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Is TMS An Effective Anxiety Disorder Treatment? How?

Anxiety disorders are among the more prevalent psychiatric conditions, affecting a large segment of populations across the globe.

These affect an individual in numerous forms, like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social phobia, and specific phobia.

Some of the common signs that indicate the presence of anxiety disorder are ordinary and extreme fear, troubled thoughts or pressure, rapid heartbeat, perspiration, and tiredness.

Any individual who signifies the presence of one or all of these symptoms is suffering from any of the types of anxiety disorders. This, in turn, leads to an impact on the normal functioning and general well-being of an individual.

Treatments for Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorder can be treated in various ways. Some of the common forms of treatment available are:

  1. Traditional Treatments
  2. Advanced Treatments
  3. Holistic and lifestyle approaches

Traditional Treatments


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is considered to be the most effective form of anxiety intervention.

CBT is a type of intense therapy that aims at eradicating anxious thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with healthier ones.

Methods such as exposure therapy (which involves exposing a person to the situation they fear gradually) are also adopted.

Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Therapies: These approaches involve allowing the feared thoughts and feelings to occur instead of having anything to do with them and working to prevent them.

Attempting to help people with anxiety lead happy and fulfilling lives.


Antidepressants: These medicines are used in the treatment of anxiety and are known to help increase the levels of receptor pleasure in the head.


These are helpful in addressing the debilitating anxiety signs for a short period only, though they are not encouraged to be utilized in the long term as they lead to dependence.

Emerging Treatments

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS):

Among the numerous advanced treatments, TMS is one of the most well-known and advanced treatment options available for anxiety.

The procedure known as transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, employs magnetic fields to directly stimulate nerve cells, particularly those situated within the prefrontal region of the brain.

Currently, it has been observed to hold a lot of potential for treating different types of anxiety disorders, especially for patients who are considered nonresponsive to other forms of treatment.

TMS takes place at one-week intervals over three weeks, with few appreciable side effects.


Ketamine is used mainly as an anesthetic, but it has shown some efficacy in the reduction of anxiety symptoms with relatively long-lasting results.

It is especially helpful in scenarios where other methods have proven ineffective and are only provided through prescription by the healthcare professional because of the possible adverse reactions and monitoring required.

Holistic and lifestyle approaches


It is also important to carry out physical activity in order to reduce anxiety as well as control anxiety attacks since this will help the body produce endorphins, which always result in an improvement in the general health of the mind.

Diet and Nutrition:

When it comes to food, it is found that a balanced diet containing fats that are good for the brain, such as omega-3 fatty acids, accompanied by antioxidants and B-complex vitamins, can help decrease anxiety.


Sleep hygiene should be maintained and avoided in situations that might worsen anxiety because sleep can be interrupted by anxiety.

Stress Management:

Some techniques that may assist in the reduction of stress and anxiety include exercise practices like yoga or meditation and deep breathing.

Is TMS an Effective Treatment?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a treatment that has recently begun to be proposed for anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia.

TMS is the least invasive treatment method if the brain aims at using magnetic fields to activate nerve cells.

Here’s a comprehensive look at how TMS is used for treating anxiety:

Mechanism of Action

TMS entails attaching a magnetic coil to the head, preferably on the prefrontal cortex near the scalp. Science: The magnetic pulses produced by the coil lead to electric current that influences neurons in the required parts of the head.

For anxiety, the region that is often stimulated is the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), because this part of the brain is concerned with mood regulation and other processes related to anxiety.

Treatment Protocol


TMS therapy tends to require daily sessions over time, generally, five days a week, and sometimes can extend up to several weeks such as a 4 to 6 week program.

Duration: Things could usually take 20 to 40 minutes a session, depending on how the participant responds and the amount of information they are willing to share.

Intensity: The magnetic pulses’ strength and rate in the sessions depend upon certain parameters, including motor threshold measurement before the therapy.


Clinical Trials: Research has indicated that TMS is equally effective in the mitigation of anxiety.

They could get a very good result from the treatment, like in the case with Harold, or they could get only a moderate result.

Long-Term Effects: The positive effects considered to begin and to remain during several months after the complete course of treatment with the help of TMS.

However, some patients may require follow-up treatment because their bodies do not heal as quickly as others.


Non-Invasive: TMS is different from surgical treatments in the ways that it doesn’t necessarily call for the usage of anesthesia as well as the absence of requirements for recovery time.

Minimal Side Effects: Generally, the side effects are mild, but in some cases, they might be serious.

For instance, headaches rank among the most common complaints encountered by people who have undergone laser hair removal, apart from scalp discomfort and tingling sensations of the skin.

Common side effects are generally rare and may include rash, swelling, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and blurred vision.

Alternative for Non-Responders: TMS should be considered an option for individuals who have failed other treatments like pharmacologic and psychotherapy.


Cost: TMS might also be costly, and in some cases, insurance does not cover the cost.

Accessibility: The specificity of TMS can be expanded by reporting it to certain regions and certain specialized clinics.

Not Suitable for Everyone: It is understood that TMS should not be used in cases where the patient has a history of seizures, has metal implants in their head, or has some other certain medical conditions.

Current Research and Future Directions

Current research activities focus on the fine-tuning of TMS procedures, establishing the modus operandi behind its effectiveness in treating anxiety disorders, and branching out the instrument toward other disconcerting anxieties.

There are also other research investigations that are focusing on the interactions between TMS therapy and other coping interventions like pharmacotherapy and cognitive behavioral treatment.

It is potentially correct to say that TMS is an effective treatment for anxiety disorder patients and may provide an effective pharmacological intervention option for patients who have not responded to other treatments.

But if you know someone who would like to discuss his or her condition first with a mental health expert and proceed with his or her treatment as per his or her advice, please feel free to contact us.

Athena Behavioral Health is backed by a team of experienced psychologists who can understand your condition properly and guide you with the right treatment plan.

So, if this interests you, call us today at +91 9289086193 or drop us an email at and one of our representatives will get in touch with you.

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