Substance abuse treatment can be done in different settings using various therapies, including Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS therapy). TMS is a recently-introduced treatment. Although lots of information is out there on its use, people are still asking, how does TMS therapy work for addiction?
The therapy is primarily designed to treat depression. Over the years, addiction treatment specialists began using it for substance use disorders, especially alcohol use disorder (AUD) and cocaine use disorder (CUD). TMS may also help prevent recovering individuals from returning to substance abuse by blocking cravings. It can still be effective even if you already fell off the wagon.
What is TMS Therapy?
A fruitful discussion on how does TMS therapy work should begin with details of what TMS therapy is. It is a painless, noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic energy to stimulate certain nerve cells in the brain. The treatment has shown efficacy in improving depression symptoms during withdrawal and in patients already battling depression as a co-occurring mental disorder.
TMS therapy is performed by placing an electromagnetic coil near the head. The magnetic energy goes through the skull and into the brain tissue, where it can stimulate the neurons. The specific area of the brain that is targeted with TMS therapy depends on the condition being treated. For example, TMS therapy has been used to treat conditions like migraines, Parkinson’s disease, and Tourette syndrome.
During TMS therapy, patients are awake and alert. The treatment is usually done over the course of several weeks, and each session lasts for about 30–60 minutes. There is no anesthesia or sedation required, and patients can typically drive themselves home after the procedure.
Side effects of TMS therapy are generally mild and temporary. The most common side effects include:
- Scalp discomfort at the site of stimulation
- Tingling or spasms in the face
Some addiction treatment centers in Tampa, Florida use TMS therapy to treat addiction at its source. Sources include internal or external cues or substance use triggers that make some people relapse after rehab. Triggers include people, places, things, and negative feelings that provoke cravings for drugs or alcohol. Examples are drug-using friends, alcohol bars, drug paraphernalia, chronic stress, and loneliness.
How Does TMS Therapy Work for Substance Abuse?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes addiction as a complex and relapsing brain disorder. The disorder changes brain functions and affects the individual’s ability to think and make decisions. This causes them to seek addictive substances compulsively.
Even with treatment, a person is at risk of relapse. In fact, there is a 40–60% relapse rate. However, their chance of long-term sobriety increases with evidenced-based treatments and holistic therapies. Bear these important factors in mind when exploring how does TMS therapy work to treat addiction.
First, the therapy directly targets certain brain functions. It involves the use of an electromagnetic device placed over the forehead near the scalp. When activated, the device delivers magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells in the area of the brain that regulates mood.
Secondly, TMS therapy works to reduces brain activity that controls how the person responds to cravings or cues that drive them to alcohol or drugs. Therapy is highly-customized based on the patient’s needs and does not involve the use of sedatives or other drugs. It may work well as an alternative in cases where standard treatments, e.g., psychotherapy or medication therapy, fell short.
TMS Therapy at BoardPrep Recovery Center®
Addiction treatment requires a comprehensive approach that targets the problem from different angles. So by asking how does TMS therapy work, you may now realize it treats addiction by helping to adjust the way the brain responds to substance use urges. This can make it a breakthrough way to reduce relapse rates. However, TMS is not enough to end addiction by itself and does not replace standard treatments. In fact, therapy usually begins after the patient completes a medical detox program in FL, which can take the form of medication-assisted treatment.
Besides TMS, our post-detox treatments include dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders, psychotherapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Our doctors and mental health specialists will do an in-depth physical and psychiatric evaluation to decide on the level of treatment you need and if TMS therapy is right for you. You or your loved one can heal and recover in any of our addiction treatment programs based on your unique needs. The programs include:
- Outpatient rehab program
- Day-night rehab program
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
BoardPrep Recovery Center® is located in Tampa, FL, and welcomes men and women, including young adults who can enroll in the young adults rehab program. The overarching goal of our trained and certified treatment specialists is to give you the tools to maintain abstinence long after you leave rehab. We can achieve this through a customized recovery plan that may also include family therapy or the 12-Step Program. Contact BoardPrep Recovery Center® by calling 866.796.4720 to find out how we can help.