TMS and PTSD – The Evidence
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, can be difficult to treat – after all, it is only natural for us to respond to traumatic or extremely upsetting events. It’s estimated that 3% of the UK population suffer PTSD at some point in their lifetime.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend between 8 and 12 trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions, although these don’t work for everyone. They advise that 30+ sessions could be needed before deeming the treatment to be unsuccessful. NICE also suggest several antidepressants and other drugs such as Sertraline, Paroxetine, Mitrazepine, Risperidone and Topirimate. Exposure therapy or EMDR might also be used to treat PTSD.
Research suggests that 2 in 3 patients with PTSD will begin to feel better (either spontaneously or with treatment) within 6 years. A third of patients will go on to develop a chronic, long-term illness if not treated effectively.
What is the evidence for using TMS to treat post-traumatic stress disorder?
In 2014, a significant improvement was seen in the symptoms of PTSD following a course of TMS treatment. Compared to a placebo, the results proved TMS to be a “promising new treatment for PTSD”.
In 2017, a higher number of patients were treated with TMS or a placebo treatment. Again, these results showed that the group receiving TMS saw “improved main and related symptoms of PTSD”.
In 2018, a study was conducted, which revealed that treating PTSD with a combination of TMS and psychological therapy was significantly more effective than therapy alone and the benefit of the combined treatment was sustained beyond the end of the six month study.
What’s the verdict? Can TMS treat PTSD?
Smart TMS was the first clinic in the UK to offer treatment for PTSD and around 50% of patients see a significant drop in the severity of the PTSD related symptoms. None of the studies into TMS treatment for PTSD raised any concerns about safety and proved TMS to be effective.
With all research into using TMS to treat PTSD, there is evidence that suggests that the patient will show signs of responding to the treatment within the first 15 sessions if they are going to see any response at all.
If we see a small but clear improvement in your symptoms within the first 15 sessions, you will be prescribed up to 30 sessions to maximise the effect of treatment.
In some cases, we don’t see any improvements so the decision to try TMS to treat your post-traumatic stress disorder is an individual one and it’s important that you’re informed by the evidence above.
Find out more
By the time many of our PTSD patients find us, they have run out of treatment options. Whether you have only just been diagnosed or if you’ve been suffering for a long time, our friendly, knowledgeable patient advisors will talk you through TMS and the response/remission rates we have seen since offering treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. We want to help you make the best decision for you – so contact the team.