Featured image for post: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental disorder affecting 2.2. million adults in the United States. The condition is characterized by anxiety-inducing thoughts and behavior, which are often disruptive to the individual’s daily life.

While OCD is considered treatable, there’s still a large number of patients that don’t respond to its usual treatment methods. Even for the patients that do respond to the treatment methods, it’s rare that ongoing remission of their symptoms is maintained.

Fortunately, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been showing positive results in clinical trials for OCD treatment. Read on to learn more about OCD and how TMS may just be the better alternative.

OCD and its Usual Treatment Methods

When severe, OCD causes significant stress directly to the individual experiencing it and indirectly to the individual’s family, friends, and even co-workers.

It can also become incredibly time-consuming as the condition is based on compulsive acts meant to soothe the obsessive thoughts, i.e., the compulsive act of washing your hands every time you touch a highly-trafficked surface due to the obsessive thoughts regarding germs and fear of contamination.

Over time, the cycle of obsessions and their subsequent compulsions further induce anxiety rather than suppress it, creating an exhaustive pattern.

Additionally, those who struggle with OCD commonly struggle with other mental health conditions, usually anxiety and depression.

To treat OCD, the most common methods include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): A form of psychotherapy that focuses on thoughts, feelings, behavioral patterns, and physical reactions associated with OCD to help patients feel less anxious and reactive to their triggers over time.
  • Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP): Another form of psychotherapy (and subtype of CBT) that involves gradually exposing the patient to the source of his or her anxiety under the supervision of a mental health professional – who encourages the patients to refrain from reacting to their triggers.
  • Psychopharmacology: Prescription medication such as antidepressants are given to patients to treat their anxiety or depression to help offset their responses to these triggers

TMS As a Safe and Effective Treatment For OCD

TMS is a safe and painless treatment that’s often used in addition to – or as a replacement – for psychotherapy and medication once they’ve proven to be ineffective. TMS isn’t a complicated concept or process as it involves the use of magnetic waves to stimulate certain areas of the brain to positively change behavior.

In recent clinical trials, this FDA-approved treatment showed positive results for patients suffering from severe OCD.

During this clinical trial, daily TMS treatments were given over six weeks, resulting in a 30% reduction in symptom severity. The results were said to be “on par” with responses seen in antidepressant treatment, however, the TMS treatment worked about two to four weeks faster.

Additionally, the response rate of the TMS treatment showed a positive increase by the 10-week follow-up where the patients were no longer receiving the treatment.

Not only is TMS treatment effective at relieving the severity of the symptoms of OCD, but it also comes with less risky side effects compared to the antidepressants commonly prescribed today.

If you or someone you care for is suffering from OCD, our team is here to provide you with affordable and accessible psychiatric services, including TMS. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get on the path to living a mentally healthier life.