TMS: Enhancing Neurogenesis and Inter-Neuronal Connectivity for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety

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Table of Contents

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a successful non-invasive and non-medication treatment for depression and anxiety. It’s increasingly widespread use is due to its targeted neurological approach and minimal side effects. TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate specific regions of the brain, promoting both new neuron growth and enhanced communication between neurons. This article will detail how TMS revitalizes areas responsible for mood and emotional control, with a superior success rate and fewer adverse impacts than standard antidepressant medications.

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TMS Activates Neurogenesis

TMS functions by directing changing magnetic fields (with strength matching an MRI but focused on a smaller region) to brain locations linked to depression and anxiety. These pulsing fields spur activity in the left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, regions that regulate mood, anxiety, and emotional responses. Abnormally decreased activity in these regions means they cannot adequately regulate mood and the fear response. The result is that emotional states no longer arise and change as proportional responses to external reality. For instance, sorrow is a standard, regulated reaction to loss while depression is an intensified, unregulated response to major, minor or nonexistent losses. Similarly, anxiety—that is, the fear or “fight or flight” reaction—is a regular and necessary element of how we adapt to sometimes threatening realities. But an “anxiety disorder” is an amplified, ungoverned often persistent “flight state” in reply to major or minor dangers, or when no actual danger exists. Likewise inappropriate levels of anger represent the other side of anxiety, that is, of the fight or flight response, it is the fighting side—even when there is no threat.

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By activating these brain areas, TMS aids in promoting the growth of new neurons as well as an increase in the connectivity and strength of the connections between nerve cells in the targeted areas. This new growth also counterbalances the adverse impacts of stress, depression, and unease on the mind and thereby increasing resilience. 

Advantages of TMS Over Antidepressants

TMS offers several advantages over antidepressants. Most importantly, it has a higher average improvement and remission rate. Secondly, TMS has negligible systemic side effects. Unlike medications, which circulate throughout and therefore influence the entire body and may induce an array of side effects, such as weight gain and diminished sex drive, TMS zeros in only on the applicable brain regions and puts nothing into the body. This targeted approach reduces the risk of undesirable side effects, rendering TMS a more tolerable treatment choice for most individuals. 

The side effect profile of TMS is truly minimal because magnetic fields produce only a subtle impact on neurons. A treatment session carries about a 1 in 30,000 chance of triggering a seizure, usually because the magnetic field has not been directed properly. To compare, bupropion has approximately a 1 in 4,000 chance of inducing a seizure.

Conclusion

TMS is an innovative treatment for depression and anxiety that works by boosting both neurogenesis and inter-neuronal connectivity in the brain regions responsible for these conditions. With a higher average achievement rate and fewer side effects than traditional antidepressants, TMS offers a promising alternative for those seeking relief from depression and anxiety. By directly targeting the pivotal brain areas and promoting healthy brain function, TMS helps improve mental health and overall well-being.

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