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What is PTSD?
PTSD sufferers experience a range of distressing symptoms, that may persist for many years after the event. Symptoms commonly include:
- Flashbacks to the event, which may be triggered by associated sounds, smells, locations, or similar.
- Anxiety symptoms
- Distressing feelings of guilt, worthlessness, sadness, or anger.
- Concentration problems.
Like any other mental health condition, some sufferers experience more severe and/or long-lasting symptoms than others. Symptoms may also vary in intensity over time. In severe cases, sufferers may find that their quality of life is significantly impaired, to the extent that they’re not able to work or find that their relationships are impacted negatively by their condition.
What is TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, is, as the name suggests, a form of therapy that causes magnetic pulses to pass through a specific area of the brain. TMS is an FDA-approved therapy, that has been scientifically proven to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, depression, brain fog, and related problems.
During a TMS treatment, an electromagnetic coil is placed on the scalp, on the area immediately above the part of the brain that requires stimulation. Magnetic pulses then pass from the coil into the brain for the duration of the treatment, which normally takes around half an hour.
Patients are conscious throughout and don’t require any sedation or preparation prior to treatment. There is no need to undress during treatment or shave the hair away from the area where the TMS coil will be applied.
The treatment isn’t painful – most patients describe the sensation as being similar to tapping. Some patients may experience slight light-headedness during treatment, but this isn’t particularly common. After treatment, there’s no need to avoid any particular activities, or rest – patients can get right back on with their schedule.
How can TMS Relieve PTSD Symptoms?
Studies have shown that TMS can stimulate those areas of the brain that become underactive as a result of mental trauma. It is thought that following trauma, some parts of the brain may become under-active. This results in the unpleasant PTSD symptoms that some people experience. TMS for PTSD works by stimulating those areas, hopefully bringing their levels of activity up to a more normal level.
For many people, TMS can result in an improvement in symptoms in both the short- and the long-term.
An Effective Intervention
The first clear benefit of TMS for PTSD is that studies show it is an effective treatment for the symptoms of PTSD. It’s particularly useful as a treatment because it can work on patients for whom the more commonly used treatment methods of medication and/or therapy haven’t resulted in much improvement.
Even patients who feel as if they’ve tried everything and that nothing will make a difference have shown improvement following TMS treatment.
Although the speed of results varies from patient to patient, many people who start a course of TMS for PTSD begin to feel positive results after just a few sessions. In comparison with therapy, which may take many months, or medications, that can take a couple of months before showing any beneficial effects, TMS for PTSD can begin to work quickly.
A Well Tolerated Treatment
One of the problems with medication is the side effects patients may experience whilst they are taking it. Some medications, particularly those that are designed to treat anxiety and/or depression, have some quite unpleasant side effects, including nausea, a dry mouth, a loss of libido, sleep disturbances, irritability, and more. In contrast, TMS for PTSD has few, if any, side effects.
Aside from some people experiencing slight discomfort during treatment, there aren’t any long-lasting side effects.
Targeting Healing Where It's Needed
TMS for PTSD is designed to specifically target the area of the brain that scans have identified as commonly becoming less active in sufferers of PTSD. The TMS magnetic pulses pass directly into the affected area – the rest of the body remains untouched.
In contrast, medication has the potential to affect every organ in the body, even though its beneficial effect (if there is one) is confined to the brain.
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Whilst talking therapies can be a beneficial treatment option, if the issue is a physiological one (an under-active area of the brain), then it’s likely that therapy alone may not make much of an impact on the PTSD symptoms. TMS targets the area of the brain that’s out-of-kilter, providing a physical solution to the problem that’s causing the PTSD symptoms.
Used correctly TMS has the power to transform the lives of many PTSD sufferers by relieving their symptoms. Once symptoms have gone into remission, many people find that they no longer need to take medication, and can begin to move forward with their lives.
TMS Hudson Valley provides TMS for PTSD. Our fully qualified and experienced team will devise a customized TMS protocol that’s specifically tailored to meet your individual requirements.
Get in touch to find out more about how TMS for PTSD could provide a lasting solution to your distressing symptoms, or the symptoms of someone that you care about.
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.