TMS for Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, stress, and uneasiness about something or someone. When the fear and uneasiness is intense and frequent, it becomes an anxiety disorder. Any person can experience anxiety from time to time. However, when these symptoms persist for more than six months and affect your day-to-day life, you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder. There are several types of anxiety disorders recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Some of them are general anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias, and many more. Read on to know more about the various types of anxiety disorders and how persistent anxiety can best be treated.
What are the Types of Anxiety Disorder?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition in which a person has frequent, long-term feelings of worry, nervousness, and restlessness. People with GAD often have difficulty controlling worry, even when there is little or nothing to be anxious about. These frequent feelings of anxiety can cause significant problems in a person’s life, affecting his or her ability to function at work, stay in school, and have relationships with family and friends. GAD usually first appears in childhood and teen years, but it can develop at any age. It affects twice as many women as men. Most people who have GAD have another mental health condition, such as depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, or a personality disorder. GAD is a disorder that can be treated.Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for anxiety disorders, and the earlier they are treated, the better. The first line of treatment for anxiety disorders is therapy, which can be in the form of individual or group therapy, or self-help books. During therapy, a trained mental health professional will work with you to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs. They will also help you develop healthy coping skills that can reduce anxiety in the moment and prevent it from returning. Some people can be treated with therapy, while others may need medication, too. Psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines are also commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, although they should always be taken under the guidance of a trained medical professional. While these medications can help reduce anxiety, they can also have serious side effects and are not appropriate for everyone. In some cases, anxiety symptoms do not get better with traditional treatments, and alternative approaches like deep transcranial magnetic stimulation are recommended.
Social Anxiety Disorder
People who have social anxiety disorder have an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. They worry that others will judge them negatively in some way. Individuals with this disorder may avoid various aspects of social interaction, including school, work, parties, and other places where there are people. Social anxiety disorder is the most common type of anxiety disorder, and it affects both children and adults. It is believed that about 10% of the population is affected by this disorder. Social anxiety disorder can be treated with various types of therapy, medication, and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.
People with panic disorder have sudden and repeated episodes of intense fear or discomfort, along with physical symptoms. These episodes, called “panic attacks,” are often unexpected. The sudden nature of the attacks can lead many people to make a connection between panic disorders and panic attacks. In fact, they are two distinct conditions. Panic attacks lead to feelings of extreme anxiety and usually peak within 10 minutes. During these episodes, people with panic disorder may experience symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, and feelings of choking. Unlike people with generalized anxiety disorder, people with panic disorder often recognize that these physical symptoms are not dangerous. Panic disorder is diagnosed when people have recurrent panic attacks and worry about having additional panic attacks.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a long-term condition that causes a person to have obsessions and compulsions that are extreme and disruptive. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts or images that cause anxiety. Compulsions are behaviors that someone does over and over to try to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessions. OCD is a common problem that affects people of all ages. It is estimated that 1.2% of US adults suffered from OCD in the last year. People with OCD are often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. CBT is a short-term therapy designed to change the way an individual thinks and behaves. Medication can help control OCD symptoms when combined with CBT, though alternative approaches like TMS therapy are often utilized as well.
What is Specific Phobia?
A phobia is an extreme and irrational fear of something that poses little or no real danger. People with phobias know that their fear is excessive, but they cannot control it. Phobias can be related to specific objects or situations. For example, many people are afraid of snakes or spiders. In such cases, the fear is called specific phobia. People with specific phobias are often very anxious in the presence of their feared object or situation. Phobias can disrupt many aspects of a person’s life, including work, school, and relationships. Phobias can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or brain stimulation therapies like TMS treatment.
Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome
Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following a trauma of any kind, such as a natural disaster, sexual assault, combat, or any other event that would cause significant emotional distress. Some people with PTSD have recurring traumatic memories (also known as flashbacks), nightmares, and restless thoughts. They may also avoid people, places, and activities that remind them of the trauma. The risk of developing PTSD after a trauma is high, especially if the person has a history of mental illness, is experiencing extreme and/or overwhelming stress, or if the trauma involved injury or death. PTSD can also occur in first responders who provide immediate assistance to people in traumatic situations.
How is Anxiety Disorder Treated?
Treatment for anxiety disorder is based on the type of disorder and severity of the condition. Some of the common treatments include medications, psychotherapy, relaxation techniques, self-help, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Medications like benzodiazepines work well for some people with anxiety disorders, but for others, the side effects are too severe. Psychotherapy is helpful for many people with anxiety disorders. It can help people find new ways to deal with their anxiety and reduce their dependence on medication. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and imagery can help people cope with anxiety disorders. They enable people to learn to relax even during times of stress. Self-help is another effective way of treating anxiety disorders.However, some cases of anxiety disorder do not get better using traditional treatments, especially when they are accompanied by depression symptoms or major depressive disorder, another commonly diagnosed mental illness. Medication-resistant depression and anxiety can be alleviated by newer more experimental approaches, most notably transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which has shown great promise in treating anxiety.
What are the Causes of Anxiety Disorders?
The cause of anxiety disorders is not entirely understood, but their connection to the brain and nervous system is crucial to understanding how these illnesses develop and are treated. Anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Changes in the brain’s chemistry and structure can also play a role. The brain and central nervous system are responsible for all of the body’s “autopilot” functions, like breathing, heartbeat, digestion, and more. Every thought, feeling, and sensation that we have originates in the brain, which houses billions of neurons (or brain cells) that communicate with one another via electrical impulses. When we experience something new, exciting or scary, our neurons fire off signals to the rest of the body, activating the autonomic nervous system. This system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, which prepares the body to react to dangerous situations by increasing heart rate, releasing stress hormones, and priming the immune system for infection. When we’re safe, the nervous system returns to its normal state, but when we experience chronic stress, the neurons in our brain are consistently firing, keeping the whole body on red alert. This, in turn, affects the brain’s structure and chemistry, causing damage to neurons and leaving the body vulnerable to developing an anxiety disorder.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety symptoms vary based on the type and severity of the illness. Each person’s experience with anxiety is unique, but there are some commonalities among people with anxiety disorders. Initial anxiety symptoms tend to appear during adolescence but can also emerge during childhood, middle age, or even later in life. Because these illnesses take different forms in different people, anxiety disorders are best diagnosed and treated by a trained mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker, who can evaluate your symptoms and determine the best course of treatment. Untreated or improperly treated, anxiety disorders can be debilitating, and in rare cases, lead to suicide. Anxiety disorders are often preceded by stressful or traumatic events that change the way the brain and nervous system function. These experiences may include abuse, neglect, the death of a loved one, divorce, chronic illness, the birth of a baby, a significant life change such as a new job, financial problems or natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes.
How to Tell the Difference Between Normal Stress and an Anxiety Disorder?
No one is completely immune to anxiety, but for people without an anxiety disorder, these feelings are relatively short-lived and treatable with healthy coping mechanisms such as exercise, meditation, proper sleep, therapy and good self-care. For people with anxiety disorders, these feelings are constant, pervasive and debilitating. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, people with anxiety disorders experience excessive stress and worry that significantly interferes with their ability to work, go to school, maintain relationships and engage in activities they enjoy. The main difference between normal stress and an anxiety disorder is the frequency, duration and intensity of worry. For people with anxiety disorders, worry is constant and often uncontrollable, interfering with daily activities and preventing the individual from being able to relax. While normal anxiety is triggered by a specific event, anxiety disorders appear out of nowhere, causing distress with seemingly no reason.
Long-Term Consequences of Untreated Anxiety
Untreated anxiety disorders can significantly alter the course of an individual’s life. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., yet they are also among the most treatable. The sooner an anxiety disorder is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome will be. Untreated anxiety disorders can have long-term mental and physical health consequences including depression, substance abuse, insomnia, weight gain, heart disease, and more. When treated properly, anxiety disorders are highly manageable. With the right support, people can live with anxiety and still be happy, healthy, and productive members of society.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Treat Anxiety Symptoms
Panic attacks, social anxiety and general anxiety disorders can be extremely debilitating. Individuals who experience these conditions on a regular basis may feel as if they have limited options for coping with their symptoms. Fortunately, scientists continue to discover new treatments for various mental health issues. One of the most promising therapy options is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Reducing stress and anxiety through TMS is nothing new. It’s been used as a non-invasive treatment option in neurology clinics and research centers all over the world for years.
TMS therapy is an FDA-approved treatment.
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive, painless form of treatment that uses electromagnetic induction to stimulate targeted areas of the brain. It’s a type of neurostimulation used to treat depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other psychological conditions. TMS is usually administered by a trained therapist using a device that sends electromagnetic pulses to the person’s brain through the skull. An electromagnet positioned above the person’s head sends electromagnetic pulses through the scalp and into the brain, where they interact with specialized cells called neurons.
How Does TMS Reduce Anxiety?
The exact reasons for how TMS for anxiety works are still being researched. However, most scientists believe that the electromagnetic pulses from the device are able to alter neural networks in the brain by increasing their activity for several hours after each treatment. Many researchers believe that anxiety disorders are the result of an overactive part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for processing emotions, and memories, and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). When it’s overactive, it’s believed to cause feelings of stress, anxiety, and general feelings of unease. The electromagnetic pulses from the TMS device are believed to inhibit the activity of the limbic system and reduce feelings of anxiety. It also seems to have an antidepressant effect by increasing the activity of other parts of the brain that are responsible for producing positive emotions.
How Effective is TMS at Treating Anxiety?
TMS for anxiety has been proven to be a highly effective treatment option. Additionally, this treatment was shown to be long-lasting. Patients reported reductions in symptoms for up to one year after receiving their last treatment. This long-term effectiveness is likely due to the fact that TMS is able to change the way the brain works. As we mentioned earlier, TMS is able to inhibit the activity of the limbic system and thus ease feelings of anxiety. This is why patients often report feeling significantly less anxious and stressed after receiving TMS treatments. What’s even more promising is that TMS can be used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders. This includes generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
What are the Side Effects of TMS for Anxiety?
Like all medical procedures and medications, TMS has potential side effects. However, these side effects are generally mild and short-term. Some patients report experiencing headaches after treatment. Others may experience fatigue or feel more anxious immediately after receiving the electromagnetic pulses. In most cases, side effects like these will subside after a short period of time. TMS has been proven to be safe for use in most patients. However, certain individuals may be at an increased risk of experiencing adverse side effects. These include people who have an active infection in their head or neck area, those who are pregnant, and individuals who are currently using medications that are contraindicated with TMS. It’s important to note that TMS is not a substitute for medication. It’s most effective when used in addition to medication.
Who Should Use TMS to Reduce Anxiety?
Anyone who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or panic disorder can benefit from TMS. This non-invasive treatment can be used to treat a wide range of anxiety disorders without any side effects. However, not everyone is a good candidate for TMS. Individuals who have an active infection in the head or neck area may not be able to use TMS. Additionally, TMS is contraindicated for patients who are pregnant or taking certain medications. It’s also not recommended for individuals who have metal implants in their head or neck area.
TMS was originally used as a treatment for depression. There is now an enormous body of research showing TMS therapy’s efficacy in the treatment of all types of depression. During a TMS session geared toward treating depression, TMS pulses are directed toward the areas of the brain most affected by depressive symptoms. TMS therapy works by altering the neuronal activity and the synaptic connections in the brain – especially in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for high level cognition and decision-making. During a DMS session, magnetic pulses lead to increased activity in this area of the brain. At Lucid, clients with depression receive TMS treatment specifically designed to eliminate symptoms, and the vast majority benefit from complete remission of symptoms.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that TMS therapy can help people who are trying to stay off of drugs and alcohol. One study conducted in 2018 showed that magnetic stimulation leads to a reduction in neuronal firing when a person is confronted with a drug-related trigger or cue. The study demonstrated that people receiving TMS therapy are less likely to relapse on cocaine, alcohol, and other addictive substances.
Recreational drugs are not the only addictions that TMS can help with. Individuals who are trying to quit smoking may get the relief they need simply by going to a few treatment sessions. Recent research shows that people going in for TMS therapy are at a lower risk of relapse, stay off cigarettes longer, and are also more likely to engage successfully in other treatment approaches.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that a person has for life. However, while it is not curable, it is possible to live with bipolar disorder without disruptive symptoms. TMS therapy makes bipolar disorder for more manageable by treating the condition’s symptoms. During bipolar disorder treatment with TMS, magnetic pulses focus on areas of the brain most directly affected by bipolar disorder. As with depression treatment, the magnetic pulses also target the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This level of stimulation increases mood stability and helps clients regulate their thoughts and emotions. As a result, clients with bipolar disorder can live joyful and fulfilling lives.
When it comes to OCD, the most popular treatment options remain behavioral therapies as well as prescription drugs. However, more than two fifths of people with OCD who use this common treatment interventions still experience disruptive symptoms. TMS therapy can be extremely beneficial for these cases. It is also approved by the FDA as a treatment for OCD. When a person with OCD goes in for treatment, the magnetic impulses aim for the areas of the brain that control OCD symptoms.
TMS treatment is one of the safest and most effective approaches to reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines. Migraines are literally caused by dysfunctional brain activity. During TMS treatment, magnetic impulses target the areas of the brain most associated with migraines. These areas include the occipital cortex of the brain. Migraines are partially caused by brain activity that is too high in these areas. The magnetic pulses that occur during TMS treatment reduce this overactivity. After even a single session, many clients report a dramatic drop in migraine frequency – and the vast majority find that the symptoms and pain levels are far more manageable.
Peripartum depression is an extremely common condition that many people find too taboo to discuss, despite how common it is. It is a type of depression that occurs while a person is pregnant. However, it can also be diagnosed during the first year after childbirth. Many new mothers, pregnant mothers, or nursing mothers are reluctant to take prescription drugs that may affect their child. TMS therapy is FDA-approved, non-invasive, and extremely safe. As an intervention for perinatal depression, it stands above other options. Transcranial magnetic stimulation at Lucid in Los Angeles, CA can help mothers at any stage get relief from their depressive symptoms, allowing them to focus on their lives and their families.
Borderline personality disorder is a condition that is often very difficult to treat. Left untreated, however, it can make it very difficult for a person to sustain relationships or live healthy and fulfilling lives. One study in 2017 showed that TMS can help people with borderline personality disorder by decreasing their rate of self-harm and suicidal ideation. As a side effect, patients with borderline personality disorder who received TMS therapy also found that their behavior in social situations improved. The stronger interpersonal relationships and improved social functioning immediately led to a better quality of life for these patients.
Alzheimer’s Disease can be one of the most painful conditions – for the person diagnosed with it as much as their family members. At Lucid’s treatment center in Los Angeles, California, we use TMS therapy to help individuals who are at any stage of this debilitating brain condition. TMS treatment for Alzheimer’s can help patients get relief from symptoms. Studies show that it may significantly reduce the symptoms of mild Alzheimer’s and even slow down the progression of the disease.
Memory loss, which is distinct from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, is often simply part of getting older. That doesn’t mean that it’s inevitable, though, or that it can’t be treated. While memory loss to some degree will happen no matter what as a person gets older, TMS can be used to dramatically reduce the rate of memory loss. It can also prevent this condition from getting more severe. Lucid is one of Los Angeles’ top treatment centers for TMS therapy for memory loss.
TMS therapy can be helpful for individuals who do not have debilitating conditions as well. The many benefits of this therapeutic modality can help individuals achieve peak performance in any number of areas, including cognitive performance, mood, and concentration. Why reach for coffee when you can improve how your brain functions on the neurological level? TMS peak performance treatment at Lucid is most helpful, for individuals who have mild anxiety, mild depression, or those who are reluctant to take prescription drugs – or who have found prescription drugs ineffective.
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