Addiction is often one of the most challenging obstacles for someone to overcome. Unfortunately, in some cases, traditional therapy methods do not help as much as was hoped, as seen in others in similar situations. However, transcranial magnetic stimulation for addiction is one option that may result in significantly more progress in overcoming that addiction.
First, it is essential to discuss what a substance use disorder is. A SUD is a condition that results from using drugs or alcohol to the degree that despite it causing significant harm, it is still used at a high level.
Treatment options for SUDs generally initially involve detoxification, which is followed by one or more types of therapies. A common one is cognitive behavioral therapy. Another is medication-assisted treatment; for example, someone recovering from opioid addiction may be prescribed naltrexone.
However, as many as 30% of those suffering from major depressive disorder do not respond to those methods. In fact, that is one of the primary reasons why the use of TMS has started increasing so significantly.
Those who do not experience success with these types of treatment methods should consider TMS.
TMS, which the Food and Drug Administration has approved, is a non-invasive treatment for addiction, depression, and other conditions related to mental health. During a session, magnetic waves stimulate parts of the brain that are not operating as they should. In most cases, the focus point is the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for much of your planning, impulsive acts, and emotional state.
This extensive process is done five days a week for around six weeks. Each session lasts approximately 30 minutes. However, the treatments are relatively simple; some compare them to having x-rays done. Essentially, a coil is placed on your head, usually on or near your forehead, and you wait.
Side effects are generally mild. Ones that sometimes happen are headaches and feeling lightheaded. Also of note is that TMS recovery periods are quite short. In fact, you will be fine driving yourself both to and from your TMS treatment sessions in nearly all cases.
It is also important to note the differences between TMS and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The latter involves electric shocks and usually incorporates an anesthetic. At the same time, these patients are also at risk for much more significant side effects, such as apathy, loss of energy and creativity, and difficulty in processing new information.
Those utilizing TMS for addiction often experience tremendous results. For example, many who had done so then experienced decreased use of substances such as nicotine and cocaine. TMS has also been shown to have a positive effect on those suffering from depression and anxiety, both of which are often experienced by members of the former group.
Courtenay Harris Bond, a reporter with the Philadelphia Inquirer, suffered from major depression in 2018 before experiencing improvement in her symptoms after participating in TMS. Specifically, she described herself as “feeling brighter, more hopeful, and more resilient.”
Generally, what happens is that the brain starts processing thoughts related to drug or alcohol use differently. In particular, cues that are used to trigger cravings and, in some cases, actual re-use greatly lessen, which results in a noticeable reduction in relapses.
However, if you do participate in this type of therapy for addiction, you should be mentally prepared for a TMS dip. Recovering from addiction is not a linear process, which is true regardless of the treatment method, including when using a TMS treatment center. The TMS drip is the re-emergence of addiction-related symptoms resulting from the brain rewiring itself. It is generally temporary.
With all of this said, remember that TMS-related benefits tend to last for 6-12 months after they stop. However, that period could prove to be so valuable as it helps you recover from what is generally your most challenging times of addiction recovery and provides you with that assistance as you look to make lasting changes.
Also, note that changes are not guaranteed when using TMS for addiction. However, many who use this only do so after other treatment methods fail and then experience tremendous improvement.
Unfortunately, TMS-based therapy for addiction is not for everyone. Those with epilepsy, metal implants in their head, and significant history of head injuries should be wary of these procedures.
Mind Body Wellness provides a variety of treatment methods for numerous types of addiction and mental health conditions, including co-occurring ones. Not only are clinical modalities such as TMS utilized here but so are holistic methods to ensure that your recovery is comprehensive. We also know how to lessen any impact the TMS recovery process may have on you.