Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder commonly known as PTSD is a mental health disorder that can be triggered by a frightening event either experiencing it or witnessing it. Most people who experience traumatic events may have difficulty adjusting at first, but with good self-care, they usually get better over time.
Symptoms of PTSD may include nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thought about the traumatic event. Without proper care, these symptoms worsen over time, interfering with the normal daily routine and taking away the quality of enjoyable living. Seeking proper medical care and effective treatment after PTSD symptoms become apparent is crucial in recovering from the disorder.
PTSD symptoms may become apparent as early as one month after the traumatic event, but on some occasions, it may surface several years after the event. Medical professionals group PTSD symptoms into four categories, namely: avoidance, intrusive memories, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. As any other mental health problems, PTSD symptoms vary in severity and from one person to another.
Symptoms of avoidance may include avoiding certain places, activities, and people that remind patients of the traumatic event. Usually, patients do not want to talk about the traumatic event.
The most common symptoms of intrusive memories include flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again, recurring unwanted memories, or severe emotional distress or physical reactions towards which reminds them of the traumatic event.
Because PTSD varies greatly, medical professionals find it difficult to know the exact cause of the mental disorder. Although a generalized diagnosis of a stressful experience, inherited mental risks like having family members with anxiety and depression, and the way the brain regulates chemicals in the body can trigger PTSD.
It’s hard for anyone to live with PTSD as symptoms can intensify over time leading to more serious health problems including drug addiction and suicidal thoughts. People with PTSD can suddenly change their behavior when they hear loud clattering or a car backfire thinking about their combat experiences. This often interferes with their daily lives, in severe cases, they can no longer function properly.
How TMS Helps PTSD
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS emits rapid but short pulses of the magnetic field into an area of the brain. It can simultaneously stimulate the inactive or disruptive region while suppressing the overactive area of the brain. The procedure can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with PTSD.
How does it work?
TMS uses repeated strong electromagnetic pulses to change the activities within the brain circuitry. This gives out a direct influence on the brain activity in a very precise manner, enabling an unprecedented method of control over how the brain works.
Since 2008, after receiving approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, TMS had been used as an alternative treatment for major depressive disorder. People suffering from treatment-resistant medications can benefit well using TMS.
During TMS session, the electromagnetic pulses passed through the skull going to the different areas of the prefrontal cortex of the brain can have significant effects on mood regulation. Depending on what areas are targeted and the depth into the brain, TMS can lessen symptoms of some mental disorders and improve overall mood behavior. This new innovation procedure can change activity in the brain area and affects the overall function of the brain.
According to several studies, introducing the brain to these electromagnetic pulses triggers the electrical charge within the cells, thus brain activity can be shifted from one state to another. This makes the brain shift from a depressed state of mind to a healthy pattern of neurons. TMS can alter the disordered cognitive and emotional processing of the brain in PTSD, restoring its proper function. In several occasions, TMS can slow down brain activity in motor its region to interfere with hyperactive circuits in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Furthermore, TMS is known to also reduce activity in the auditory cortex to hinder hallucinations and ringing sensations in Tinnitus.
TMS therapy can offer great help with its magnetic stimulation of the brain structures and networks associated with PTSD. This can significantly change the lives of many people suffering from this mental health disorder.
Experts believe that understanding more of how the brain works and its region can provide information on how TMS can be utilized more in treating various mental health problems. With a better design protocol and threshold, it can build more accurate models and targeted areas to treat more mental disorders.
How it is Done
TMS therapy treatment is administered for a period of weeks inside the doctor’s office as an outpatient. It usually takes less than an hour depending on the patient’s condition. Patients remain awake and fully alert to their environment. Since TMS does not produce any major side effects, patients can immediately go back to their normal routine following the treatment.