Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS treatment, is a non-invasive method of mood regulation. It uses magnetic energy to excite target neurotransmitters responsible for mental disorders like depression. Understanding what this treatment is about can help you prepare for it. Here are the details about what happens during a TMS treatment.Talking to the doctor before the…
TMS Treatment for OCD
TMS is one of the brain stimulation methods that work on the brain’s networks and neural circuits. It uses a suitable device that changes the flow of information through certain networks of the central nervous system. TMS alters the electrical activities in a specific area of the brain, as well. With this non-invasive approach, the patient can have relief without medications, anesthesia, or surgery. If you want this type of treatment for your or your loved one’s OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), here are the facts.
Targeting the OFC (orbitofrontal cortex)
There is always overactivity in the OFC in patients with OCD. Studies reveal that giving patients TMS yields positive results. Whether it is a bent or a straight coil, TMS can improve OCD symptoms. The treatment is superficial, so the results only last for up to one month.
For depression treatments, patients need to complete six weeks of sessions. When it comes to stimulating the OFC to treat OCD, the patient needs longer treatments with higher doses of TMS. Neuroimaging can show the results in the patient’s brain. The activity on the right side of the OFC changes as the patient feels better.
Targeting the DLPFC (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex)
The DLPFC is in the lateral area of the brain’s frontal lobes. This area handles cognitive skills. It is the same spot that TMS targets when treating depression. Studies show that when TMS stimulated this area for OCD, there was a decrease in compulsions while the obsessions remained unchanged. This result lasted for about eight hours with an improvement in mood.
Targeting the pre-SMA (pre-supplementary motor area)
Stimulating the pre-SMA for OCD treatment gives the most positive results. Like the OFC, the pre-SMA also becomes overactive in patients with OCD. Initial studies showed that patients improved after the treatment. There were reductions in anxiety and improvements in functioning. These positive results lasted for about three months.
TMS can help improve an OCD patient’s quality of life by reducing symptoms. This disorder may be in the patient’s life forever, but TMS can push it farther to the back. If the treatments are consistent, the symptoms may disappear. Some patients need booster sessions to keep OCD symptoms at low levels. Booster sessions usually happen once a year.
An OCD patient’s response to TMS depends on the age of the diagnosis and the gravity of the symptoms. Results usually occur within the first two weeks of the treatment. Some patients may experience the results sooner or later than others. If the patient has OCD for years, it may be difficult to spot any changes especially if the changes are slow. When the results show, patients notice that urges become weaker and less frequent.
There are OCD patients who respond to standard treatments. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, or both. Others do not improve. They become resistant to conventional OCD treatments. For treatment-resistant patients, TMS has shown positive results. This non-intrusive neurostimulation is an effective alternative.
TMS in OCD patients yield positive and lasting results
Among all the target areas in TMS for treating OCD, pre-SMA and OFC showed the most positive results. Higher and longer doses of TSM result in better, more lasting benefits for depressive patients. The same could work for OCD patients on a more consistent pattern. Although the FDA has already approved TMS for OCD, the best dose of TMS still has to be established by more research. TMS for OCD holds substantial hope for patients and their loved ones.
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