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What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental health disorder characterized by the feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. Everyone can go through anxiety at some point in their life. However, for a person with anxiety disorder, those feelings never go away.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) causes a person to worry about ordinary situations or issue such as health, money, or work. These worries are excessive and they often think about them for a long period of time.
Other anxiety disorders include:
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorders
- And more
Mental disorders have turned a corner in recent years. There has been an increasing number of people seeking out treatment in one form or another. This is great, but the misconceptions floating around have some people still sitting on the fence about the issue.
It's Not That Serious
It has taken a significant amount of time for society to start accepting anxiety as a real disorder. However, even today, many people believe that anxiety is nothing more than an exaggeration.
While it’s true that everyone will suffer from a bout of anxiety at some point in their lives, people with anxiety disorders suffer from intense fears that interfere with their day-to-day. The truth is, people with anxiety disorders may suffer from co-occurring conditions.
When a sufferer is left untreated, they may turn to alcohol or drugs as a form of self-medication.
The Only Treatment Is Medication
Medication as the first course of treatment is certainly effective. However, alternative treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy may provide more long-term success.
The concern over the addictive characteristics of anti-anxiety medication has its merits, especially after the opioid crisis that hit small towns and cities in the U.S. in recent years.
The typical household names like Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin have gained notoriety in recent years for their potential for abuse. The issue isn’t the drug, but it’s the overprescribing by physicians. The measure that many doctors have taken is to prescribe anti-depression medications instead.
It'll Go Away on Its Own
This is one, if not the most dangerous, misconception about anxiety disorders. Even though non-additive treatment plans like cognitive behavioral therapy have shown to be successful, many people will not seek treatment.
While it’s true that the proper diet, exercise, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine can help in the short term, it’s not sustainable.
Why Do I Have Anxiety?
While the exact causes of anxiety are unknown, researchers found that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a part.
A shortlist of risk factors to keep an eye on include:
- Behavioral restraint during childhood
- Exposure to stress-inducing negative experiences
- History of anxiety or mental illness in the family
- Physical conditions such as thyroid problems or heart arrhythmias
- Substance abuse
There are various reasons as to why you might suffer from anxiety. Genetics, environment, and history may all have a part in your suffering. If you believe you have an anxiety disorder, make sure to set an appointment with your doctor to diagnose and treat your symptoms.
They may recommend several treatments, but be sure to also ask about the TMS treatment process.
TMS for Anxiety
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive stimulant therapy. The procedure involves the use of electromagnetic pulses to stimulate activity in nerve cells.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave TMS therapy approval in 2008 to treat depression. It’s shown a success rate of between 30% and 64% in treating depression in patients who did not respond to psychotherapy or antidepressant medication.
The promising success rate has led to more research conducted in treating other disorders such as anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease, to name a few.
Right-side TMS was studied to determine treatment for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The study showed success in reducing anxiety symptoms in over 50% of patients and showed continuous lower anxiety levels in the following six months.
Although the available data that TMS treatment for generalized anxiety order holds promise, more research and trials are needed.
TMS Treatment Process
Because it’s a magnetic stimulation procedure, you’ll be required to remove all items sensitive to magnets before starting.
Typically, you’ll have to attend the procedure five days a week and complete it within four to six weeks. While it sounds like a scary procedure, it’s entirely painless!
A typical first-time TMS procedure entails the following:
- Sit a comfortable chair with earplugs
- Technician or physician will take measurements to set the TMS machine
- A coil is placed above the front of your brain
- Clicking sounds heard as magnetic impulses release
- You may feel a tapping sensation
The procedure usually lasts anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Unlike other treatments, you can drive home and go about your day.
Could TMS for Anxiety Be Right For You?
Anxiety disorders are real treatable disorders that you don’t need to suffer from. Speaking with your doctor is the best first step you can take on your journey to free yourself from the chains of anxiety.
If using TMS for anxiety sounds intriguing, contact us to discuss how TMS works and how we can help free you from debilitating anxiety.
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The TMS Center of the Hudson Valley is the first established TMS treatment center in Poughkeepsie, New York and the Hudson Valley. Our mission is to provide personalized and effective TMS treatments for our patients.