How Does TMS Help PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex disorder that occurs after someone has been exposed to severe trauma. While many people may have first heard of PTSD in regard to ‘shell-shocked’ veterans returning from war, anyone can develop PTSD in response to a traumatic event. 

If you’re suffering from PTSD symptoms, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can stimulate your brain to develop new activation patterns, allowing you to heal from the inside out. Dr. Nina Greif and our team at At LiveWell TMS in Huntington, NY have years of experiencing helping patients with PTSD reduce their symptoms and improve their lives. Read on to find out if TMS is right for your PTSD

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in people who have experienced traumatic events. These events include things such as car accidents, terrorist attacks, the death of a loved one, war, natural disasters, and sexual assault. However, any type of trauma can lead to PTSD, including ongoing emotional abuse, domestic abuse, and parental abuse. 

While the causes of PTSD are incredibly varied from person to person, many PTSD sufferers share many of the same disruptive symptoms. According to the official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), these symptoms include: 

Intrusion symptoms:

Avoidance symptoms:

Arousal and reactivity symptoms: 

Cognition and mood symptoms:

In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, most people experience at least one or two symptoms in each of the above categories for at least a month, which can make it hard for them to go about their normal routines. 

Treatments for PTSD

PTSD is usually treated with psychotherapy, medications, or both. Psychotherapy options include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). Sometimes, these treatments are paired with antidepressant medications such as SSRIs and SNRIs. 

However, these medications can have unwanted side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, insomnia, decreased libido, headaches, and more. These side effects can make it hard to find a medication that works well for you. Luckily, there is another option. 


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a ground-breaking drug-free treatment that can directly influence and change brain activity to treat psychiatric disorders. TMS was FDA-approved to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in 2008. Studies have shown that TMS can be effective in treating other PTSD, OCD, and other conditions as well. 

In a recent study, a third of patients with both PTSD and depression had a significant clinical response to TMS treatment. This and other studies on PTSD patients have shown that TMS can help your brain move from traumatized unhealthy activation patterns to healthy activation patterns. This can then help you improve your self-esteem, reduce negative emotions, improve your memory, and shift attention from distressing thoughts. 

For most patients, a PTSD TMS course at LiveWell TMS will involve daily treatments Monday to Friday for six weeks. After your initial course, you will then have a transition period of two to three sessions a week for an additional two weeks. You will always be able to make follow-up appointments as needed after your first course. 

During sessions, Dr. Nina Greif attaches an electromagnetic coil to your scalp and creates gentle magnetic pulses in your head. While this treatment is non-invasive and pain-free, some people have described a tapping, clicking, or buzzing sensation. 

Find relief for your PTSD symptoms with TMS. If you’re wondering if TMS can help you, contact Dr. Greif and LiveWill TMS at 631-228-7674 or send us a message online today.

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