Can TMS Therapy Treat Depression and Addiction?

Can TMS therapy help with addiction and depression?
Dominic Nicosia

Written By

Dominic Nicosia

Addiction and depression are closely linked. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that over nine million Americans struggle with co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness, and depression is one of the leading drivers of this correlation. Within the context of comprehensive care, there are multiple therapies used to treat co-occurring addiction and depression, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing and eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). More recently, a therapy called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has also been shown to be effective in the management of this complex dual-diagnosis disorder. Although the name may sound invasive, TMS therapy is safe, comfortable and performed by a trained practitioner.

If you or your loved one are struggling with simultaneous depression and addiction, TMS therapy may be a viable therapy to help you manage your condition. Here are some things you should know before getting started.

How Does TMS Therapy work?

TMS therapy uses electromagnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. A device is safely and comfortably placed on the head by a trained and qualified provider who administers the pulses at different levels of intensity. Psychiatrists are permitted to perform TMS in Florida and every other state, however many other states permit the therapy to be performed by a general practitioner, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner and clinical psychologist. A typical prescribed course of TMS lasts for several weeks with five treatment sessions per week ranging from about 20 minutes to an hour in duration.

Your doctor or practitioner will apply focused and repetitive electromagnetic pulses to the specific areas of your brain where depression episodes take root. These pulses impact and influence central nervous system activity to realign neurobiological patterns associated with depressive disorder. Intensity of treatment is determined by locating the motor cortex to determine which areas of the brain will most benefit from the electromagnetic pulses.

TMS doesn’t require anesthesia and it is generally well tolerated as compared to the side effects often seen with medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Some patients experience minor headache during and immediately following treatment. In order to be declared eligible for TMS therapy, you must undergo a physical and psychological examination.

How Effective is TMS Therapy?

TMS has proven effective in the treatment of depressive disorder and has potential for efficacy in the treatment simultaneous addiction and depression. Data published by Harvard indicates that approximately 50 to 60 percent of people with depression who have tried and failed to receive benefit from medications experience a clinically meaningful response with TMS and around 30 percent of these people experience full or near full remission. Another international study illustrated promising potential for the application of TMS to treat cocaine addiction. There is also evidence to suggest that therapy can be helpful in the avoidance and mitigation of alcohol relapse. Finally, TMS is also used to treat severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a condition commonly linked to early substance use disorder.

Does Insurance Cover TMS Therapy?

TMS is covered by most insurance providers to treat depression and OCD. Talk to your individual provider to figure out what your plan covers. The FDA has cleared TMS as an approved treatment for depressive disorder and OCD as well as for smoking cessation programs, meaning it is likely to be at least partially covered by your insurance company. Recovery Unplugged is in-network with most major insurance providers, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and more. The scope of your coverage will depend on your individual plan and provider. Recovery Unplugged is standing by to help you conduct a full health insurance verification.

TMS Therapy at Recovery Unplugged

Recovery Unplugged offers professional, safe and effective TMS therapy in Florida and Texas at our locations in Fort Lauderdale and Austin. Treatment is performed by a trained mental health professional and are non-invasive to give you or your loved one comfort and peace of mind. TMS therapy should only be performed for clients suffering from co-occurring addiction and depression and is not meant as a substitute for bedrock treatment components, like medical detox and rehab. Contact us today to learn more about TMS therapy and what we can do for you or your loved one.

Dominic Nicosia

Dominic Nicosia

The Senior Content Writer here at Recovery Unplugged, Dominic Nicosia oversees the maintenance of our online blog while also handling and overseeing all written communications within Marketing. He also writes articles, thought leadership pieces, and basically everything written regarding web content. Dominic has over seven years of writing experience in the addiction care field and a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from the University of Arts in Philadelphia. Dominic has been writing and playing music for years and is the proud owner of a Jack Russell/Pitbull mix named Jack. His favorite books are The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
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