Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Prevention in the Context of New Trauma

SOURCE: Rhode Island Medicine. 106(2):17-19, 2023 Mar 01.

AUTHORS: Brennan MC; Philip NS

ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disabling psychiatric disorder that can result from experiencing a traumatic event. While a single index trauma can result in PTSD, patients often have additional traumatic events over the course of their lives. Despite this, little research to date has focused on prevention of PTSD recurrence following a novel traumatic experience. We present three cases of individuals with chronic PTSD who experienced an additional traumatic experience during treatment with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) at VA Providence. Despite expectations to the contrary, TMS appeared to prevent a recurrence or worsening of their PTSD symptoms. We discuss possible neurobiological explanations for these outcomes and implications for possible use of TMS to prevent PTSD following trauma.