TMS Therapy for Anxiety

Read on to learn more about TMS for anxiety, which has shown to be an effective treatment method to help with anxiety symptoms.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders, and it’s estimated to affect millions of individuals worldwide. However, there are quite a number of different treatment options available for anxiety symptoms. One such treatment approach option is TMS.1

Anxiety consists of feeling overly worried or fearful. You can experience this fear due to daily activities, worrying about the future, or for various other reasons as well. From work to fulfilling family duties to maintaining a social life, the average individual’s life is full of stress, and anxiety is a natural response to stress. Anxiety is usually short-term and helps to “motivate” individuals to improve their performance levels, work hard, and be more vigilant. However, anxiety can become a major problem when it remains persistent or lasts for extended periods. When anxiety remains present for long periods, it interferes with your everyday life and the normal functioning of affected individuals.2

TMS for Anxiety

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the most common signs of anxiety are:

  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Feeling restless or nervous
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Trouble thinking or concentrating

Additional Indications of Anxiety

Anxiety symptoms usually differ from person to person regarding occurrence and intensity. Some people might experience it as butterflies in the stomach or feel like they are in a fog, while some might have a rapid heartbeat. Irrespective of individual perceptions, however, there are some common anxiety symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Restlessness

Causes and Risks

The exact cause of anxiety is not known. Anxiety is more likely to result from several causes than from a single one. Some factors that have been recognized to have some influence on anxiety include brain chemistry, hereditary and genetic factors, and environmental factors.3

Although anxiety can be a good thing, when it is prolonged, it can have serious effects on general health and wellness. These are some of the risks associated with anxiety:

  • Substance or alcohol misuse
  • Difficulty functioning at school or work
  • Social isolation
  • Headaches
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Digestive problems
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

The Most Common Types of Anxiety

There are many different types of anxiety. However, high functioning anxiety and social anxiety are the two most common subtypes.

Social Anxiety

Research conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America shows that about fifteen million Americans suffer from social anxiety. Also, besides some very specific phobias, this type of anxiety is the most diagnosed anxiety disorder. Social anxiety is the fear of being judged or rejected in social situations.

People who struggle with social anxiety may worry that they appear anxious to others (such as stumbling over words, stuttering, or blushing), or come off as dull, boring, or awkward. As a result, people with social anxiety tend to avoid social interactions and get quite anxious when they cannot prevent them.

High Functioning Anxiety

Unlike other forms of anxiety, high functioning anxiety often presents itself as an individual who, despite experiencing anxiety symptoms, seems to be able to manage daily tasks and living. However, this isn’t always a good thing, as most people with this kind of anxiety have the potential to misuse drugs or substances as a coping mechanism for dealing with their “high drive” situation.

Treatment Options for Anxiety and Addiction

There are several different treatment approaches that have been developed for treating and managing anxiety. Some of the most commonly used anxiety treatment and management options will be detailed below.


Research has proven that cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective treatment option for anxiety disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the belief that thoughts and external events affect how an individual feels. Although you can’t change situations around you, you can change your perception of that situation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy works by helping an individual to identify negative thoughts and patterns. It then helps in diverting one’s attention from these unwanted thoughts and behaviors. It remains one of the most popular treatments for anxiety and addiction.

Anxiety Medications

Combining medications and cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective treatment anxiety treatment option. Examples of medications used to treat anxiety include antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which can also treat different anxiety disorders. However, prolonged use of anti-anxiety medication has been identified as potentially addiction-forming.4

Natural Therapy

There are some special holistic and natural therapies that can ease anxiety naturally. These holistic approaches help to slow thoughts and help manage stress. Examples include exercise and meditation. Studies also show that consuming some herbal tea, like chamomile, can help ease stress naturally.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation is also known as rTMS (repetitive TMS). It uses electromagnetic impulses to regulate how the brain processes and facilitates healing. TMS for anxiety is non-invasive, safe, and can help change our brain’s structure so we can more effectively deal with anxiety symptoms.


There are various formats of therapy that can help manage anxiety. They include:

How Can TMS Help in Anxiety Treatment?

Our brain’s amygdala becomes hyper-responsive when faced with anxiety. The amygdala is one of the fundamental parts of the brain, and it controls the response to fear. In case of emergency, it takes control over the prefrontal cortex. In the cases of anxiety, this hyper-responsiveness effect occurs and remains sustained even when there is no longer any real threat.

The electromagnetic impulses used in transcranial magnetic stimulation aid in developing the prefrontal cortex and re-establishing brain balance. This in turn then provides relief from the symptoms of anxiety.

What is TMS?

TMS for anxiety is a process that uses magnetic fields to change the activities in the parts of the brain that are responsible for regulating mood. An electromagnetic coil is placed in contact with the scalp to transfer magnetic impulses to the brain. These magnetic impulses cause the nerve cell to activate the part of the brain responsible for controlling mood. Note that TMS for anxiety needs to be done by a medical professional.5

TMS Terms

Below are some terms usually used in conjunction with TMS:

  • EEG Evaluation: Before the treatment, an electroencephalogram (EEG) evaluation, which measures brain activity, will be performed by medical professionals. Results are then used to develop therapy plans that will have the greatest impact on helping patients.
  • Magnetic Pulses: TMS is a non-invasive process that lasts for about thirty minutes, a period during which magnet impulses are sent through the scalp using a TMS device to stimulate the brain.
  • rTMS: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is another name for TMS. TMS is also known as rTMS because it is a procedure where magnetic pulses are repeatedly transmitted into the brain.6

What to Expect in TMS Therapy?

If your health care practitioner suggests TMS for anxiety to help ease your symptoms, you may wonder what the process will look like. You should know that TMS therapy generally lasts for three weeks and consists of two weekly sessions, each lasting for about forty minutes. However, this can vary depending on the patient’s response to treatment.

How to Prepare for TMS?

To ensure everything goes well, your doctor will conduct physical and psychiatric evaluations to ascertain that you are in good physical and mental shape for TMS treatment. These include:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will check your overall health and conduct some tests, like blood tests, to ensure you’re in good condition to receive treatment. Your doctor will also go over your medical history.
  • Psychiatric evaluation: After the physical examination, you will also be required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. This is aimed at letting your doctors know how you’re feeling and helping them better understand your symptoms.

Who Administers TMS?

Only a trained medical practitioner, technician, or doctor can administer TMS.

TMS for Anxiety

Who Cannot Get TMS Therapy?

Although TMS is a safe treatment option for anxiety, not everyone with anxiety is automatically eligible to participate in this therapy option. For your own safety, make sure you talk to your doctor before attempting to start TMS therapy.

You should not take part in TMS therapy if you fall under any of the below listed categories:

  • If you have metal implants or plates anywhere
  • If you are a patient with known risk of seizure
  • If you have a tattoo with magnetic-sensitive ink
  • If you have stents in your neck or brain
  • If you have aneurysm clips
  • If you have shrapnel or bullet fragments embedded in or near your head

Benefits of TMS Therapy

TMS has lots of amazing benefits for patients looking to manage their anxiety. Some of these benefits of TMS therapy include:

  • Structural benefits
  • Physiological benefits thanks to highly effective neurostimulation
  • High-success rate compared to other anxiety treatment options
  • Non-invasive
  • No-side effects
  • Non-drug
  • FDA cleared
  • Covered by most insurances

TMS Therapy at Essence Healthcare

At Essence Healthcare, your mental health is our top priority. Reach out today if you believe you or your loved one could benefit from a personalized treatment plan; we are here to support you.

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Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.