6 Things You Can Anticipate in Panic Disorder Treatment

by | Nov 15, 2023

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live with panic disorder? It’s like having an internal alarm system that goes off randomly. 

We’re talking about intense waves of fear that come on suddenly, often with physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, shaking, or shortness of breath. Sometimes, people feel a choking sensation or even fear that they’re having a heart attack. It’s not fun to go through.

But here’s some good news: TMS therapy is a treatment that’s making a huge difference for people with panic disorder

Today, I’m going to go into more detail on what you should anticipate during TMS panic disorder treatment. Whether you’re dealing with panic disorder yourself, know someone who does, or want to learn about cutting-edge therapy in mental health, I’ve got you covered.

So, let’s grab a cup of coffee and break this down together. 

6 Things to Anticipate 

1. Comprehensive Initial Evaluation

When you start TMS panic disorder treatment, the first step is a thorough evaluation. Consider it a deep dive into your medical history and current health situation. We’d start by talking about your mental health history, primarily focusing on your experiences with panic disorder or any other mental health issues. It’s important to get the complete picture.

Then, I’d go over your physical health. This part is crucial because we want to ensure TMS is a safe option for you. We’d talk about any medications you’re taking, your past medical history, and if you’ve had any neurological issues, like seizures or concussions

We’d also set expectations. I’d walk you through what TMS can and can’t do, how it works, what a typical session looks like, and everything else. It’s important that you understand the whole process.

There might be a few standard tests, too — nothing scary, just routine stuff to rule out any physical conditions that could affect your treatment. 

Finally, I’d like to chat with you about your support system. TMS is a commitment; having people who understand what you’re going through and offer support makes a big difference.

So, this initial evaluation is all about ensuring TMS is the right fit for you, setting clear expectations, and ensuring we have a solid, safe plan moving forward. It’s about getting you the best possible care.

Understanding the Basics of TMS

2. Understanding the Basics of TMS

Let’s break down how your TMS therapy sessions will look. First, you don’t have to do anything special when you come for a session. Show up as you are in comfortable clothing, and avoid wearing anything metal. 

You’ll be sitting in a special chair. We’ll place this magnetic coil device near your head. It’s specifically positioned to target the part of your brain that needs stimulation.

Now, the machine will start sending magnetic pulses. It’s like tapping. You’ll hear some clicking sounds and feel a tapping sensation on your scalp. It’s weird initially, but most people get used to it quickly. 

Each session lasts for about four minutes. You’ll typically do this five days a week for about four to six weeks. Throughout the process, we keep an eye on how you’re doing. We adjust the treatment based on your response and any side effects. The goal is to make it as comfortable and effective for you as possible.

So, that’s the gist of it. It’s pretty straightforward, and many people find it a smooth process once they get into the rhythm of it.

3. Regular Treatment Schedule

Setting up and sticking to a regular treatment schedule is super important. TMS works by repeatedly stimulating specific areas of your brain, and this repetition is key to its effectiveness.

Think of it like going to the gym. If you want to build muscle, you can’t lift weights once and expect huge gains. It’s the consistent effort over time that really makes the difference. The same goes for TMS. We’re essentially “exercising” certain parts of your brain to help improve their function.

Now, what does this regular schedule look like? Typically, you’re looking at sessions five days a week for four to six weeks. It is a commitment but designed to maximize the treatment’s effectiveness.

Sticking to this schedule ensures that your brain receives consistent stimulation, helping to gradually improve symptoms of panic disorder. It’s like we’re training your brain to respond differently to anxiety triggers, and regularity is a big part of making that happen.

So, when you start TMS, it’s super important to prioritize it in your schedule, like any other important therapy or medical treatment. This consistent, repeated exposure to the magnetic pulses helps your brain learn and adapt, which is what we’re aiming for with panic disorder treatment. 

4. Minimal Side Effects

One of the appealing things about TMS therapy is that the side effects are minimal, especially when you compare it to other treatments. You know how sometimes meds have a laundry list of potential side effects? With TMS, it’s a lot less intense.

The most common side effect people experience is a bit of discomfort at the site where the magnetic coil is placed. As I mentioned, it’s usually described as a mild tapping or knocking sensation. Some folks might have a mild headache or scalp tenderness after their sessions, but it’s typically short-lived.

Another thing is, because the magnetic field is pretty focused, it doesn’t have the kind of body-wide effects you might get with medication. You’re not going to deal with stuff like weight gain, sleepiness, or an upset stomach, which are common with some anxiety or depression meds.

There’s also no sedation or anesthesia involved, so you don’t have the grogginess or recovery time that comes with those. You can drive yourself to and from your appointments and return to your day after a session.

And the excellent news? These side effects, like headaches or scalp discomfort, often diminish over time as you get more sessions under your belt. Your body gets used to the sensation.

When discussing TMS and side effects, we’re looking at really manageable stuff. It’s one of the reasons it’s an excellent option for many people.

Gradual Improvement in Symptoms

5. Gradual Improvement in Symptoms

The key thing to remember is that improvement is gradual. This is a good thing because it means your brain adjusts more sustainably.

Initially, you might not notice any major changes. This is totally normal. Remember, we’re nudging specific areas of your brain into a different activity pattern; like any change, it takes some time to start seeing the effects.

As you progress through the weeks of treatment, you may notice subtle shifts. Maybe you’re not feeling as anxious as usual, or you find yourself reacting more calmly in situations that used to trigger a panic attack. These small changes gradually build up.

For many people, the most noticeable improvements happen toward the end of the treatment course or sometimes even a few weeks after completing all the sessions. It’s like planting seeds; you water and care for them, but it takes time before you see the sprouts.

The exact timeline and degree of improvement varies by person. Many factors, like your specific symptoms, how long you’ve had them, and your overall health, influence it. But the general trend is a gradual improvement.

The cool part is that these changes are usually long-lasting. Unlike taking a pill to relieve symptoms temporarily, TMS leads to more enduring changes in brain function, reducing the intensity and frequency of panic disorder symptoms over a longer term.

So, patience is key with TMS. It’s not a quick fix, but the gradual improvements are a sign that your brain is adapting and learning to manage anxiety more healthily.

6. Combination With Other Treatments

While TMS therapy is super effective on its own for a lot of people, it often really shines when used in combination with other treatments. Think of it as part of a broader, more holistic approach to tackling panic disorder or other mental health issues.

First off, there’s therapy — like cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is all about identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. When you combine this with TMS, which physically alters brain activity, you tackle the problem from a psychological and biological angle. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.

Then there’s medication. Some folks might find that they still benefit from certain medicines besides TMS. The meds might help manage symptoms while TMS works on the brain. It’s like having a ground team (medication) and an air force (TMS) working together.

Lifestyle changes are also huge. We’re talking about stuff like exercise, diet, sleep — all that good stuff that helps keep your brain and body healthy. These changes help boost the effectiveness of TMS by improving your overall well-being and resilience.

And let’s remember support groups or individual counseling. A solid support system and a safe space to discuss what you’re going through enhances your benefits from TMS.

So, while TMS is a powerful tool on its own, when you combine it with these other treatments and lifestyle changes, you’re creating a comprehensive, well-rounded approach to panic disorder treatment. It’s about covering all your bases and giving yourself the best shot at long-term improvement.

TMS Therapy With Brain Health Center

As we wrap up our deep dive into TMS therapy and its role in treating panic disorder, remember that this journey is about finding the right support and treatment that works for you. If what you’ve read about TMS therapy sparks a sense of hope or curiosity, don’t hesitate to take the next step.

Brain Health Center is dedicated to helping individuals explore and access TMS therapy. Our team of experts is here to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring you receive personalized care tailored to your unique needs. 

Whether you have questions, need more information, or are ready to start your journey with TMS therapy, we’re here for you. Don’t let panic disorder dictate your life’s story. 

Reach out to Brain Health Center, or call us at 435.900.0123, and discover how TMS therapy could be the key to unlocking a more calm, controlled, and fulfilling life. Your path to better mental health is a conversation away.