Anxiety is our body’s natural alarm system. It helps us stay safe and make the right decisions. Some form of anxiety is essential for us, and it is an inevitable part of our nature.
However, if you feel that you worry more than usual, have an unrealistic view of your problems, suffer from uncontrollable worrisome thoughts and your anxiety makes it difficult for you to function properly in day-to-day life, then you might have an anxiety disorder.
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive and unreasonable worry and tension. People with GAD often have a difficult time controlling their worry. At the same time, many may experience physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headache, and fatigue. GAD can significantly interfere with a person’s ability to function and may cause them to avoid situations that trigger their anxiety.
Many who suffer from GAD anxiety turn to traditional psychiatric approaches, taking SSRI medications with mixed results. SSRI medications are usually effective in treating some symptoms associated with GAD but troublesome side effects and poor overall results lead many to discontinue the treatment. Fortunately, there is an alternative treatment for GAD that is also relatively quicker and produces lasting results without the unpleasant side effects of SSRIs.
What is TMS Therapy for GAD?
TMS is an abbreviation for Transcranial magnetic stimulation. This form of treatment has gained momentum in the behavioral health community as an effective alternative for medication-resistant mental health disorders. TMS is an FDA-cleared treatment procedure for depression and approval for other disorders are in progress. TMS has become popular among patients that could not find relief even after extended periods of traditional medication and therapy.
During TMS therapy, a magnetic coil is placed against the scalp in specific locations. The magnetic pulses stimulate nerve cells in the region of the brain thought to be linked to the patient’s mood disorder. TMS is a non-invasive procedure that does not require anesthesia, and patients can return to their normal activities immediately following a session.
TMS is an effective treatment for GAD by helping to reduce the number of panic attacks and the intensity of symptoms. In a study of TMS for GAD, patients that received TMS therapy had a significant reduction in their number of panic attacks and a decrease in the severity of their symptoms.
What differentiates TMS from other forms of treatment is that it treats mental disorders at their source, in the brain. Additionally, TMS is non-evasive, does not require any sedation or anesthesia and is pain-free. TMS safely treats symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s important to know that the chances of seizure or loss of consciousness during treatment are less than 0.1%
How does TMS Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder work?
The symptoms of anxiety and mood disorders are linked with disruption of activity in the emotional centers of the brain. This imbalance in the brain makes it difficult to manage the triggers of anxiety.
The TMS treatment uses rapid, high-frequency and powerful magnetic pulses on the targeted area of your head, stimulating a specific location in your prefrontal cortex. Patients often report relief after undergoing TMS. Why? because these powerful pulses reactivate the underactive areas of the brain that were causing depression and anxiety in the first place. This reactivation helps you gain normal functionality and a significant improvement in mood.
As for how the treatment proceeds; you are seated in a chair, and a device with an electromagnetic coil is placed over your head. All of this is done under professional supervision without any safety or health risks. The device can be adjusted and placed near the area of your brain targeted in your initial diagnostic session and brain mapping. Those receiving TMS are treated four to five times per week. Each of these sessions can last up to 40 minutes. This can continue for up to several weeks or 30 sessions, depending on the patient.
TMS also has minimum to no side-effects. Some temporary side effects may include lightheadedness or a temporary minor headache. Also, there is no need for hospitalization to get this therapy. Therefore, anyone undergoing TMS therapy can continue with their daily lives while having the treatment.
What Benefits do patients report after TMS?
In a couple of weeks, patients of TMS therapy for generalized anxiety disorder start feeling the benefits of TMS and report a significant reduction in their symptoms. Anxiety becomes less intense and more controllable. Improvements are reported in symptoms such as:
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle tension
- Concentration problems
- Excessive sweating
- Uncontrollable thoughts
- Shortness of breath etc.
TMS a tested approach for GAD
The uplifting message for those that are suffering from GAD is that leading-edge technology is available to them. If therapy and medications have failed to help your symptoms, then TMS is an effective treatment for anxiety that can help you get back to normal life. Please contact South Tampa Psychiatry TMS for more information on TMS for Anxiety or to schedule an assessment.