Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treat OCD?

Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treat OCD?

Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treat OCD?

In Australia, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). TMS is a relatively new treatment for OCD but is proving to be a good alternative option. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. where unwanted recurring thoughts and associated repetitive behaviours occur.

What treatments help patients with OCD?

OCD is traditionally treated with medications like antidepressants. Medication can play a successful role in the treatment of OCD but other therapies just as effective. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can also be very effective in the treatment of OCD. Particularly when exposure therapy is applied. There are OCD patients  who are resistant to such treatment modalities. That is where TMS is stepping in.

What is TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-evasive form of brain stimulation. TMS therapy uses magnetic pulses which stimulate neurons in the underlying brain. It is this targeted area of the brain that controls mood. A session takes 30-45 minutes, 3 times per week for approximately 30 sessions.


More recently, TMS is showing promising results in the treatment of OCD. It is a very safe and effective treatment method. Particularly as there are fewer side effects for the patient. To read more about research articles published please click here.

What are the benefits of TMS?

TMS is a well tolerated OCD treatment modality and there are very few side effects. The patient is awake during TMS treatment.

· Few Side Effects

· Patient is awake during sessions

· No anaesthetic or sedation used

· Patients can carry on with their day immediately after treatment

Are there any risks involved with TMS?

There is a very low risk of seizure during TMS. The most common side effects are scalp discomfort, dizziness and headaches.

Side effects of TMS include:

· Headaches

· Scalp irritation or scalp pain

· Facial muscle twitching

· Low risk of seizure

Is the TMS treatment provided to TMS patients the same as that provided to those with depression?

Although the treatment itself is similar, the targeted area in the brain is different. Also a low frequency rTMS provides more therapeutic benefits in patients with OCD.

How many sessions are required? 

Patients are recommended to have a full course of 30 treatments of 45 minute sessions of TMS. Each person will have a different experience. Some people do not notice a difference until later in the treatment. At Sydney TMS, many patients notice the improvements between 25-30 sessions.

What are the costs involved with TMS treatment?

Currently in Australia there is very little cost relief available for patients. There is currently no Medicare or Private Health Insurance rebate available.  Patients who have their medical expenses covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Workcover should check if their TMS costs are covered.

At Sydney TMS our goal is to make TMS available to as many patients as possible. We are strongly committed to offering the most competitive fees possible. We offer several treatment plans with different fee structures available.  Please call us to arrange a free consultation to work out the best solution for you.

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