Sunday, December 11, 2022

A New Treatment Option For Those Who Don't Meet DBS Criteria – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for OCD...

"About 70% of people with OCD will experience at least some benefit from exposure and response prevention (a form of cognitive behavioral therapy), medication, or a combination of the two. These treatments are backed by research studies demonstrating their effectiveness, and have been widely used to treat OCD for over 30 years.
However, for those who don’t benefit from these treatments, or who only experience a minor reduction in symptoms, alternatives have been limited. Over the past decade, Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has emerged as a new option for OCD treatment, and has progressed from a purely experimental treatment to a more widely available therapy backed by research studies demonstrating its effectiveness. Since TMS does not require surgery and is increasingly available at local clinics in many areas of the US, many people with OCD are curious about this treatment and may be wondering if it is appropriate for them.
What is TMS: TMS is a non-invasive way of “stimulating” (or changing) activity in the brain using magnetic fields. During treatment, patients sit in a chair while a TMS device is pressed against the outside of their head. Inside the device is a wire coil. When an electric current is passed through this coil, it generates a magnetic field. The magnetic field passes through the hair, scalp, muscle, and skull and into the brain, where the magnetic field changes brain activity. This magnetic field can be targeted to reach and stimulate specific areas of the brain, including those involved in OCD. The patient may feel a tapping sensation on their head during treatment, but people receiving TMS are not being “shocked” by electricity. Patients are not sedated during the procedure, discomfort is typically mild, and patients can return to their normal activities immediately."


SOURCE: “International OCD Foundation | Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for OCD.” International OCD Foundation,, Accessed 11 Dec. 2022.


I personally have undergone TMS therapy TWO separate times. Both treatments were 6-weeks long. My first treatment was in Jan-March of 2019 with the Brainsway TMS machine. Unfortunately, I saw no positive results with this treatment. 2 years later in the fall of 2021 I underwent a SECOND TMS therapy treatment at a different clinic this time using the Neurostar TMS machine. Again, unfortunately – I received no positive benefit or symptom relief from this second treatment... But don't let my story/experience deter you from trying this procedure! In my opinion it is worth trying if you have severe/bothersome OCD. It is a daily commitment – one 15-30min session per weekday for 6 weeks – depending on the machine used. But there is real life data and studies that shows that TMS for OCD can be effective at lessening OCD patient's symptoms. (Read the article above for more info).

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