TMS Therapy for Bipolar
Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health concern that can have a negative impact on all parts of a person’s life. Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry offers an array of services, including TMS therapy for bipolar disorder, to help people achieve improved health and higher quality of life.
What is TMS Therapy for Bipolar Disorder?
TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. TMS for bipolar disorder is a safe, non-invasive procedure that uses brief electromagnetic pulses to stimulate neural activity in areas of the brain that are associated with mood.
Here is a brief overview of what happens when someone receives TMS for bipolar disorder:
The entire session, including preparatory steps such as determining where to place the coil, takes less than an hour. In most cases, patients feel nothing more than a slight tapping against their head at the site of the coil. After a TMS session, most people can immediately resume all normal daily activities, including driving a car and returning to school or work.
People who receive TMS for bipolar disorder usually participate in several sessions over a period of a few weeks.
Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is defined by extreme and unpredictable changes in mood, mindset, energy, and related characteristics. The highs and lows of this condition often manifest during three types of episodes:
- Manic episodes are times of elevated mood, increased energy, and excessive self-confidence. During a manic episode, a person may become much more talkative and demonstrate little to no need for sleep. They may begin multiple large projects and participate in a variety of task-based behaviors. They may also exhibit recklessness and impulsivity in areas such as sex, gambling, spending, eating, and driving.
- Hypomanic episodes involve the same types of symptoms that are present during a manic episode, but they do not last as long. As established in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a manic episode will last for at least a week, while a hypomanic episode may only last for four days.
- Major depressive episodes are periods of at least 14 consecutive days during which a person suffers from persistent sadness, pervasive fatigue, and diminished self-esteem. Other common symptoms during a major depressive disorder include disrupted sleep, dramatic changes in appetite, withdrawal from family and friends, and problems with cognitive abilities such as focus, concentration, and memory. People may also experience recurring thoughts of death and dying during a major depressive episode.
There are three versions of bipolar disorder. If a person has manic episodes, they can be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder. Individuals who experience hypomanic and major depressive episodes have bipolar II disorder. The third variation, cyclothymic disorder, involves symptoms of hypomania and major depression that recur over a period of at least two years, but do not occur for the minimum consecutive days to qualify as hypomanic or major depressive episodes.
How Does TMS Help Bipolar Disorder?
As described in a 2019 article in the journal Brain and Behavior, TMS for bipolar disorder may be especially effective at alleviating symptoms of depression.
This means that the process may offer benefits for people who have all three types of bipolar disorder. (Though depression is not in the DSM-5 criteria for bipolar I disorder, people who have this version may have major depressive episodes in addition to the manic episodes that are a requirement for this diagnosis).
The 2019 article, which reviewed several prior studies on TMS for bipolar disorder, reported that the technique may also benefit people who have manic or hypomanic episodes. However, sufficient research has not yet been completed to confirm this benefit.
Can TMS Cure Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental health condition. This means that, at this time, there is no known cure. However, as noted in the previous section, TMS for bipolar disorder can be a source of symptom relief, which can lead to significant improvements in both the substance and quality of a person’s life.
At our mental health treatment in Atlanta, TMS is just one of many elements of care that may be provided to people who have bipolar disorder.
A comprehensive approach that includes medication, TMS, and other types of therapy can help people learn to manage their symptoms and make the behavioral changes that will help them lead a healthier and more satisfying life.
Since bipolar disorder affects different people in different ways, the specific medications and types of therapies that will promote these positive outcomes can vary considerably from one patient to the next. This is why features such as thorough assessments and close personal attention are hallmarks of bipolar disorder treatment at our center in Atlanta.
Does Insurance Cover TMS for Bipolar Disorder?
Some insurance plans cover TMS for bipolar disorder, while others do not. To determine if your policy includes coverage for this service, please contact Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry. With your permission, a member of our team can coordinate directly with your insurance provider to verify your coverage and confirm the full scope of your benefits.
We understand that navigating the intricacies and complexities of an insurance policy can be a challenging endeavor, and we are happy to provide our assistance at no charge to you. If it turns out that your policy does not include coverage for TMS for bipolar disorder, we can discuss other payment options with you.
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