TMS and PTSD

physical pTSD

Too many times the single approach to treating or dealing with PTSD is anti-depressants.  But the issue is not depression.  Depression is a part of PTSD but PTSD is not depression.  Much like an upset stomach is part of the flu, the flu is not an upset stomach. The anti-depressants might treat a characteristic of PTSD but is not really addressing the primary issue.  TMS is short for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.  TMS is NOT shock therapy.  TMS is a low electrical current flow as produced by magnets.  An MRI is produced by magnetic current.  TMS just uses a lower current.  TMS has finally been approved by the FDA as a treatment for medication resistant depression.  TMS deals directly with the issues within the brain that are at the core of PTSD.

What is PTSD?  Anyone who lives with PTSD can describe the characteristics but very few seem to be able to truly understand it.  PTSD is probably the most common condition while also being probably the most misunderstood.  PTSD is NOT an emotion condition.  PTSD is NOT a psychological condition.  PTDS is NOT one of those things where if you would just ‘buck up’ and ‘take life by the bootstraps’ things would all be better and fine.  According to medical research, PTSD is a physical condition caused by high saturations of cortisol over a long period of time.  This saturation creates physical changes within the limbic system which is commonly considered the emotional base within the brain.  Some of these changes may demonstrate themselves through anger, improper behavior where high risk is concerned, improper judgment decisions regarding confrontation, as well as night terrors and flashbacks.  While there is a recognized physical origin for PTSD THERE IS NEVER AN EXCUSE FOR ABUSE, ANGER OUTBURST, OR IMPROPER BEHAVIOR TOWARDS OTHERS!  Just like with any other issue or condition personal responsibility is paramount.  You might just have to work harder on some things and make sure you get as much rest as possible, cut down or avoid alcohol or other substances that can compromise good judgment, and be in tune with your body and emotions more clearly.  Personal accountability is demanded.

TMS helps stimulate blood flow in the frontal cortex which is a key area in the brain for behaviors.  TMS is also able to help the body relax which is able to reduce cortisol production.  I was working on being able to find measurable amounts which TMS reduced cortisol when I ran out of money to go further but what I did discover was that it was notable, comparable to medication and without all the negative side effects of medication.  As cortisol is able to be reduced the changes within the hippocampus, hypothalamus and the amygdala, three key factors where behavior, emotions and memory are centered, are able to show reversals of atrophy.

Israeli hospitals have been using TMS for decades.  They have found that it is able to help stimulate new cell growth which is a major asset in wound healing.  In their emergency rooms they found that people with war wounds were able to heal quicker and with less scaring.  TMS is nothing new.  I would love to see the VA forced into offering TMS as a treatment modality for PTSD but there is very little side effects and no ‘kickback’ from medication corporations (not that I am accusing the VA of anything….this has been a legal disclaimer..).  TMS is a method of dealing directly with some of the causes for PTSD and not just addressing the outward characteristics.  It is more like actually dealing with an infection and not just putting a Band-Aid over the top.

There are clinics which practice TMS.  I would encourage people to look into this as a possibility.  As said earlier, PTSD is probably the most common challenge faced by society.  It is not limited to military combat veterans.  This is actually an encouragement.  Too many times veterans living with PTSD feel alone and isolated like nobody could understand what they are going through.  There are many roads which lead to PTSD.  They are not all the same but have the same results.  Too many times people get all caught up in the road they traveled and totally forget that other people have found the same end result destination.  If a person is so caught up in their particular road traveled then they often times are more invested in remaining ‘unique’ then they are in finding ways to ‘live with’ PTSD.  The changes within the limbic system are physical with basically universal characteristics.  Sleep disorder, nightmares/night terrors, flashbacks, hyper alertness, hyper startle response, isolation, avoidance of certain areas, avoidance of areas of vulnerability such as normally picking the table or chair next to a wall instead of with their back to a door, irritability, agitation and avoidance of crowds, and depression are characteristics shared by many.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

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