Post-traumatic stress disorder can be difficult to live with and to move forward from. Generally, patients benefit from seeing a therapist regularly and also from adding medications, like antidepressants, to their routine. But what if you have been relying on these PTSD treatments for a while and are still struggling to get by? You may want to consider undergoing TMS therapy, a different type of treatment for PTSD and similar mental health conditions.
What is TMS therapy?
"TMS" stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. The therapy takes place in your doctor's office. A device will be placed over your head, and it will emit magnetic waves that permeate through your skull and into your brain tissue. This may sound scary, but TMS therapy does not hurt, and it's quite safe. People often confuse it with electrical shock therapy, which does not have the best track record — but this is not the same thing.
How does TMS work?
TMS appears to work by calming down certain nerves in your brain — the ones that tend to rapid-fire when you're suffering from PTSD. In doing so, it can help ease or reduce the frequency of symptoms like flashbacks, depression, and insomnia. TMS therapy is also used to treat depression and anxiety, so if you are dealing with a double-diagnosis with PTSD and anxiety or PTSD and depression, TMS allows both conditions to be addressed at the same time.
Are there any side effects to worry about?
Sometimes PTSD patients get a little frustrated with treatment after experiencing side effects from prescription drugs. But one advantage of TMS therapy is its relatively low chance of causing side effects — at least, serious ones. If side effects do occur, they tend to be mild and may include mild headaches, tingling in the head and neck, and trouble falling asleep. These side effects tend to fade within a couple of days.
Who should not get TMS therapy?
TMS therapy is safe for most PTSD patients. However, you cannot safely receive this therapy if you have any metal plates in your body or if you have a cochlear implant. The metal in these bodily inserts can interfere with the magnetic field generated by the TMS device.
If you are struggling with PTSD and not getting relief from your current treatments, talk to your doctor about TMS therapy. It works quite differently from other PTSD treatments and can be a very safe choice.