Before diving into TMS for schizophrenia, you must understand what schizophrenia entails for those who suffer from it. Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that impacts the brain. Its symptoms are complex and there are many misconceptions about this disease. Research shows that schizophrenia impacts both men and women equally, and there are many co-occurring medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, that go along with this disease.
There is currently no cure for schizophrenia, but many treatments are being developed to address the symptoms of this mental health disorder. Even though the causes of schizophrenia are still being researched, several types should be discussed. The types of schizophrenia include:
While paranoid schizophrenia is the most common type, all types can be debilitating and difficult for the individual to manage without proper TMS or help from a psychological professional.1
Schizophrenia symptoms are generally characterized by episodes where an individual has trouble distinguishing between real and fake experiences. While the episodes are categorized by positive and negative symptoms, general schizophrenia symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, trouble with thinking, and a lack of motivation.
Positive schizophrenia symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia, and distorted perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors. The negative symptoms of schizophrenia include a poor ability to initiate plans, difficulty speaking, and difficulty expressing emotion or finding pleasure in normally interesting activities. Finally, disorganized schizophrenia symptoms refer to the confusing pattern of thinking and speech that can also lead to bizarre and abnormal movements.
Those who live with schizophrenia still have the chance of participating in normal life. Like all diseases and mental health disorders, the severity of the condition itself will dictate treatment plans and options. With the right treatment plan, however, those who live with schizophrenia can leave highly productive and rewarding lives.
When an individual is working to cope with their schizophrenia, having family support is particularly important. Families must not only be able to understand their loved one but they must also be informed about the disease and know how to recognize the signs of schizophrenia. In addition, being optimistic and supportive of the family member who is suffering from schizophrenia is of the utmost importance.2
Because mental health disorders are comorbid with addiction, it is essential to watch for the signs of schizophrenia and understand the risk factors for developing a substance use disorder. There are no known schizophrenia causes, but there are several risk factors.
When an individual experiences anxiety or stress over a mental health disorder or everyday stressors, they may turn to substances to cope with difficult emotions. For that reason, people should watch for the signs of schizophrenia and schizophrenia symptoms as well as signs of using substances for self-medication.
Researchers estimate that between 40% and 60% of someone’s vulnerability to developing a substance use disorder is due to genetic influences. This factor is because some genes may contribute to a higher risk of developing mental disorders as well as addiction.
Research is still being conducted on schizophrenia causes. However, the disorder may be influenced by neurotransmitters in the brain that are impacted whenever substances are used or if a mental health disorder causes dysregulation of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin.
Environmental factors can be associated with risk or substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Adverse childhood experiences and chronic stress can make an individual more at risk for developing substance use disorders and unhealthy coping techniques.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a procedure that is not invasive and uses magnetic fields to help stimulate nerve cells in the brain. Typically, it is used to help improve the science of depression, but it also can be used as TMS for schizophrenia treatment.
The TMS treatment is typically done in a clinic or doctor’s office. You will likely have to undergo a series of TMS therapy for the TMS treatment to be successful. Your first TMS therapy appointment will consist of the doctor placing the magnets on your head and working to decide which dose of neurostimulation is right for you. You can expect your first TMS therapy session to last about sixty minutes.
When you go to your TMS therapy appointment, you will stay in a treatment room. When the treatment begins, an electromagnetic coil will be placed around your head and switched on and off as it produces transcranial magnetic stimulation impulses. You may feel a tapping sensation on your forehead as the system maps your brain.
The doctor in charge of your TMS therapy will increase the magnetic energy doses until your fingers or hands twitch. This reaction is known as your motor threshold, and it will be the reference point that the doctor uses for your TMS therapy.
Your TMS therapy will likely last around four to six weeks for it to be effective. Additionally, you will likely go to your rTMS appointments about five times each week for the TMS therapy to be effective.
As you prepare for TMS treatment, you will need to undergo a physical exam which will consist of lab tests as well as a psychiatric evaluation to discuss your mental health symptoms. After you complete these steps, the doctors will decide whether rTMS treatment is right for you.
When you decide to undergo TMS therapy, your doctor will be the one who administers the transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment. You will work with this doctor throughout your entire treatment series, and they will monitor your progress as well as your TMS therapy doses.
There are many benefits of TMS for schizophrenia and TMS for addiction. Because the TMS for addiction and schizophrenia consists of appointments that last consecutively, you will likely experience benefits and relief in a few weeks of treatment.6