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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) received its second FDA approval in psychiatry this week, for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). TMS has been used for depression since 2008 and is offered in two forms: Surface TMS and Deep TMS. Only the Deep form is approved for OCD. We began offering Deep TMS in June 2018 and plan to use the device for OCD soon (though FDA-approved, the modified treatment arm for OCD is not available just yet).
OCD is a chronic anxiety disorder that floods the mind with obsessive self-doubt. These “obsessions” are usually about something being wrong, dangerous, unclean, inappropriate, immoral, disgusting, or disorderly. Obsessions cause great discomfort, and people with OCD engage in “compulsions” to relieve that anxiety. Compulsions can include cleaning, straightening, checking, superstitions, rituals, and asking for reassurance.
The benefits of TMS in OCD are significant: 2-3 times the effects we see with antidepressant medication, according to a review of 20 studies involving 791 patients. TMS is well tolerated and has fewer side effects than most medications.
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