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TMS for PTSD
Transcranial magnetic stimulation in San Diego is becoming more popular as a treatment option for PTSD, especially among veterans. Using TMS for PTSD involves magnetic stimulation to areas of the brain that produce stress hormones.
Trauma can cause physical changes to the brain’s structure and how it functions. These changes can cause abnormal levels of hormones that trigger fight or flight responses. Magnetic brain stimulation from TMS can help balance these hormones, suppressing PTSD.
Read more to see why you might want to consider Brain Center’s TMS for PTSD in San Diego.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that is caused and triggered by a terrifying event in one’s life. These traumatic experiences are typically related to a threat to one’s life, death, serious injury, natural disasters, or sexual violation.
People with PTSD feel heightened senses of fear and anxiety, triggering fight-or-flight responses, even when they may be safe.
PTSD can affect people of all ages who have been through traumatic experiences. A natural mechanism in the brain related to pain and fear can change a person’s perceptions and response.
Veterans of war sometimes refer to PTSD as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue.” Due to the realities of war, our brave soldiers are unfortunately more at risk than any other population in the United States. A study done by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says nearly 30% of soldiers from the Vietnam War have had PTSD. And, up to 20% of soldiers fighting in Operations Iraqi Freedom develop PTSD.
Common Trauma That Can Cause PTSD
Common traumatic events that can cause PTSD include:
- Sexual violence
- Childhood physical abuse
- Combat exposure
- Physical assault
- Being threatened with a weapon
- An accident
Co-occurring Disorders and Symptoms
Post traumatic stress disorder is one mental illness, but some medical professionals break it down into subtypes depending on individual symptoms.
Symptoms of PTSD may include:
- Dissociation and avoidance
- Eating disturbances
- Panic attack
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal ideation
- Uncontrollable thoughts about the event
Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder may start immediately after the causal event, or they may develop years later. These symptoms may develop into additional mental disorders of their own.
The intensity of PTSD symptoms can vary over time, but they often intensified with general stress and reminders of the event (noises, news, people, etc.).
Traditional Treatment Options for PTSD
Traditional prescription for post traumatic stress disorder is typically therapy and medication, or a combination of the two.
Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy promote changing negative thinking patterns related to traumatic events. After more positive thought patterns are established, a patient may start exposure therapy. Exposure therapy will then re-introduce elements related to trauma so that the patient may desensitize triggers.
Medications (often antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs) may relieve symptoms of PTSD. Each may be prescribed depending on the symptoms a person experiences.
Unfortunately, medications and therapy aren’t always effective. Studies show in cases of major depressive disorder (MDD), antidepressants effectively reduce symptoms by 50% on average. And medications, especially antidepressants and antipsychotics, have unfavorable side effects.
In comparison, the 20 Hz theta-burst machine we use in TMS for PTSD in San Diego has nearly no side effects.
Common Side Effects of Antidepressants and Antipsychotics
Antidepressants and antipsychotics can commonly cause the following side effects:
- Blurred vision
- Decreased Sex Drive
- Dry mouth
- ‘Foggy’ Brain
- Stiffness or shakiness
- Weight Gain
Brain Center’s San Diego TMS Treatment for PTSD
Brain Center has leading TMS treatment in San Diego with access to the Theta Burst Stimulation. 20 Hz magnetic frequencies from theta bursts have been shown to produce longer-lasting results and higher remission rates than older TMS technologies.
Stimulating parts of the brain with abnormally low activity can make a person feel normal again, improving their quality of life. TMS has proven to be useful for depression because it can increase hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. Similarly, it helps people with bipolar disorders balance similar hormones by targeting the left or right parts of the brain, depending on mood fluctuations.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy for PTSD works similarly. Depending on symptoms, a professional will position the magnetic coils where stimulation is merited.
Also, a recent study done in 2019 on theta-burst stimulation for post-traumatic stress disorder found that has similar results as seen in TMS for treatment-resistant depression. Just 4-weeks of intermittent TBS (iTBS) helped more than half of patients avoid clinical relapse by the one-year mark after treatment. Results of this study also suggested changes in contextual processing, strategic memory operations, and cognitive operations in those with PTSD.
Another meta-analysis study done in June 2021, highlighted that high-frequency protocols, as seen in iTBS, have been more effective than low-frequency TMS.
To get specific, TMS for PTSD works by targeting the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. Severe stress negatively impacts this part of the brain, affecting cognitive functions such as working memory. The prefrontal cortex may be targeted too if PTSD is causing mood symptoms.
Our San Diego TMS treatment center has seen significant improvement when applying this state-of-the-art technology to those in need.
The best part is our San Diego TMS PTSD treatment is safe, quick, and effective. Patients here love the following benefits:
- High Success Rate – a considerably higher success rate than other standard treatments. Our TMS technology has completely relieved symptoms of depression, anxiety, etc in roughly 70% of patients.
- Non-Invasive – the procedure is entirely external to the body.
- Non-Sedative – it requires no sedation and is relatively painless.
- Minimal to No Side Effects – it has no side effects in the vast majority of patients.
- Short sessions — less than 5 minutes long, whereas competing TMS can last up to 40 minutes.
Our TMS therapy typically starts five times a week for up to six weeks. After the first weeks, sessions may be done less often as symptoms improve.
We’d love to show you how our San Diego PTSD TMS treatment can help you. You’re likely covered insurance. Most major insurance policies in California are now on-board with TMS, aside from Medi-cal.
TRICARE Insurance For PTSD
TRICARE health insurance provides mental health coverage for those who have served or currently serve the United States military, including National Guard members and their families.
TRICARE covers several promising new therapies, including Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. If you’re an eligible member and are seeking treatment for PTSD, be sure to reach out today and learn more about how TMS can help you.
As a newly-recognized in-network provider of TRICARE, Brain Center TMS delivers top-notch services for people who have PTSD that are clinically proven to lessen the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If you’d like to learn more about the treatment process, please visit our TMS Procedure page.
Scholarly Research and Publications