Managing OCD Symptoms with dTMS
The American Psychiatric Association describes obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted thoughts and feelings (obsessions), followed by ritualistic behaviors (compulsions), as an attempt to stop the obsessions. Common compulsions include handwashing, repetitive checking (i.e., constantly checking to see if the stove is off, even when the individual has recently checked) and cleaning, to name a few. For those with obsessive compulsive disorder, the compulsive methods they use to neutralize their obsessions can often become unhealthy and may cause a great deal of interference in their daily lives. After a formal diagnosis by a clinician, there are many options available for patients to help manage their OCD symptoms. One of the OCD treatment methods available is known as Deep Magnetic Transcranial Stimulation (dTMS).
Benefits of dTMS for OCD
Deep Magnetic Transcranial Stimulation, says the Pacific Institute of Medical Research, is a procedure used to stimulate centers of the brain responsible for mood regulation. It is the newest form of transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy available. A magnetic coil, called an H-coil because of its shape, is placed on the patient’s head and a series of magnetic pulses are administered. These pulses act on the brain in such a way that they either excite or inhibit the brain’s neurons. This treatment for OCD symptoms is non-invasive and painless; each session last approximately 20 minutes and is repeated five days a week. DTMS has proven to be an effective OCD treatment for patients when other therapies (medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, etc.) do not work. Studies have shown that 42% of individuals with OCD who received dTMS reported a notable decrease in symptoms, states Brainsway. Side effects from the procedure are typically minimal; the most common side effects are discomfort at the application site and headaches. Rare side effects can occur, but they are unlikely. These may include fainting and seizures. At this time, there have been over 4000 procedures completed and only six individuals have experienced seizures. In all cases, says the Clinical TMS Society, additional risk factors (history of epilepsy, high doses of medication in the body, etc.) were already present.
What is the Difference Between dTMS and TMS?
The original technology used for stimulating various centers within the brain using magnetic coils is simply known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, abbreviated to TMS. DTMS differs from TMS in that the electromagnetic coils used for treatment are able to penetrate three times as deep as TMS coils. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation uses what are known as figure-8 coils, which cannot produce electromagnetic pulses that penetrate deeply without exceeding unsafe intensity levels. This is where dTMS gained the name, as it allows for the deep stimulation of different areas of the brain. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is only able to penetrate the brain a superficial amount and is therefore used mainly for the treatment of migraines. Both procedures are useful in their own right (they are both approved by the FDA), but dTMS is more useful for the treatment of those suffering with obsessive compulsive disorder. The Clinical TMS Society says that the side effects from dTMS and TMS are comparable, and complications in both circumstances are extremely rare.
Due to the fact that Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy is a relatively new technology, information is still being gathered to determine exactly how effective it is regarding OCD treatment. However, current research shows promising results in regards to the lessening of OCD symptoms for those who receive dTMS. To date, when compared to those who have not undergone dTMS therapy, researchers have observed a decrease in the inhibiting symptoms that obsessive compulsive disorder may cause. The safety profile of the procedure is high and, in the majority of circumstances, side effects are minimal and require no medical attention. Obsessive compulsive disorder has the potential to severely hinder social and emotional well being, but new technological treatments such as dTMS have proved to have beneficial results in terms of effectively making the disorder easier to manage.
Pacific Institute of Medical Research is currently conducting Los Angeles medical studies on the effects of dTMS for OCD. Participants are being sought to try this OCD treatment with full compensation, as well as free doctor care. If you are interested in entering a Los Angeles medical trial for OCD, contact the Pacific Institute of Medical Research, which is an independent clinical research site specializing in psychiatry since 1982. Visit us online or call us at (310) 208-7144.