Therapy or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for PTSD: Which Is Right for Me?

Feb 09, 2024
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Living with PTSD is tough, especially when you can't find a treatment that helps – but therapy and TMS are both excellent options. Read on to discover if TMS or therapy could benefit you and which is better for your needs.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health problem that happens when you're exposed to a traumatic event or have suffered a severe injury. The disorder often involves flashbacks of the event and extreme terror.

Living with PTSD is difficult for both you and your loved ones – but there's hope for recovery. Many treatments are available to help you cope with your feelings and symptoms, two of which include therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Both TMS and therapy are successful in treating PTSD, but which is suitable for you? At Pacific Phoenix TMS, Dr. Elia R. Gonzalez-Rodriguez helps you figure out which treatment is best for your needs when suffering from PTSD.

Understanding PTSD

PTSD is a disorder that happens when you live through a traumatic event or accident that sticks with you. The trauma that causes PTSD can be physical or emotional, and you may experience it yourself or witness it secondhand.

Your mental health suffers when you're living with PTSD, and it affects your emotional and spiritual well-being. Examples of sources of PTSD include the following:

  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Bullying
  • War
  • Car accidents
  • Violence
  • Natural disasters

Not everyone who lives through one of these situations develops PTSD, but if you do, it significantly impacts your life. Veterans and active military members are highly susceptible to PTSD because of the horrors they witness during combat and war.

The good news is that you can overcome PTSD with various treatments, including medications, therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Therapy for PTSD

Psychotherapy is beneficial for PTSD, primarily cognitive behavioral therapy. During therapy sessions, a specialist helps you come to terms with your emotions and distressing thoughts related to trauma.

Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to help you face scary emotions or beliefs so you can work toward changing them. Trauma causes shame, guilt, and the feeling of failure, which triggers symptoms of PTSD.

Therapy, along with medication, is often highly successful in treating PTSD—other forms of therapy help as well, including prolonged exposure therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.

The facts on TMS

TMS is a form of noninvasive therapy for various mental health conditions, including PTSD. During a TMS session, Dr. Rodriguez-Gonzalez points a magnet to your head, which allows magnetic pulses to travel to the brain.

The magnetic pulses stimulate specific areas of the brain that may be less active in people with mental health problems. The magnets work by increasing activity in the nerves in the targeted area of the brain. This treatment is painless and may cause minimal side effects.

When the electrical activity increases, the brain produces more neurotransmitters that improve mood and control emotions. It's beneficial for major depressive disorder, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

Which one is right for me?

Both TMS and therapy are effective treatments for PTSD – but which one is best for you? There are many things Dr. Gonzalez-Rodriguez considers when suggesting one of these treatments for your symptoms.

Most people start PTSD treatment with therapy because it's the least invasive option. Therapy is a great option, and paired with medication, often helps a lot of people overcome the symptoms of PTSD.

However, if you're still feeling symptoms related to PTSD, even with medications and therapy, you may want to consider TMS. The goal of TMS is to help you relieve the symptoms of PTSD through intense magnetic pulses that target specific areas of the brain.

You may also consider TMS if talk therapy did help, but now your symptoms are worsening, or you're relapsing.

Call one of our conveniently located offices in Salmon Creek or East Vancouver, Washington, today to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment on our website.