TMS Therapy for OCD

When it comes to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), people commonly have several misconceptions. Conversely, there are just as many (if not more) misconceptions about TMS therapy. When someone receives TMS therapy for OCD, the end results can be life-changing and highlight the importance of treating this mental health condition with safe, FDA-approved techniques.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental illness that is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears. As a result of such fears, they lead the individual to compulsive behaviors. This is not a simple, straightforward type of mental illness, as there are a few different types of it.

These types of OCD include:

  • Checking – Checking OCD involves regularly checking to ensure things are done or are a certain way. For example, someone with Checking OCD may return home several times to ensure their front door is locked. 
  • Contamination – Contamination OCD involves a fear of germs, leading to incessant cleaning of oneself and things around them. It is a common behavior of someone with Contamination OCD to wash their hands over and over again out of fear of germs. 
  • Symmetry and Order – Symmetry and Order OCD causes individuals to feel like they have to ensure everything is in a perfect spot, direction, etc. An example of this would include someone needing to have the labels of all their canned goods in their pantry facing the exact same way.
  • Ruminations/Intrusive Thoughts – Those who have Ruminations/Intrusive Thoughts OCD struggle with thoughts that seemingly pop into their heads that are uncomfortable, scary, and sometimes deeply distressing. These thoughts can range in topic and include taboo sexual thoughts and thoughts of harming others. While the thoughts are upsetting, they are not typically accompanied by action.  
  • Hoarding – Hoarding OCD occurs when people continue to collect things that are unnecessary or unhealthy out of an inability to let these things go. This can result in situations where certain areas of one’s home are inaccessible or too dangerous to be in. 

What is TMS Therapy?

The good news about the many different types of OCD is that it is a treatable condition. There are many treatment techniques to help reduce symptoms of OCD safely and effectively, although there is no cure. TMS therapy for OCD is one of those therapies.  Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a non-invasive form of treatment most commonly used to treat depressive disorders. However, TMS therapy has also proven to produce positive treatment results in those with other mental health conditions, including OCD. 

TMS therapy for OCD works by stimulating certain areas of the brain. When receiving this therapy, patients will have a coil placed on their heads with a cap pulled over the top. Magnetic waves will travel through that coil and into the designated area of the brain and stimulate the neurotransmitters there. As a result, this will allow for better functioning of these neurotransmitters, which can help to reduce symptoms of OCD. 

Benefits of TMS Therapy for OCD

Those who are living with OCD can find it difficult to get through their days as a result of how powerful their symptoms can be. Even with traditional forms of treatment (such as therapy and medication), some individuals find that their symptoms continue to persist. This can be extremely discouraging for those grappling with this condition. However, for those who do not benefit much or at all from traditional OCD therapy, TMS therapy can help.  

If you are considering TMS therapy for OCD, the benefits you may receive include: 

  • It often helps reduce symptoms of OCD, even in those who have not been able to get relief through traditional treatments.  
  • It targets the frontal lobe of the brain, where emotions are regulated and automatic responses are produced. This helps to reactivate neurotransmitters in the frontal lobe, which results in lessened symptoms.
  • TMS therapy is a safe treatment for OCD and is FDA-approved. It is non-invasive and does not require any type of sedation. This allows patients to resume normal activities once the appointment is over.
  • There are very few side effects associated with TMS therapy. On occasion, patients may develop a headache or experience tingling in their face as a result of the procedure. However, these symptoms are short-lived and the benefits of the actual treatment tend to outweigh the discomfort that can develop.

TMS therapy for OCD can be life-changing for those who have struggled with this mental illness. If you are dealing with OCD and not seeing any results from traditional treatment, consider TMS therapy.

How Soon Can I Expect Results?

How quickly a person begins to experience results from their TMS therapy depends on several factors. These factors include how severe their OCD is, how long they’ve had it, their individual brain chemistry, and how often they receive treatment sessions. Age can also influence how quickly someone feels the effects, with younger people often feeling it sooner. Some people begin to feel positive results after about 2 weeks of regular sessions. Others may not feel the effects until a few weeks later. 

Can TMS Therapy Make OCD Worse?

TMS therapy that is conducted correctly by trained clinicians should not result in making OCD worse. Some people experience a temporary increase in symptoms during treatment that then quickly decrease. Someone who has another mental illness that TMS therapy does not help, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, may experience increased symptoms with those conditions. Patients should discuss all diagnoses they have related to mental illness so the professional administering TMS will be aware of them while planning their TMS treatment.

Does Insurance Cover TMS Therapy for OCD?

Many insurance companies offer coverage for TMS therapy for people dealing with depression but may not offer the same coverage if the diagnosis is OCD. Because studies continue to prove that TMS therapy can greatly improve the symptoms of OCD, insurance company policies may change and adapt to this. If you are considering TMS therapy for OCD, contact your insurance company and ask about any coverage they offer. In addition, Medicare and Medicaid may cover TMS therapy. Contact your state’s office to see if you qualify. 

TMS Therapy for OCD in Philadelphia

At Wave Treatment Centers in Philadelphia, we understand how painful a condition like OCD can be. Rest assured, our team of compassionate and experienced professionals can help you get relief from your symptoms so that you can start enjoying life the way you should. For more information about how we can help you, contact us or request an appointment.

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