TMS for Anxiety

Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry offers a dynamic array of evidence-based services to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life among people who have been struggling with anxiety disorders. Our customizable range of treatment options includes TMS therapy for anxiety. 

Medically Reviewed: Dr. Zohaib Haque
Author: Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry Team
Last Updated: May 8, 2024

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What is Anxiety?

In a mental health context, anxiety refers to a category of disorders that are characterized by excessive nervousness and overwhelming fear. The main difference between the various forms of anxiety disorders is the circumstance or stimulus that prompts the onset of symptoms.


The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) includes entries for several anxiety disorders, including:

The symptoms of anxiety disorders (which we will discuss in greater detail in a later section) can be sources of significant distress, to the point that people have difficulty functioning in school, at work, in social situations, or in other important areas of life.

Anxiety disorders are often treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. In recent years, TMS therapy for anxiety has also proved to be an effective means of helping people overcome the potentially debilitating effects of these disorders. 

How Can TMS Therapy Help Anxiety?

TMS therapy involves the use of brief electromagnetic pulses to activate areas of the brain that are associated with mood. When TMS therapy is incorporated into a comprehensive, personalized course of treatment, it can help people experience a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in their overall well-being.


As anxiety symptoms begin to dissipate, patients can discover that they are now able to more fully engage in the pursuits and activities that constitute a productive and satisfying life. 

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    Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

    The signs and symptoms of anxiety can vary depending on several factors, including the person’s age and developmental level, which type of anxiety disorder they have developed, and if they have any co-occurring mental or behavioral health concerns.

    With these caveats in mind, the following signs and symptoms may indicate that a person is living with an anxiety disorder:


    • cause or disproportionate to any actual threat
    • Difficulty with concentration, focus, and memory
    • Headaches, stomach aches, and muscle tension
    • Disrupted sleep patterns
    • Nightmares
    • Fatigue and exhaustion
    • Anger and irritability
    • Changing behaviors to avoid people or situations that may trigger the onset of symptoms 

    People who have GAD may experience symptoms like these for no apparent reason. In cases of specific phobia, agoraphobia, and separation anxiety, exposure to a specific external trigger will typically precede the onset of symptoms.


    Some anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, can also cause a person to develop physical symptoms such as:


    • Racing heart rate
    • Elevated body temperature
    • Excessive perspiration
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Tingling in fingers and toes
    • Chest pains
    • Difficulty catching one’s breath
    • Sense of being suffocated 

    These physical symptoms are usually brief, but they can cause a person to believe that they are at imminent risk of dying. They can also be accompanied by a sense of dissociation (feeling detached from one’s surroundings or one’s own body, thoughts, and feelings)

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    Types of Anxiety that TMS Can Help Treat

    TMS therapy was originally used in the United States to help people with major depressive disorder who had not experienced symptom relief after prior treatment with medication and psychotherapy. Through the years, it has proved to be an effective option for people who have other mental health concerns, including anxiety.


    A meta-analysis in the journal Brain and Behavior indicated that TMS therapy for anxiety may be most beneficial for people who have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

    The meta-analysis also suggested that TMS therapy for anxiety may be helpful for people who have specific phobia and panic disorder, though the authors noted that further study is necessary to confirm this.


    This does not mean that GAD, panic disorder, and specific phobia are the only anxiety disorders that can be effectively treated with TMS therapy. The information above simply represents the findings of one team that focused on a few disorders. Researchers and clinicians are continuing to evaluate additional uses for TMS therapy, including its potential for helping people with other types of anxiety disorders.

    What is a TMS Therapy Session Like?

    When you receive TMS therapy for anxiety, here are a few examples of what you can expect during your session:


    • Your session will take place in a quiet, distraction-free room.
    • You will sit in a comfortable chair throughout the session.
    • Because the device that generates the magnetic pulses can be noisy, you may be provided with earplugs or another form of hearing protection.
    • The TMS therapist will place a small magnetic coil against your scalp.
    • When the device that delivers the electromagnetic pulses is activated, you may feel a slight tapping where the coil is touching your head.
    • You may also hear a clicking sound. This will occur when the magnet turns on and off (which it will do several times during the session).
    • Once the session is complete, you should have no problem resuming the full scope of your regular daily activities. 

    Of course, if you feel any side effects during or after the TMS therapy session, please notify the therapist immediately, so that they can ease any distress you are feeling and make any necessary adjustments in your treatment.

    How Does TMS Therapy Work in Atlanta, GA?

    Mental health experts do not completely understand exactly how TMS therapy for anxiety works. But here are a few things that they do know:

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    Benefits of TMS For Anxiety

    Examples of the many benefits of TMS therapy for anxiety include:

    Find TMS Therapy for Anxiety in Atlanta, GA

    Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry is a trusted provider of TMS therapy for anxiety as well as a variety of other innovative and effective mental health services. To learn more about the features and benefits of TMS therapy, or to get additional details about any other aspects of our programming, please visit our appointment page or call our center today. We look forward to providing you with the answers you need, so that you can make the most informed decisions about your treatment and your health.

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