National Geographic: TMS Treatment for Addiction


Drugs and Alcohol Dependence

National Geographic’s feature ‘How Science Is Unlocking the Secrets of Addiction’ explores how the brain’s neural pathways are affected in alcohol and drug addiction. 

The feature describes how TMS (repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment) can be used to break the vicious cycle of craving, bingeing/using, and withdrawal.

rTMS for Drug Addiction

National Geographic featured the case of a cocaine addict:

‘A serious cocaine addict who’d relapsed several times after treatment, Patrick Perotti finally resorted to an experimental treatment—the application of electromagnetic pulses to his prefrontal cortex— at a clinic in Padua, Italy.

‘It worked.

‘Psychiatrist Luigi Gallimberti has used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on other patients with similar success. He and his colleagues are planning a large-scale trial. The technique is now being tested for other types of addiction by researchers around the world.’

Gallimberti has been treating addiction for over 30 years in his Italian clinic. He decided to try TMS after frustration with traditional treatments. National Geographic explains:

‘Medications can help people quit drinking, smoking, or using heroin, but relapse is common, and there’s no effective medical remedy for addiction to stimulants like cocaine.’

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a brain stimulation treatment which taps into neural pathway activity, altering electrical activity in the brain. It has previously been used to treat depression and anxiety and a host of other conditions too including addiction.

Forms of addiction being tested include smoking, alcoholism, gambling, binge eating, and drug addiction.

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Smart TMS

Smart TMS is a specialist provider of TMS treatment. rTMS offers medics a medication-free, non-invasive treatment which can work directly on the brain to ‘reset’ certain patterns. In the UK, this treatment is NICE approved for treating depression.

There is strong research to support rTMS for treating a host of other conditions too and Smart TMS in London is among very few in the UK using TMS technology to treat other conditions, including: Cocaine Dependence, Depersonalisation Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, alcohol dependence and more.


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