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Can TMS Therapy Help Patients Recover From Addiction?

A Towson psychiatrist examines the effects that TMS therapy might have on people struggling with addiction.

Becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol can cause serious physical and mental health problems for you down the road. It may also end up damaging your relationship with others. Addiction typically stems from a chronic disease affecting your brain’s reward, motivation, and memory functions. 

Millions of Americans struggle with addiction. However, this condition is still widely stigmatized and misunderstood. Some people think that patients struggling with addiction can stop anytime they want, and simply lack the willpower to do so. Others believe that only criminals or lazy people can become addicted to drugs or alcohol. In the long run, these myths and stereotypes can make it difficult for people struggling with addiction to find the help they need. 

The road to recovery can be long and difficult. But TMS therapy offers many of these patients hope, as well as a chance for a better life. In our latest blog post, a Towson psychiatrist offers an overview of addiction along with a rundown on various treatment options available for people dealing with addiction. 

Substance Abuse and Addiction

A Towson psychiatrist reviews common causes and signs of addiction in patients.

Cigarette in Male Hand With a Cup of Coffee
Addiction doesn’t occur from a moral or personal failing. Rather, this illness traces its roots back to the biology of the brain. 


Before we go over different services for addiction recovery, we need to understand the causes and signs of addiction. It’s important to get rid of any stereotypes or misconceptions about addiction that we might accidentally be holding ourselves. 

To start, addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a disease. The American Society of Addiction Medicine describes it as a “primary chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” So, contrary to some myths, addiction is not caused by a moral or personal failing.

Right now, medical professionals have not yet found a direct cause of substance use disorder in individuals. However, these factors can increase one’s risk of developing substance use disorder:

  • Genetics
  • Co-occuring mental health disorders like depression or PTSD
  • Low self-esteem

Stages of Addiction

The road to substance abuse typically starts with experimental use. Someone might cocaine or PCP or some other drug as an experiment or because their friends pressured them into trying it. If they continue to use the drug on a regular basis, they may begin to rely on it to fix negative feelings. Behavior changes like a loss in motivation or a deeper dependence on the drug may also occur down the road until they become addicted. When they are addicted, they cannot live a regular, functioning life without the drug. 

Other signs of addiction may include:

  • Becoming more tolerant of the substance after continued use
  • Spending a great deal of time thinking about the drug and how they can get more of it
  • Losing interest in hobbies or activities they were once passionate about
  • Hiding drug use
  • Borrowing or stealing money in order to purchase more drugs

Common Treatment Options for Addiction

Patients struggling with addiction typically attend counseling sessions and join support groups.

Addictive substances, including alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
The road to recovery can be long and difficult.


Recovering from addiction can be a long and difficult process. But it is possible to find a treatment that successfully helps you through this challenging process. Some common treatments for addiction include:

  • Detox program to get rid of substance in a safe environment
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for identifying triggers and develop healthy coping mechanisms
  • Medication to help reduce cravings and addictive behaviors
  • Self-help groups for boosting motivation and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Residential treatment facilities to help patients recover in a monitored environment

TMS Therapy for Addiction

How TMS therapy can help people struggling with addiction.

business man smoking sitting on a street sidewalk
TMS is typically used to treat depression or OCD. But it may be used to treat addiction in the future.


Treatment centers are also starting to offer TMS therapy for people recovering from addiction. This FDA-approved treatment helps patients by sending magnetic pulses toward their brains in an effort to encourage structural changes. 

Each session lasts around 40 to 60 minutes. This innovative therapy is non-invasive and can be administered while the patient is still awake. Unlike certain medications, TMS causes little-to-no side effects. 

However, patients will need to attend a therapy session almost every day for several weeks. This usually lasts from six to eight weeks in total. If you’re interested in trying TMS therapy for your addiction treatment, you should contact your physician to see if it’s a good fit.


Addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s life. But there is hope out there for people who struggle with substance abuse or addiction. Our Towson psychiatrists at the Psych Associates of Maryland are equipped and ready to help you or anyone else you know who may be struggling with addiction. We specialize in TMS therapy, psychotherapy, and other behavioral health services to help you get back to feeling like yourself. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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