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Can TMS Therapy Provide Relief For OCD Patients?


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We have repeatedly discussed the efficacy and rise of TMS therapy for OCD in Irvine CA, as an effective treatment for patients who suffer from OCD, anxiety, and other kinds of mental health ailments. Our team of treatment professionals could talk extensively about the efficiency of treatment. But, for today’s topic, we’d like to dial in specifically on OCD and hopefully when it’s all said and done, answer the question that many of our current and prospective patients are asking: Can TMS therapy finally provide relief for sufferers of OCD?

About TMS Therapy for OCD And Our Brains

Although TMS therapy in Irvine CA is most often used for treating major depressive disorders, there is emerging research that supports the claim that it can help improve symptoms of OCD. If first-line treatments for OCD like SSRI medications and Exposure and Response Prevention haven’t worked, it might be worth looking into TMS therapy. In order to continue the conversation of how TMS works for treating OCD, it’s first important to understand how exactly the disease of OCD impacts the brain.

OCD, or better known by most as obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a mental illness that makes people experience obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted and intrusive thoughts that circle around in a person’s brain. People who suffer from OCD place a lot of emphasis and meaning onto these thoughts and cannot stop thinking about them. By extension, compulsions are the repetitive behaviors that patients with OCD do to try to lessen their bouts of anxiety, that the obsessive thoughts have created. Take, for example, compulsively reviewing your memories, routines, rituals, and anything else that is of special interest in these moments.  Further studies have been had on the relation between OCD and the brain. 

What’s found is that the disease shrinks the organ’s brain matter. This means that certain areas of our brain are much smaller with OCD. The parts of the brain that are most affected by it are the regions that help us with impulse control and information processing. More specifically, the orbitofrontal cortex is the part of the brain impacted by the disorder. Additionally, the communication between different areas of the brain is affected by OCD. In fact, it has been shown that the brain responds too highly to errors, and so feels the need to “correct” these issues over and over again. 

All of these effects and much more cause people with OCD to have a harder time in controlling their impulses. They are aware that the behavior is illogical and have the urge to want to stop, but they cannot seem to help themselves. The way they process information is also different from the rest of us. Meaning, they will continue to give more importance to these obsessions than what they are worth.

How Does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy (TMS) for OCD work?

Although we aren’t totally clear on how TMS therapy in Irvine CA interacts with the brain, we are aware that it stimulates certain regions of the brain that are affected by diseases like depression or OCD. According to findings from the International OCD Foundation, there are 3 ways that TMS is used to treat OCD.

Targeting The Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex

This is the same area in the brain that’s targeted when TMS is used to treat depression. The dorsolateral prefrontal lobes are responsible for executive functioning tasks, such as judgment and decision-making. Studies on the subject are mixed on whether targeting this area of the brain is helpful for OCD patients. More research needs to be done to know for sure, but it seems evident that it is not as effective in targeting the area of the brain in OCD as it is for depressed patients.

Targeting The Orbitofrontal Cortex

Like we mentioned earlier, the orbitofrontal cortex is highly impacted by OCD. One way that TMS therapy in Irvine CA can be used for people with OCD is to target this area of the brain. Quite a few studies have concluded that targeting this area of the brain has resulted in an improvement in OCD symptoms. To reiterate, this still needs more focus to be able to say for sure if this is helpful.

Targeting The Pre-Supplementary Motor Area

Targeting this part of the brain has been shown to be the most effective in using TMS therapy for OCD. Along with the orbitofrontal cortex, this area of the brain has been shown to be overactive for people with OCD, probably explaining why TMS targeted to this area is so helpful. All in all, continued research is needed for determining how TMS therapy interacts with the brains of people with OCD. As it stands currently, we are just working with many hypotheses.

Benefits Of TMS Therapy For OCD

Emerging evidence is showing that TMS works for OCD, to varying levels of efficacy. Using it as a treatment is much better than using no treatment at all. A certain meta-analysis found that the therapy that targets the orbitofrontal cortex was particularly useful for people with OCD. The research backing the treatment was so successful that the FDA gave one TMS provider clearance to use the therapy for OCD. Did you know that 40% of people with OCD do not respond well to traditional front-line treatments like psychotherapy or medications? That is almost half of all people with OCD who continue to suffer with painful symptoms. In that way, TMS therapy in Irvine CA offers a glimmer of hope, a way out, or better yet, a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Treating OCD With The Professionals: TMS Therapy In Irvine CA

We know that you are hot in pursuit of a treatment that will help ease the burdens in your life, especially if conventional medicine has not quite made the cut. The team at Brainhealth Solutions can do more than just offer some assistance. Our team has amassed many years of experience in helping patients turn their life around with the FDA-approved TMS therapy. For more information on how to finally provide relief for sufferers of OCD, contact us today!

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