Addiction can disrupt lives, destroy relationships, contribute to major health problems, and sometimes even lead to death.
The methods and therapies that help users typically include a mix of counseling, medication, and lifestyle changes. While this mix of treatments has helped many across America, there are still millions who never get clean or who relapse after a string of sober months.
Luckily, scientists and psychologists have been researching new ways to promote sobriety, one of these ways being transcranial magnetic stimulation, better known as TMS.
How Does Addiction Work?
Before we can understand TMS, we need to understand the basics of addiction and what happens when drugs or alcohol enter a user’s body.
When you repetitively use drugs or drink alcohol, you can experience an imbalance in your brain’s reward center.
Your brain’s reward center is designed to send out dopamine—a sort of motivation and positive emotion– whenever you do something enjoyable (e.g., eating chocolate, buying a new outfit, or finishing up a project).
Many drugs directly impact the brain’s reward system, artificially elevating levels of dopamine. The brain creates an incentive for users to keep using, which can quickly get out of hand. Even more problematic is when users suddenly stop using drugs. Their dopamine levels can plummet, resulting in severe depression and physical withdrawal symptoms.
This cycle is what we know as addiction.
What is TMS?
TMS is transcranial magnetic stimulation, an FDA-approved procedure, that transmits electromagnetic pulses into targeted areas of your brain.
These electromagnetic pulses excite neurons that reside within your brain’s reward center and encourage new brain connections.
Since we know that your brain’s reward center is disrupted during addiction, TMS works to reverse certain neuro-connections and help bring your brain back to baseline.
In a study on alcohol and cocaine users, research pointed to positive findings; that TMS may reduce cravings and promote abstinence from drugs.
Could TMS be the Next Solution for Drug Addiction?
Since drug addiction affects the brain so strongly, going straight to the source may be a practical solution for users that have tried various methods and failed.
While nontraditional methods may work for you or your family, it’s imperative to speak with a doctor and find out the best treatment options for drug and alcohol abuse.
Interested in learning more about TMS and its clinical uses? Get more information on TMS as an addiction treatment option. It may help you or your loved one overcome their addiction for good.