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TMS Therapy for PTSD: How to Deal with PTSD as a Veteran


veteran or army uniform

How to deal with PTSD? TMS therapy is an effective method for treating mental health disorders like anxiety, OCD, ADHD, depression, and more recently, PTSD. Emerging studies have continued to show that TMS for veterans is efficient in treating ailments like PTSD. Veterans deal with some of the most traumatic events in their lifetime, and for some, conventional treatment may not be enough to get to the root of their underlying issues. TMS with Brainhealth Solutions could not only reduce your symptoms, but get you back to living your best life!

How to Deal with PTSD as a Veteran

PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that manifests as a response to physical or mental distress. For veterans especially, PTSD could be triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms of PTSD could include nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts. The prevalence of post traumatic stress disorder for returning soldiers depends on the wars and eras in which they served. One study found that about 13.5% of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan, deployed and non-deployed veterans, were diagnosed with PTSD. While the statistics vary for every war, PTSD is still one of the top disorders amongst veterans. 

TMS Therapy for PTSD: How TMS for Veterans Helps with PTSD

There are many regions of the brain that are impacted by PTSD. Parts of the brain that can change due to unforeseen trauma include:

  1. Hippocampus: The hippocampus is responsible for storing and retrieving memories. 

  2. Ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC): This region of the brain is responsible for processing emotions.

  3. Amygdala: The amygdala is part of our limbic system. This structure in our brain deals with survival instincts as well as the ways in which we express emotions, like fear.

Imaging studies done on the brain indicate that PTSD patients have reduced brain activity in the vmPFC, and an overactive amygdala. Many believe that the loss of control in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex can lead to increased bouts of anxiety. Additionally, the hippocampus, which helps one in distinguishing between the past and present, decreases. Meaning that PTSD sufferers have a harder time making the dichotomy between past trauma and current situations. 

So how does TMS therapy help? It works by stimulating the cells in the vmPFC with electromagnetic impulses that are delivered from electromagnetic coils. It will help in regulating cells in the brain regions that are affiliated with PTSD, in hopes of bringing them back to more normal levels. Restoring stability in the brain could help lessen the symptoms you are facing. 

Will my PTSD be Cured?

Patients who are seeking TMS are ordinarily treatment-resistant to medications like SSRI’s and certain forms of talk therapy. TMS for veterans may not completely rid you of PTSD, but it will certainly make your symptoms and way of life more manageable. Be sure to coordinate with your treatment provider to determine how many treatment sessions of TMS you will require to see results.

What does the Supporting Research Suggest?

One study in the journal of Biological Psychiatry looked at TMS treatment for aiding patients with major depressive disorder and PTSD, as these conditions are often co-occurring. TMS was used to provide treatment to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), with patients receiving about 36 sessions over several weeks. 

The results indicated that a ⅓ of patients experienced major improvements in their symptoms. The response rate was lower than for either condition alone, but given the severity of these maladies, it is not that surprising. The increased positive response was due largely in part to the interconnectivity between the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. Additional clinical research has highlighted its efficacy. With war veterans in particular, 70% of participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD after completing treatment. 

The Specifics of TMS Treatment

A full course of TMS treatments for treating PTSD could include five sessions a week for up to six weeks, followed by a three-week period of fewer sessions. When a patient has gone through the motions of habitual treatment, they are less likely to deal with severe symptoms. However, it is important to keep in mind that every veterans’ experience of PTSD is different from another. Common symptoms that can improve with treatment include:

  1. Flashbacks, almost as if the event is being relieved

  2. Intrusive thoughts

  3. Nightmares

  4. Physical sensations like nausea, pain, sweating, and trembling

  5. Increased alertness or hypervigilance

  6. Issues with sleep

  7. Aggressive behavior

  8. Feeling emotionally numb

  9. Self-destructive behavior

Brainhealth Solutions Provides TMS for Veterans

Brainhealth Solutions has been providing comprehensive TMS solutions for our patients, for many years. We understand that PTSD can be very egregious, and you may have tried every treatment imaginable. We encourage you to move forward and give transcranial magnetic stimulation a chance. To learn more about our treatment process, contact us today!

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