rTMS Therapy for Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder is a chronic mental disorder that occurs in approximately 1 – 3 % of the population, with varying degrees of severity. Its main symptoms are repetitive, unacceptable and uncontrolled thoughts, impulses or images, which in most people cause intense anxiety or discomfort, and compulsions, that is, repetitive behaviours (eg. hand washing, tidying) or mental actions (eg. prayers, counting, silent repetition of words) than the person feels compelled to perform, often in response to an obsession. In addition, both obsessions and compulsions are time consuming and cause a significant reduction in one’s social, occupational or familial functioning. The available therapies so far (pharmaceutical and psychotherapy) deliver significant benefits, either alone or in combination. However, about 60% of patients are expected to experience relapse in symptomatology, while a total of 40 – 60% will only respond to treatment partially, for various reasons. Therefore, it appears that there is still progress to be made in order to provide new, more effective treatment for Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder. The application of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) aims to do just that. Current research data suggest that rTMS therapy may be a solution to many patients who suffer from OCD and have not benefited from either medication or psychotherapy. There is an extensive and promising field of research working to optimize the efficacy of this approach in the present and in the future.
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a safe new approach which may be used as a “third” way of treating OCD symptoms through targeted magnetic stimulation, as opposed to the approaches of medication or psychotherapy.
Also, due to its favourable profile in terms of side effects, rTMS may be a valuable option for patients who have not been prescribed or cannot tolerate pharmacological treatment, or for patients who have experienced limited benefits from psychotherapy. In addition, rTMS may be used to treat Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder either as a main treatment, or in conjunction with other approaches, in order to enhance treatment effects.

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