PTSD TMS Can Regulate Fear and Worry Processing

Tms New York, NY

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a therapeutic treatment that a psychiatrist will use to target the parts of the brain that oversee the emotional response. The treatment can alleviate the symptoms of mental health disorders like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Keep reading to find out how TMS therapy works to regulate the fear and worry responses in patients with PTSD.

How TMS therapy treats the symptoms of PTSD

Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event often leads to mental disorders, like depression and PTSD. Usually, PTSD comes with physiological and behavioral changes that lower the sufferer’s quality of life. Here are common signs that point to PTSD:

  • Emotional numbness that presents as detachment and an inability to experience positive emotions
  • Heightened responses that manifest as irritability, aggression, reckless behavior, sleep disorders, and a hair-trigger startle response
  • Episodes where the person relives their trauma through flashbacks, spontaneous memories of the trauma, or a stress reaction to a trigger

Mental health professionals can use TMS to modulate the brain activity responsible for these symptoms. The treatment becomes part of a larger treatment plan to treat PTSD. Here is how the use of magnetic pulses can improve the symptoms of PTSD.

PTSD and the fear response

Trauma can change the way that the brain functions, which is often the case with PTSD. Also, PTSD tends to come with conditions like depression and anxiety, and these correlate with abnormal activity in certain regions of the brain.

A person with PTSD has difficulty regulating their fear response when a memory or external stimulus triggers their trauma. Image mapping of the person’s brain will reveal a reduction in activity of the prefrontal cortex. This is the region that regulates emotion, among other things. At the same time, the person experiences an increase in neural activity in the amygdala, the region responsible for triggering the fear response. These are the types of brain activity that TMS therapy aims to modulate.

TMS treatment for PTSD

Applying a magnetic field to the prefrontal cortex increases its activity level. The magnetic field also proves to lower the neural activity in sections of the amygdala, which reduces a person’s fear response.

According to Brain and Behavior, TMS therapy can cause near-immediate relief from the symptoms of reliving a traumatic experience. Studies were done that involved performing TMS treatment during or immediately after exposing the patient to stimuli that trigger a fear response. The subjects in the study reported feeling less worry and fear than they would usually feel. These self-reports line up with the subjects’ heart rates and brain imaging.

TMS therapy complements medication by reducing the dosage that a patient needs to manage their symptoms. This makes TMS a non-invasive and fairly conservative treatment option. 

TMS therapy sessions are painless procedures that take between 20 and 60 minutes. The beneficial effects of the treatment last for weeks or months at a time. TMS also boosts the effectiveness of behavioral therapy.

Frequently asked questions about TMS therapy and PTSD

Considering getting TMS therapy to help with your PTSD? Here are answers to some of the questions you might have:

1. Can TMS therapy cause brain damage?

There is no evidence that shows TMS therapy leads to any form of long-term damage to a person’s brain. However, there is a 0.1% risk of seizures during the procedure. People who already have an increased risk of suffering seizures, those with chronic diseases like epilepsy, those who take certain medications, and people with substance abuse problems are more likely to experience seizures during TMS therapy.

2. How safe are TMS treatments?

The Food and Drug Administration approves TMS therapy as a treatment for depression, but it is yet to be approved for treating PTSD. However, studies show TMS therapy helps with the symptoms of PTSD, especially when combined with psychotherapy.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by a person seeing or being involved in an extremely frightening or distressing event. The disorder affects multiple regions of the brain and their function. People with PTSD typically have reduced brain activity in the parts of the brain that separate the past from the present and the areas that control anxiety. TMS therapy stimulates these areas with magnetic waves, helping regulate and regenerate brain cells there, restoring balance in the brain.

3. Does TMS lead to memory loss?

No, TMS therapy does not lead to memory loss, and it cannot be used to remove negative memories. The procedure helps people with PTSD by restoring the proper balance in the brain, making it easier for people with the condition to get past the negative experiences consuming them. TMS helps to improve memory, not the opposite. 

Find out if TMS is the treatment that finally turns things around

Contact our offices to set up an appointment with our resident psychiatrist. They will work with you to chart a course of treatment that accommodates your unique set of circumstances. The doctor will walk you through TMS as a treatment option, and they will let you know if it is a good fit for you.

Request an appointment here: https://nycpsychiatricassociates.com or call NYC Psychiatric Associates at (917) 391-0076 for an appointment in our New York office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

Recent Posts

Psychiatry: Early Signs Of PTSD

In psychiatry, doctors study and treat a wide range of conditions. Difficult life events can bring on some of these issues. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a good example. It is important for you to recognize the signs of this illness. Once you know it is affecting your life, you can get the help you need.…

Can TMS Treat Depression Completely?

TMS is a non-invasive treatment for severe depression. It is a versatile treatment. A psychiatrist can also use it for other issues. Many patients feel the positive effects of this treatment. If you want to know if TMS can result in a full recovery from depression, here are the details.The patient’s first appointment is referred…

Do Psychiatrists Offer Therapy?

Wondering whether a psychiatrist can also provide talk therapy? Read on to learn more. While all psychiatrists treat mental health issues using medications, some can decide whether or not to offer formal therapy sessions for talks as a routine over time to solve a specific problem, modify behavioral patterns or deal with past events.A psychiatrist…

TMS Therapy Vs. Electroconvulsive Therapy For Severe Depression

Brain stimulation techniques like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can manage severe cases of depression. Psychiatrists will recommend brain stimulation for mental health issues that are resistant to more conservative treatment options. They might use this type of intervention as a standalone treatment or as part of a larger treatment plan. Transcranial…

Recent Posts

Psychiatry: Early Signs Of PTSD

Psychiatry: Early Signs Of PTSD

In psychiatry, doctors study and treat a wide range of conditions. Difficult life events can bring on some of these issues. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a good example. It is important for you to recognize the signs of this illness. Once you know it is affecting your life, you can get the help you need.…

Can TMS Treat Depression Completely?

Can TMS Treat Depression Completely?

TMS is a non-invasive treatment for severe depression. It is a versatile treatment. A psychiatrist can also use it for other issues. Many patients feel the positive effects of this treatment. If you want to know if TMS can result in a full recovery from depression, here are the details.The patient’s first appointment is referred…

The psychiatric oasis for patients and physicians.