According to the International OCD Foundation, obsessions are thoughts or impulses that occur routinely and outside of a person’s control. Although patients don’t want to have these thoughts, obsessive compulsive disorder is tough to treat because patients often fear a loss of control by getting treated for their symptoms.
The Cincinnati Anxiety Center is a treatment facility that offers cutting-edge therapy including a new treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Clinical Director and Cincinnati Anxiety Center Owner Nathan Fite, PhD, says the new treatment is often used after exhausting other treatments such as medication therapy. However, it can also be a treatment you opt for first in your therapy plan. “It’s a very effective treatment of major depression, but recently was FDA approved for usage with a specific coil for obsessive compulsive disorder,” says Dr. Fite. “It’s an exciting new option for patients who haven’t responded to medication management and cognitive behavioral therapy. The beauty of the treatment is that it works and does not have any of the systemic side-effects of traditional medications.”
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?
Neuromodulation therapies are often invasive and require surgery or inducing seizures. However TMS is a painless and noninvasive form that changes brain activity by using electromagnetic currents on the skull and directing them to specific brain regions. The outpatient treatment includes putting a magnetic coil up to the head of the patient at the specific regions of the brain that’s associated with depression or obsessive compulsive disorder.
How does TMS work?
The Cincinnati Anxiety Center offers two types of TMS. One is a standard, surface TMS that’s administered for a half hour once a day, five days a week, for about six weeks totaling 30 sessions. Depending on the patient there may be a three week taper. The second is a shorter three-minute session using Theta Burst. “The recent Three-Dee randomized non-inferiority study showed that it has comparable efficacy to traditional rTMS protocols for depression,” says Dr. Fite. “What’s traditionally given in 30 minutes, you can now get in three minutes.” The same number of sessions are necessary for both options. The treatment itself entails a machine that releases magnetic pulses into the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, stimulating the brain cells to communicate through electrical pulses. Dr. Fite says most patients will begin experiencing results after 15–20 sessions.
How effective is TMS?
“A recent study that was conducted by Brainsway, [which makes TMS machines,] concluded that by using TMS in conjunction with elevating anxiety by presenting OCD fears while also stimulating the brain at an elevated anxious state, about 55 percent of patients have some level of response to the treatment,” Dr. Fite says. The clinically significant results are telling for the majority of patients, and now the treatment has FDA approval. As for traditional TMS for depression without additional intervention, Dr. Fite says results roughly follow the rule of two-thirds. One third of patients who haven’t responded to medication will remit from depression using TMS. Another third will have a clinically significant response. The other third won’t respond to it.
Seek medical advice to learn if this treatment is right for you
If you’ve exhausted all treatment options or would like to opt for less invasive options, the team at the Cincinnati Anxiety Center will evaluate and see if this treatment is right for you. Learn more about the treatments offered at the Cincinnati Anxiety Center.