PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as a disaster, war, torture, accident, fire or violence may lead to PTSD. The traumatic event is re-experienced through recollections, dreams, and feelings. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma is common. TMS may have a role in controlling symptoms of PTSD.

  • Patients suffering from depression that also have anxiety components like PTSD can receive a large reduction in anxiety levels, simply as a result of the treatment protocol used in the treatment of Depression. However, in some cases, therapeutic benefit is not fully achieved from depression treatment protocols alone. In this case, supplementary right-sided TMS therapy for Anxiety can be provided.
  • The therapeutic application of TMS for anxiety disorders is best understood through Neuroimaging studies. These studies demonstrate that anxiety is visible through elevated activity of the right frontal and hippocampal-parahippocampal regions of the brain, thus low frequency TMS is helpful in reducing hyperexcitability.
  • RDLPFC treatments decreased anxiety symptoms by 78% and panic symptoms by 59%, with benefits remaining at one month follow up (Zwanzger et al., 2002).
  • The 10 daily treatments of 10-Hz rTMS at 80% motor threshold over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex had therapeutic effects on PTSD patients (Cohen et al., 2005)
  • Treatment-resistant Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was also markedly improved with rTMS treatments to the RDLPFC (McCann et al. 1998).


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Selected References

  • Noninvasive brain stimulation with high-frequency and low intensity repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for posttraumatic stress disorder. Boggio PS, Rocha M, Oliveira MO, Fecteau S, Cohen RB, Campanhã C, Ferreira-Santos E, Meleiro A, Corchs F, Zaghi S, Pascual-Leone A, Fregni F. J Clin Psychiatry. 2010 Aug;71(8):992-9. Epub 2009 Dec 29.
  • Effect of transcranial magnetic stimulation in posttraumatic stress disorder: a preliminary study. Grisaru N, Amir M, Cohen H, Kaplan Z. Biol Psychiatry. 1998 Jul 1;44(1):52-5.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Panic. Zwanzger et al.,  Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Feb;159(2):315-6
  • Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. McCann et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry.1998; 55: 276-279.

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*At this time, TMS is not FDA-approved for the treatment of PTSD, which would be considered an off-label application.