Is TMS Effective for Anxiety?


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment for severe depression. In this treatment, Dr. Amr Beltagui in Rancho Cucamonga targets magnetic pulses at a particular part of the brain to effectively treat medication-resistant depression. However, anxiety is an even more statistically compelling mental illness than depression. A report by The Anxiety and Depression Association of America shows that over 18% of adults in the USA are affected by anxiety every year.


Anxiety disorders can directly affect your quality of life, social relations, sleep habits, and cognitive function. For most people, depression, and anxiety occur together. In fact, about 50% of patients suffering from depression are also facing some form of anxiety disorder too.

Does TMS Work for Anxiety?

Transcranial magnetic depression is an effective treatment for major depression. Since depression and anxiety are highly interconnected and probably result from the misregulation of the same brain neurocircuit, then does TMS work for anxiety? Yes, transcranial magnetic stimulation is an efficient anxiety treatment.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders are believed to result partly from activity imbalance in the emotional parts of the brain. TMS for depression sends repeated, high-frequency pulses at the prefrontal center of the brain at a rapid pace.


If depression and anxiety are related, symptoms of anxiety ought to follow suit and heal together with symptoms of depression. With transcranial magnetic stimulation, the symptoms usually improve. And, the patients feel better because the brain parts that are underactive in such mental illnesses are revived back to their normal status.

However, anxiety disorders seem to have a life of their own. It is believed that anxiety results from the misfiring of electrochemical signals, because of hyperactive and hypoactive parts of the brain. The misfiring triggers feelings of superfluous worry and fear, which causes physical symptoms, like heart palpitations, muscle tension, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal upset. Other symptoms include panic attacks, nervousness, irritability, eating disorders, fatigue and disrupted wake-sleep cycle.

The concept of treating anxiety with TMS was drawn from the fact that the right brain area transmits inhibitory cues to the left. Hence, if the right brain region is exposed to consistent inhibitory, low-frequency and gradual pulses, that may slow down overactive areas. Ultimately, the treatment will bring a calming effect on a brain affected by anxiety.

Who is Not a Good Candidate for TMS Anxiety Treatment?

Hundreds of studies have been done globally to test the effectiveness of the FDA-approved TMS treatment on anxiety. The studies have effectively proven that TMS can help in treating various anxiety disorders, like generalized anxiety, OCD and panic disorder.


However, TMS is not a suitable treatment for everyone. While TMS pulses are safe, they are not suitable for patients with pacemakers or other types of implantable electronic devices. Additionally, the presence of bone defects and craniotomy makes TMS unsuitable, because the structural conductance would be altered. Some adverse effects may arise, like headaches and minor muscle spasms.


If you are suffering from debilitating anxiety, the uplifting news is that you can overcome the disorder by using cutting-edge technology. Transcranial magnetic stimulation provides an approach to curbing the symptoms of anxiety where traditional techniques, like psychotropic medications, are ineffective. TMS can bring you hope in knowing you aren’t out of treatment options and that you can effectively live without anxiety.