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TMS for Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition that causes unusual shifts in someone’s mood and energy. These shifts are called “episodes” or “mood swings.” People with bipolar disorder have episodes of mania and depression, which can be severe and disabling. These conditions can have a serious impact on the person suffering from it as well as those around them. This article takes a look at what Bipolar disorder is, signs to watch out for, and how transcranial magnetic stimulation can help alleviate some of the more severe symptoms that bipolar patients experience.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a behavioral condition that causes drastic shifts in mood, energy and activity levels. People with bipolar disorder experience episodes of manic behavior and depressive moods. The mood shifts are caused by changes in the levels of certain chemicals in the brain. While the exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, risk factors include genetics, a stressful event and an unhealthy lifestyle. Bipolar disorder affects about 4.4% of adults, but many people do not get diagnosed until their 40s, 50s or even later.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The symptoms of bipolar disorder, which are often different from person to person, can change over time. During times of mania, the person may be excessively irritable, restless, impulsive, and have little need for sleep. He or she may also have grandiose thoughts, such as unrealistic ideas about one’s own importance or abilities. Bipolar disorder symptoms are often different between depressed and manic phases. The symptoms of mania and depression can include:

  • Mania: Excessive irritability, restlessness, a racing mind, or impulsive behavior are common signs of mania. You may also experience an inflated sense of self-importance or a decreased need for sleep. During a manic episode, you may also experience delusions or hallucinations.
  • Depression: You may have feelings of extreme sadness or emptiness during a depressive episode. You may have trouble sleeping or concentrating, and you may feel little or no pleasure in activities that you usually enjoy. You may also have recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Cycling between the two: Some people experience bipolar disorder as a cyclic pattern of both manic and depressive symptoms, with periods of normal mood in between. Others experience only depressive episodes, or only manic episodes.
A man with bipolar disorder at the mirror. Bipolar affective disorder. A person with manic-depressive psychosis. Mental illness. A person with depression. A man is reflected in the mirror

Manic Phase of Bipolar Disorder

People diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience periods of mania. This is a state of elevated mood and energy that can last from days to months. During a manic episode, the person may exhibit signs of irritability, restlessness, excessive talking, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior. These periods usually last weeks or months, but they can last longer. A manic episode is different from a normal state of excitement or anxiety. While everyone may experience some level of stress and anxiety, it is not the same as being manic. Some of the signs of mania include racing thoughts, a high level of energy, and impulsive or risky behavior. It is also possible to have periods of depression and periods of mania. A person may fluctuate between the two. A period of depression may follow a manic episode. It’s important to know that the symptoms seen during mania are the same in both bipolar I and bipolar II.

Depressive Phase of Bipolar Disorder

The depressive phase can be as hard as the manic phase for the person with the condition. Sometimes, the person may feel suicidal, hopeless, and as if there is no way out. This can lead to self-harm or even suicide. The symptoms may include excessive sadness, the feeling of guilt, and changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and energy levels. The best way to treat bipolar disorder is by getting proper diagnosis and treatment. If you or someone you care about is exhibiting any of the above signs, it’s important to seek help. Early intervention provides a much better chance of recovery.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

There are many different factors that can lead to bipolar disorder. Genetics, environment, and certain lifestyle habits make a person more prone to bipolar disorder. The risk of developing the condition is higher if there is a family history of bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions. A traumatic event can lead to bipolar disorder. If a person already has bipolar disorder, any stressful situation can trigger an episode. Bipolar disorder is also more common in people with other mental health conditions such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder

The goal of treatment for bipolar disorder is to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms, as well as the risk of relapse. Treatment may include medicine to stabilize mood swings and self-help strategies for dealing with stress, sleep, and diet. Therapy can also help people with bipolar disorder learn how to deal with emotions, accept change, and build healthy relationships. Medications can help to manage disordered moods, sleep, and behavior.

Bipolar disorder can be challenging to treat, but with early diagnosis and proper treatment, people with the condition can live full, successful lives. The best way to treat bipolar disorder is by getting proper diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention provides a much better chance of recovery.
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What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved non-invasive method to treat psychiatric disorders. It is the process of stimulating the brain with a low-intensity magnetic field. A TMS machine emits an electromagnetic pulse through a coil placed near your head. This pulse is strong enough to penetrate your scalp and skull and stimulate nerve cells in your brain, providing antidepressant effects that have been confirmed in more than one observational study and systematic review.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is considered an add-on therapy to more traditional treatments. You may need to receive TMS as many as 15 times over a period of a few weeks, though some people go back sporadically after that for maintenance treatment. The number of sessions and the timing of each session depend on the severity of your condition and how your body responds to the treatment. Since TMS uses a magnetic field, it cannot be used on people with metal in their bodies. This includes people with artificial joints, aneurysm clips, cranial implants, heart pacemakers, and other implanted devices.

How Does TMS Therapy Work?

TMS uses a magnet to send pulses of energy through your skull to your brain. It is thought to work by increasing the amount of certain chemicals, such as serotonin or dopamine, that are in your brain. These chemicals are believed to be lower in people with mood disorders. The magnet is placed against your forehead. It sends pulses of energy through your skull to your brain. You will feel a tapping or tingling sensation near your forehead. This is normal and should go away after a few treatments. During TMS, a person lies down in a reclining chair. The machine is turned on and a person is prompted to move their fingers to help direct the energy toward the part of the brain with mood difficulties.

How Effective is Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Bipolar Depression?

Researchers have found that TMS is helpful in treating both unipolar depression and bipolar depression. However, there are limited data on how many people benefit from TMS and how long the benefits last. TMS may be combined with medication and psychotherapy, and this may be the best course of action for people with treatment-resistant bipolar depression. But it is not clear how it works when it is used in combination with other treatments. There is limited data on how many people benefit from TMS and how long the benefits last. In one study, the benefits lasted an average of three months. There are some side effects of TMS. These include a headache and temporary pain at the site of the TMS machine.

Side Effects of TMS for Bipolar Depression

There are some side effects of TMS. These include a headache and temporary pain at the site of the TMS machine. TMS can also cause some brain fog, trouble with short-term memory, and trouble concentrating. A person should be monitored closely if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. TMS is not recommended for someone with a seizure disorder.

Can Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Help with Comorbid Mental Disorders?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes unusual ups and downs in mood. If you have bipolar disorder, you have recurrent mood swings with extremes of joy (mania) and depression. You might have periods of normal functioning in between these episodes. If your bipolar disorder symptoms continue for a long time, it can take a toll on your personal and professional life. It can also lead to the development of comorbid mental health disorders. Although medications and psychotherapy are the first-line treatments for bipolar disorder, many people do not get better completely with these therapies alone. There are various non-invasive methods of treating this condition by stimulating certain parts of the brain with magnetic waves emitted from an electromagnet placed near the head for transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy for bipolar depression.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depression is a common symptom of unipolar and bipolar depression and can last longer than two weeks. It can be challenging to diagnose depression in someone with bipolar disorder because the depression symptoms are similar. Treatment for depression may differ depending on whether the person also has bipolar disorder. However, when bipolar depressed patients get help using a combination of medication, therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS therapy), their quality of life can improve considerably. Treating depression is often the first step to a breakthrough for such patients.


Mania is the other common symptom experienced by bipolar patients. This can lead to excessive talking, moving around a lot, poor eating habits, and difficulty sleeping. Manic behavior can be challenging to deal with, and it can lead to other problems, such as substance abuse. TMS treatment is helpful not only for a major depressive episode, but clinical trials have also shown that it can benefit adults patients who experience manic episodes with high frequency.


Anxiety can occur during the depressive and manic phases of bipolar disorder. It can be challenging to treat the two conditions together. Adrenaline, an important chemical in the brain that can lead to both anxiety and mania, may be responsible for the connection between the two.

Substance Dependence and Abuse

A person with bipolar disorder can be more prone to substance abuse, especially alcohol. The two conditions can also make each other worse. Bipolar disorder treatment can help to decrease substance abuse in people with both conditions.

Sleep Disorders

Poor sleep habits are common during both the depressive and manic phases of bipolar disorder, and can lead to irritability, concentration, and memory issues. There are several sleep disorders that can be common in bipolar disorder, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome.

Bipolar Disorder and Eating Disorders

An eating disorder, such as anorexia, can be challenging to treat in someone with bipolar disorder.

Suicidal ideation and self-harm

Bipolar disorder can lead to suicidal thoughts. Mood disorders such as bipolar disorder are one of the biggest risk factors of suicide. There are many steps a person can take to reduce the risk of self-harm and suicide, including treatment, support, and therapy. A psychiatric evaluation is a good first step.

Bipolar Disorder and Relationships

Communication is key in any healthy relationship, but it can be particularly important for couples dealing with bipolar disorder. Relationships require a lot of trust, patience, and willingness to work through difficulties together.

TMS therapy is an FDA-approved treatment.

It is widely covered by many health insurance plans.

TMS vs Electroconvulsive Therapy: Which Is Better?

This is a difficult question to answer. Both brain therapies are distinct and offer different benefits and risk profiles. There is a lack of research comparing the two. There is a possibility that ECT may be more effective for people with severe depression or a history of suicide attempts. There are some differences in side effects between the two. TMS is a gentler treatment and is associated with fewer short-term side effects. ECT is associated with a short-lived seizure. However, ECT is associated with fewer long-term side effects. ECT has a shorter course of treatment than TMS. Overall, both treatments have shown positive results in treating depression. However, more studies are needed to make a fair comparison between the two.

Should You Try TMS for Bipolar Depression?

TMS may be a good option if medications and psychotherapy are not working for you. There are limited data on how many people benefit from TMS and how long the benefits last. More studies are needed to make a fair comparison between the two. There are some side effects of TMS. However, they are usually mild and go away within a few days. If you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you will probably have recurring episodes of mania and depression for the rest of your life. But treatments like repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation can help reduce their frequency and severity.

TMS therapy at Lucid Wellness Center in Los Angeles can help with a wide range of mental health disorders, including but not limited to the conditions listed below.

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.

TMS is as effective for anxiety as it is for depression. A growing body of research shows that TMS treatment not only reduces the painful symptoms of anxiety, but it also cuts it off at the source. When a person has anxiety disorder, specific areas of the brain that control adrenaline and the “fight or flight” response are overactive. During TMS treatment for anxiety, magnetic pulses target these overactive areas of the brain and help clients relax. After just a few sessions, many people with anxiety disorder experience complete relief from the symptoms of their anxiety or panic disorder.

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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