regulation. Using carefully controlled magnetic pulses, TMS therapy can stimulate brain activity, potentially alleviating the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
The efficacy of TMS therapy in reducing anxiety symptoms has been demonstrated in numerous studies. Research has shown that TMS therapy has successfully reduced anxiety symptoms in over half of patients diagnosed with GAD, with these individuals reporting lower anxiety levels sustained over six months following treatment. These promising results showcase the potential of TMS therapy as a treatment modality for anxiety disorders, although further research is ongoing to refine and confirm these findings.
Studies indicate that TMS therapy can show significant improvements for individuals struggling with anxiety disorders. Patients who undergo TMS therapy often report substantial reductions in a wide range of anxiety symptoms, including:
- Uncontrollable worry or feelings of impending doom
- Fatigue or chronic tiredness
- Feeling constantly on edge or agitated
- Emotional numbness or detachment
- Sensitivity to noise, light, or physical touch
- Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Frequent crying or emotional outbursts
- Disruptions in sleep patterns or persistent insomnia
- Enhanced irritability or mood swings
- Excessive perspiration, even in calm conditions
- Gastrointestinal issues, such as upset stomach or irregular bowel movements
- High blood pressure or palpitations
TMS Therapy for Treating Anxiety
Anxiety disorders often have a biological aspect linked to irregularities in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. Prescription medications primarily aim to address these abnormalities. However, TMS therapy offers an innovative approach, focusing on this brain region. During TMS therapy, a medical practitioner positions a coil near the prefrontal cortex, which emits magnetic pulses to stir up the usually dormant areas contributing to anxiety symptoms. This focus on the prefrontal cortex by TMS therapy may aid in correcting the irregular neural activity typically seen in patients with anxiety disorders.
Some patients experience relief after their first session, while others notice improvement after several treatments. Despite not being the most common treatment for anxiety disorders, TMS therapy’s effectiveness cannot be overlooked. It is helping countless individuals manage their anxiety symptoms.
The TMS treatment process spans four to six weeks, with regular sessions lasting 30 to 60 minutes. The procedure is painless and non-invasive, allowing patients to resume their daily routines immediately after each session. TMS therapy is a promising avenue for those who have found limited relief from traditional treatment methods, offering a path to manage and control anxiety effectively.
Why Do I Have Anxiety?
While the exact causes of anxiety are unknown, researchers found that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a part.
A shortlist of risk factors to keep an eye on include:
- Behavioral restraint during childhood
- Exposure to stress-inducing negative experiences
- History of anxiety or mental illness in the family
- Physical conditions such as thyroid problems or heart arrhythmias
- Substance abuse
There are various reasons as to why you might suffer from anxiety. Genetics, environment, and history may all have a part in your suffering. If you believe you have an anxiety disorder, make sure to set an appointment with your doctor to diagnose and treat your symptoms.
They may recommend several treatments, but be sure to also ask about the TMS treatment process.
TMS Therapy at Clearwave Mental Health
At Clearwave Mental Health, we pride ourselves on providing our patients with state-of-the-art treatments for anxiety. Our team is proficient in administering TMS therapy and understands the unique challenges individuals living with anxiety disorders face.
Our approach to mental health treatment is intensely personalized. We tailor our treatment plans to address the individual’s unique symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle factors. If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder and have found little relief from traditional treatments, TMS therapy may be a suitable alternative.
Our team at Clearwave Mental Health is here to provide the support, education, and innovative treatments you need to regain control over your life. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and to discuss the potential of TMS therapy for anxiety.
Clearwave Mental Health is the premier psychiatric and TMS treatment center servicing Poughkeepsie, Valhalla, Westchester, New York and the Hudson Valley. Our mission is to provide compassionate, personalized, individualized, and effective mental health care for our community.