Anxiety disorder is a general term. Some disorders with anxiety symptoms include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Phobia (Specific Phobia)
Tension and stress are the natural reactions of human beings in the face of an unknown or crisis. An appropriate level of pressure will motivate us to strive for the best performance. However, when anxiety becomes beyond control, anxiety is not proportional to the severity of the event, and anxiety persists for a long time which pose adverse effects to their body and daily life, it is possible for us to develop anxiety disorder.
At present, about 4% of people in Hong Kong, that is, about 300,000 people are suffering from anxiety. Patients worry and over-anxious about all kinds of things in life. The causes of anxiety include their health, work, academics, interpersonal relationships and the safety of their family
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
- Physical symptoms: rapid heartbeat, chest pain, blushing, vomiting, suffocation, dizziness, sweating, numbness, muscle pain, restlessness, hands and feet, vomiting, etc.
- Psychological symptoms: extreme panic and anxiety, confusion, temper, aggressive thoughts, impatience, hesitation, anger, fatigue, insomnia, nightmares, etc.
- Behavioral symptoms: avoiding situations where you panic, forcing and repeating behaviors, feeling troubled in social situations, reducing communication, and so on, etc.
Cause of Anxiety
Anxiety is caused by the interaction of physiological, psychological and social factors.
- Physiological factors: imbalance of brain neurotransmitter, genetic inheritance;
- Psychological factors: nervous, fearful personality, childhood trauma or some thinking patterns that easily lead to anxiety
- Social factors : High-pressure environment, social isolation
Common symptoms for phobia or panic:
- Heart palpitations or heart rate
- Trembling or tremble
- Difficult breathing, suffocation
- Chest pain
- Nausea or abdominal discomfort
- Feeling out of control or going crazy
- Feeling numb
- Chilly or face flushing
- Headache, dizziness
Anxiety Disorder and TMS
It is widely believed that anxiety disorders is largely caused by physiological factors. Therefore, TMS can be effectively applied to modulate the brain cells. Clinical research has found that TMS can :
- Effectively improve cortisol secretions
- Reduce anxiety-related cognitive biases
- Reduce patients’ risk aversion tendency
TMS can effectively regulate the activity of neurotransmitters. According to a randomized controlled trial by the American Psychiatric Association, the results of the study showed that more than 70% of patients with anxiety disorders were relieved of symptoms for more than three months after receiving TMS treatment.
Although the current clinical application of TMS in the treatment of anxiety disorders is still experimental, preliminary clinical evidence reflects that TMS has a certain potential effect on anxiety disorder.
Assaf M, Zertuche L, Bragdon LB, et al. Neural correlates of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled clinical trial. Paper presented at: Annual Meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry; May 2014; New York.
Knoch D, Gianotti LR, Pascual-Leone A, et al. Disruption of right prefrontal cortex by low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation induces risk-taking behavior. J Neurosci. 2006;26: 6469-6472.
Vanderhasselt MA, Baeken C, Hendricks M, De Raedt R. The effects of high frequency rTMS on negative attentional bias are influenced by baseline state anxiety. Neuropsychologia. 2011;49:1824-1830.
*Declaration: The application of TMS to anxiety is still experimental. Although some clinical studies have achieved positive results, this clinical application has not yet obtained FDA approval and CE mark.