Popular OCD Treatment: TMS

Obsessive compulsive disorder, (OCD), is a chronic condition affecting nearly one out of 40 people in America at least once in their life, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI). There are multiple options available for treating OCD, including drug therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. However, not everyone currently seeking treatment for OCD is receiving the relief that they both need and deserve from traditional treatments. Promising new studies are currently being conducted on the potential benefits of a new treatment for OCD called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS.

What is OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental condition characterized by both obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions typically include behavior that is filled with both rituals and repetition. The individual suffering from OCD is unable to control these behaviors, which accounts for the labeling of compulsion. OCD can look different for different people, presenting itself in the form of excessive hand-washing, counting steps or thought fixation. However, to receive an OCD diagnosis, it is required that these symptoms regularly interfere with daily life.

On a neurological level, OCD is characterized by hyperconnectivity between two areas of the brain, the orbitofrontal cortex and the caudate nucleus. According to Discover Magazine, this overactive connection leads to a fear response and the compulsive repetition associated with OCD.

Currently, the most common OCD treatment is either Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRIs) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), in combination or alone. However, these OCD treatments are not effective for everyoneTherefore, a new OCD treatment is needed to provide adequate relief from this debilitating disorder.

What is TMS?

TMS was approved by the FDA in 2008 as a safe and effective treatment for medication resistant depression. Since then, its potential for treating other brain disorders has been explored within the medical community. One such brain disorder that TMS may be effective in treating is OCD.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a brain stimulation therapy that uses short electric currents to stimulate nerve endings in certain areas of the brain. In the case of OCD, the areas targeted are the orbitofrontal cortex and the caudate nucleus. These short electric currents are transmitted to the brain through electromagnetic coils placed on the forehead.

Typically, TMS is administered in weekly sessions lasting 30 minutes each. These sessions are conducted in an outpatient facility and the patient is made to feel as comfortable as possible throughout the experience. During the OCD treatment, the patient sits in a comfortable chair while the electric current is administered through the electromagnetic coils.

How Can TMS Help OCD?

The medical community is currently conducting trials to determine the efficacy of TMS as an OCD treatment. Early results are promising, with a meta-analysis of recent studies showing significantly beneficial results from TMS as an OCD treatment. Globenewswire recently reported on a promising new study that showed 47% improvement in symptoms in those given TMS for OCD

TMS is still a relatively new form of OCD treatment, and future studies will need to be conducted in order to determine rates of long-term efficacy. It is possible that TMS will provide the greatest relief as an OCD treatment when administered in conjunction with either SRIs and/or CBT.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a widespread and debilitating disease, affecting more than 2.2 million Americans today, according to NAMI. However, exciting new studies are currently being conducted on the use of TMS as an OCD treatment. These studies indicate that brain stimulation therapy may be a safe and effective treatment option for OCD.

Westside Neurotherapeutics offers Deep TMS treatments for OCD in Los Angeles, which are advanced forms of TMS. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or email at info@westsideneurotherapeutics.com.

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