TMS and addiction

Learn more about TMS and addiction

what is addiction?


Substance use disorder (SUD) and psychoactive substance use disorder (PSUD), commonly known as drug and/or alcohol addiction, are mental health disorders recognized by the DSM5. These disorders are characterized by the persistent use of drugs and/or alcohol despite significant harm and negative consequences as a direct result of use.

SUD/addictions are associated with a range of emotional and psychological problems and often co-exist with other mental illnesses. Mental illness is considered a risk factor for addiction. The subsequent harm and consequences of addiction can be far reaching, including negative impacts on individuals’ physical and mental health, as well as on their economic situation, their families, communities and society in general.

According to the WHO, in 2017, 271 million people globally (5.5% of adults) were estimated to have used one or more illicit drugs. Of these, 35 million were considered to have substance use disorder. And of these 35 million, only one in seven were estimated to have received treatment. OCD to experience other disorders such as major depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety and eating disorders among others.
The WHO list anxiety disorders, including OCD, as the sixth largest contributor to non-fatal loss of health globally. 40-60% of OCD patients do not improve with medication or behavioral therapies. For these patients, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers a valid alternative.

tms reduces cravings

Addiction treatment

The first line of treatment for addiction is generally counselling and psychotherapy, especially utilizing methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Unfortunately, these forms of therapy are not always readily available or accessible. Counselling and psychotherapy require a medium to long term commitment and active engagement by the patient, and recovery can be a slow process. Currently, there are no effective medication-based treatments for addiction.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been shown to reduce substance intake and cravings is therefore considered an effective adjunct to counselling and psychotherapy for treating addiction.

TMS is not a cure for addiction – which is a chronic, relapsing disorder, but the beneficial effects of TMS are durable and stable and TMS can be re-administered. TMS has been shown to reduce some of the co-morbid symptoms associated with addiction such as depression and anxiety.

how tms works

How TMS may treat SUD/addiction

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy works by sending short magnetic pulses to target the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) – the area of the brain affected by the symptoms of addiction, specifically craving and compulsion. Activating the DLFPC with high-frequency TMS will enhance decision-making processes and counteract the substance-seeking and impulsive behavior, as well as enhancing the ability to cope with cravings, by enhancing the function of DLFPC. MagVenture’s TMS therapy is CE approvals are based on dedicated clinical TMS research studies.

A pilot study conducted at Novella Fronda Foundation demonstrated a 69% effect for the TMS group compared to 19% for the control group receiving the standard of care treatment for addiction. These initial findings were followed by an observational study of 284 people with cocaine addiction. After receiving TMS therapy, they were followed for two years and eight months. The results clearly showed that TMS therapy led to long-lasting reductions in cocaine use.

Graziella Madeo, neurologist and coordinator of the research project, explains: “TMS can change the abnormal behavior by targeting the underlying brain-circuit dysfunction induced by substance use. Not only is craving reduced or absent, but our patients also experience changes in other aspects of their life, including a greater control in conditions potentially triggering a relapse in cocaine use.”o offer an additional form of treatment for patients with OCD and other mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and addiction.

tms – a popular treatment

One of the fastest growing therapies in mental health

TMS is safe, non-invasive and well tolerated by the vast majority of patients. Due to its high efficacy, TMS is one of the fastest growing treatments in mental health. TMS is a valid supplementary therapy for psychiatrists and psychologists who want to offer an additional form of treatment to patients with addiction and other mental health disorders.

tms as part of a strong combined solution

TMS as part of combined treatment approach

As noted above, there is evidence to suggest that engaging patients in multiple treatment modalities can lead to improved outcomes. TMS combined with weekly counselling or psychotherapy, especially with modalities such as CBT and DBT can support patients with tools to deal with negative thoughts and destructive behaviors while learning to implement more constructive habits and behaviors.

Adding TMS treatment to your psychiatric or psychology practice is a great way to diversify your offerings to patients and future-proof your business. As well as making a real difference in people’s lives by helping them reduce the symptoms of mental health disorders, including addiction, you can expand your business and increase profitability.S one of the fastest growing treatments in mental health. TMS is a valid supplementary therapy psychiatrists and psychologists who want to offer an additional form of treatment to patients with addiction and other mental health disorders.

Inspire your doctor

Brochure to go

We have made a short explanation about TMS and how this therapy can have a positive impact on depression, OCD and addiction. Show it to your doctor so you can have a qualified discussion together.

Did you know that?

Benefits of TMS

Non-invasive, no anaesthesia

Allows for increased patient comfort, fewer side effects, and greater accessibility to treatment as it does not involve any surgical procedures or incisions.

Does not affect cognitive function

Allowing patients to continue with their daily activities immediately after treatment.

Series of pulsed magnetic stimuli to the brain

TMS’s side effects, such as scalp discomfort or headache, are mild and temporary. Tingling sensations, muscle twitching, or lightheadedness may also occur. These side effects resolve quickly and do not require specific treatment.

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News and articles

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