Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Can Help Cut Cravings
Nicotine addiction can sneak up quickly. The addictive properties of nicotine are so powerful that dependence can result after smoking just 100 cigarettes; that is how quickly the brain’s neural pathways can be rewired. Nicotine addiction has the distinction of being both a physical addiction and a psychological habit, making it that much more difficult to control. Deaths in the U.S. due to nicotine addiction reached 480,000 in 2015, making it the number one cause of preventable death—far out-pacing deaths from alcohol and drug addictions combined.
About 40 million Americans are habitual smokers, amounting to about 17% of the total adult population. Smoking is an expensive and unpleasant habit, and most of its victims (70%) say they wish they could quit. But as easy as it is to become chemically addicted to the effects of nicotine, it is extremely difficult to quit. Many try in earnest to stop smoking, but most attempts are unsuccessful.
A new method to quitting smoking is demonstrating promising results in recent studies: Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS). Although the FDA has not yet approved dTMS for nicotine addiction, it is already received MEDCERT certification for treating smoking cessation in Europe.
How dTMS Works to Stop Nicotine Cravings
According to a recent Psychiatric News Alert (from the American Psychiatric Association (APA)), a new collection of data published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences suggests that deep TMS may be very effective in reducing nicotine cravings in particular. While dTMS is being used to treat other substance use disorders in Europe, and research is ongoing regarding its effectiveness for treating cocaine and alcohol dependence, it is demonstrating to be a particularly useful tool in modulating cravings for nicotine.
The ten studies that were culled to evaluate the effects of dTMS on nicotine and alcohol, it was shown that dTMS had a significant impact on nicotine use disorder. As a result of the meta-analysis data, Rituparna Maiti, M.D. and fellow colleagues at the All India institute of Medical Sciences in Bhubaneswar, India are recommending the adoption of a uniform treatment protocol for people with nicotine dependence.
Deep TMS is a noninvasive therapeutic treatment procedure that requires no anesthesia, allowing patients to immediately resume normal daily activities following the session. The magnetic pulses are administered via an H-coil inside of a helmet that is designed to impact the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, altering the functions of pathways that had become rewired due to nicotine use. The electro-magnetic currents penetrate through the scalp up to a depth of 6 cm, stimulating the excretion of dopamine. Dr. Maiti states, “Stimulation of the DLPFC stimulates glutamate containing corticofugal fibers, which end on dopamine containing terminals in the ventral striatum, potentially increasing dopamine excretion and reducing craving.”
Achieve TMS is the Premier Provider of dTMS in Southern California
Although the recent meta-analysis of research data is encouraging, further replication of these results and larger study samplings must follow. However, if the U.S. follows Europe’s lead, there is good reason to believe that FDA approval to treat nicotine use disorder, as well as other substance use disorders, with dTMS is on the horizon.
Achieve TMS has been at the forefront of dTMS technology since 2008, using the state-of-the-art Brainsway equipment to treat major depressive disorder (MDD). Our physicians, nurses, and technicians provide expert care and vast experience in treating our patients. Achieve TMS has multiple convenient locations across San Diego County and now in south Orange County and Palm Desert as well. Call us today to ask our friendly and knowledgeable staff about the dTMS treatment procedure at (877) 447-6503.
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