Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for OCD

First provider to offer approved TMS Treatment for OCD

Achieve TMS, the nation’s leading provider of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) is now offering treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at centers in San Diego, CA, Mission Valley, CA, La Jolla, CA,  Huntington Beach, CA Beaverton, OR and Anchorage, AK. The new OCD treatment protocol was approved by the FDA in August 2018.

How TMS Treatment for OCD Works

TMS for OCD is a localized, non invasive treatment that uses magnetic fields to re -set or neutralize neural pathways in the CSTC circuits (cortico-striatal-thalamo-coritcol) of the brain, which is the area  involved with obsessive, persistent and intrusive thoughts and/or compulsive or ritualized actions that cause distress or impairment.

In the course of a lifetime, OCD impacts 2.3% of the population and commonly co-occurs with mood disorders, anxiety, tic disorders or schizophrenia. Roughly half of OCD patients do not experience a meaningful improvement in their symptoms from traditional therapies or medication alone and there are currently five medications that are approved in the U.S. for treatment of OCD. TMS is approved as an adjunctive treatment for OCD to support and enhance the impact of therapy and/or medication.

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Achieve TMS Locations Offering TMS Treatment for OCD

Treating OCD with TMS

TMS treatment for OCD involves daily 20 minute treatments, five days per week for about six weeks. There are no adverse side effects, and patients are able to safely drive to school or work immediately afterward.

For daily treatment, patients are fitted with a specially-built helmet, containing a patented H7-coil that is mapped to each patient’s CSTC coordinates on either side of the head. These circuits are responsible for attention allocation, impulse inhibition and motor activity. Magnetic pulses reaching up to 3.0 cm into the cerebral cortex gently stimulate the brain circuits impacted by OCD, combating hypersensitivity in these structures.

The impact of TMS on the treatment of OCD is measured by assessing scores on the Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS). Based on clinical data, 38% of all patients using TMS for OCD treatment will see about a 30% decrease in the YBOCS score after 6 weeks (normally a drop of 6-7 points). Roughly 55% of patients will see a partial decrease (4-5 points) after 6 weeks. The decrease in symptoms is normally gradual and not apparent until roughly 3 weeks into treatment.

TMS Treatment for OCD: Frequently Asked Questions

Can TMS Help with OCD?

BrainsWay Deep TMS (DTMS) is an FDA-approved TMS therapy designed to help patients manage the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In a multicenter study published in 2019, researchers found that BrainsWay DTMS stimulates neurons in portions of the brain that may otherwise contribute to OCD symptoms. Additionally, BrainsWay can be safely used in combination with other types of OCD therapies, including medication and psychotherapy. TMS does not cause any adverse or long-term side effects, other than a mild headache that typically resolves within the first week of treatment.

What Is the Success Rate of TMS Treatment for OCD?

In data collected from more than 200 OCD patients, researchers found that BrainsWay DTMS delivers positive results in real world clinical practice settings. The data revealed that more than 70% of OCD patients achieved first response, and more than 60% maintained a consistent response after an average of 18 to 19 DTMS sessions, or 28 to 30 days.

Who Is a Good Candidate for TMS Treatment for OCD?

To determine if TMS or other therapies can be safe and effective to help manage OCD symptoms, a patient must first meet with a doctor. Next, the doctor can evaluate the patient, learn about their OCD symptoms, and determine if TMS or other treatment options may be used to provide symptomatic relief.

Should a doctor determine TMS may be used on its own or in combination with other treatments to help mitigate OCD symptoms, a personalized therapy plan is provided to a patient. If a patient is not a good candidate for TMS treatment, alternative therapy options can be explored.

Is TMS Treatment for OCD Covered by My Insurance?

Several insurance companies cover TMS treatment for OCD, but each plan is different. To find out if TMS coverage is included in an insurance plan, an OCD patient should contact their insurer directly. If you have questions about insurance coverage or payment for TMS treatment, our insurance team can answer your questions. Reach out to us at 877-261-3391 for a complementary consultation.

What Can I Expect During a TMS Treatment Session?

TMS treatment is performed at our office and requires approximately 20 minutes for each treatment session.

Before TMS treatment begins, a patient is seated in a comfortable chair.The patient remains seated and can watch TV, read a book, or listen to music throughout their therapy session. A TMS technician places a magnetic coil on the patient’s head. The coil sends gentle magnetic pulses to the patient’s brain, and these pulses stimulate neural activity to help alleviate OCD symptoms.

After TMS, a patient can leave our office and resume their normal activities. The side effects of TMS are minimal; patients may experience a mild headache or no discomfort at all following therapy.

Is TMS Therapy for OCD Safe and Well-Tolerated?

TMS is generally safe and well-tolerated, which is reflected in several studies. The treatment does not cause nausea, sleep changes, or other adverse or long-lasting side effects commonly associated with traditional OCD therapies. The only side effect of TMS is a mild headache, which typically resolves on its own after the first week of treatment, and can be resolved with an over-the-counter pain reliever in the meantime. TMS also does not require a lengthy recovery period, and patients can immediately drive and resume daily activities after each session.

The benefits of TMS therapy for OCD can be significant. That said, the treatment is not recommended for OCD patients who have metal implanted in their head or neck, or who have a history of seizures. Our medical clinicians only recommend TMS after they evaluate a patient and ensure that TMS will be a safe and comfortable treatment.

How Are TMS for OCD Sessions Supervised?

A TMS technician administers TMS treatment during each therapy session, and is supervised by a licensed medical practitioner. TMStechnicians receive comprehensive training and are certified to administer and monitor treatment.

TMS technicians are passionate about supporting patients throughout the OCD treatment. They foster supportive relationships with patients and care about their health and wellbeing. Our technicians work closely with patients and medical clinicians. Together, our technicians and clinicians evaluate the effectiveness of a TMS therapy program and its ability to help patients manage their OCD symptoms.


TMS for OCD Treatment