The Use of TMS to Treat Mental Conditions

Transcranial magnetic stimulation involves the use of non-invasive techniques to induce excitability in the motor cortex. This indirect approach utilizes a wire coil through the scalp to generate a magnetic field in the brain. Brain specialists at MindSet apply FDA-approved TMS devices to assess and enhance brain functioning in San Diego anxiety patients.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition where patients worry excessively to the point where it interferes with their life. Some studies show that TMS may treat GAD. In one study, patients were divided into two groups; one group had TMS while the other was given SHAM TMS, which means that the patients thought they were getting TMS, but the machine was not delivering any pulses. 71% of the patients who got real TMS found relief from their symptoms, and 43 % achieved remission.

While TMS has yet to be FDA-approved to treat other conditions, there is considerable evidence that it can treat more than just depression and anxiety. Other potential uses of the treatment include:

·         Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

·         Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

·         Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

·         Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Simplified Mechanism of Action of TMS

When your doctor places transcranial magnetic stimulation over the motor cortex, interneurons are activated. These interneurons are usually found in an orientation parallel to the brain surface, which is perfect when inducing trans-synaptic activation of pyramidal cells. Activating these cells evokes the descent of the volleys located in the pyramidal axons projecting on the motor neurons. All these processes cause the target muscle to contract, releasing a motor-evoked potential known as MEP. Your doctor will then record this MEP using electromyography by applying surface electrodes on the surface of the belly muscles. An estimate of corticospinal excitability is measured using the wavelength of the recorded amplitude.

Contraindications for TMS

Overall, various things to assess when considering a patient for the treatment include, a patient should not have artificial implants such as a cochlear implant because it might interfere with its proximity. The procedure involves activating a strong magnetic field. Therefore, brain surgery and metals in the vicinity of where the brain is being stimulated are contraindications. A doctor should ask a patient if they are willing to do an MRI Scan. If the metals in their brain are MRI-proof, then there is no problem to be expected with TMS. History of epilepsy is another serious contraindication for applying the treatment.

What Are the Side Effects of TMS?

15% of patients will report muscle tension headache due to stimulation of the muscle tissue in the brain. However, any side effects tend to diminish over time with repeated sessions of stimulation. Otherwise, there are not many side effects that have been reported. The only theoretical risk is that of a seizure. Only a handful of cases are in the literature; thus, the likelihood of this is minimal, about 1:3,000 sessions. But, the ratio is relatively higher for high-frequency stimulation; thus, low-frequency stimulations are considered a safer protocol.


Contact MindSet to book a consultation to determine if you are a candidate for transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *