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TMS For Psychosis: Halting Hallucinations and Delusions at Once

November 9, 2020

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Psychosis is a very serious condition, and sadly many people suffer from it, over 200,000 to be exact. Someone with this mental disorder can feel as though they are disconnected from society and make their brain think things that they shouldn’t and it makes them process information differently. Hallucinations and delusions are no joke when it comes to psychosis, and it can be a very debilitating condition to try to live with, and even more challenging to overcome.


With the power of transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS for short, a non-invasive treatment that helps with many brain related issues, has proven to help people with psychosis. By giving them a sense of reality outside of their condition, TMS helps to relieve negative symptoms that are associated with this condition to help make for a better life for the people that are affected by it. TMS has helped many people, and studies show that it now helps people suffering from psychosis as well.


Continue reading this article to find out:

  • What is Psychosis?
  • What are the Symptoms of Psychosis?
  • Are Psychosis and Schizophrenia the Same?
  • What is TMS?
  • Powerful Life Changing Results on Real Psychosis Patients
  • The Future for TMS on Psychosis

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis can be characterized as lots of different things, but when it comes down to it, it’s a condition that alters the way that your brain processes information. It is not a condition in itself, but a symptom of a preexisting condition that someone may have from previous trauma, extreme stress, or even substance abuse. Psychosis can also come from bipolar disorder, stress and anxiety, severe depression, and even from a lack of sleep. 


Someone with psychosis will often think of things that aren’t real. Their thoughts and perceptions of life will often take over so they lose touch of reality. They could possibly see things that aren’t real, hear things no one else can hear, and there is just an overall disrupt in what the person knows is real or what isn’t. It is a very challenging and troubling condition to be diagnosed with and will often disrupt their lives psychologically, socially, and even financially by being unable to hold a job.

shadow following boy
Psychosis is a common condition that affects over 200,000 individuals that can suffer from hallucinations, delusions, and feel out of touch with reality. Image courtesy of UNC Health Talk. 


What are the Symptoms of Psychosis?

There are lots of symptoms that someone can have or experience if they are diagnosed with psychosis. There are three different kinds of signs or symptoms to see if someone is or will be ultimately diagnosed with psychosis. Psychosis has the ability to show many different signs that someone can experience even before they are diagnosed with the debilitating condition and then there are the symptoms that people have when they are diagnosed with early psychosis, then symptoms when someone is having a psychotic episode.

Signs Before Developing Psychosis

Psychosis has shown to provide early signs of the condition that parents, or loved ones can catch right off the bat to see if something is wrong and if someone should be tested for psychosis. Some of these signs can include a significant drop in grades, lacking emotion or even being too emotional in minor situations, trouble concentrating, lack of self care for oneself, and enjoying spending time alone.

Early Symptoms of Psychosis

Then there are early signs of psychosis, which are symptoms when someone has been diagnosed with the condition and symptoms they will experience while having it. For example, someone might be able to taste, hear, or see things that others don't, have troubling thoughts that they believe are true or right while others say the opposite, distancing themselves from friends and/or family, not being able to pay attention, and even just stopping good hygiene and taking care of themselves in general.  

Symptoms of a Psychotic Episode

There are also signs of extreme psychosis, which can result in a psychotic episode. Psychotic episodes are characterized as hallucinations, or even delusions that someone can experience along with the early symptom as well. 


There are three different kinds of hallucinations that someone can experience including auditory, tactile, or visual hallucinations. Auditory is when someone is able to hear something no one else can, tactile is feeling a way that someone is unable to describe, or even feeling strange sensations, and visual is being able to see things that aren’t there or seeing shapes of objects that look wrong. 


When it comes to delusions, it is more of the thought process of the individual that is different compared to being able to hear, feel, or see things differently. Delusions can be a belief or thought that the person with psychosis thinks is right, although someone else thinks completely differently. It is something that only makes sense to the person suffering from psychosis and it can be feeling like outside forces are in control of their feelings or actions, or that minor events or even comments that people make have a huge impact on the person. Someone can also feel that they are a god, on a mission that only they can complete, or that they have obtained special powers that no one else has.

symptoms of psychosis
Symptoms of psychosis range from signs of development of psychosis, early symptoms, to more extreme symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. Image courtesy of Manas Hospital. 

Are Psychosis and Schizophrenia the Same?

Psychosis and schizophrenia are often classified together because of how similar the symptoms are between the two. When it comes down to it, they are two completely different things. Psychosis is a symptom of a preexisting condition where hallucinations and delusions often come along with it, but schizophrenia is a more serious condition where psychosis results as a symptom that comes along with it. 

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is classified as a serious mental condition that is known to cause psychosis, but can also be caused by many other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, depression, dementia, and even borderline personality disorder. This condition is completely treatable, and it is known for being misunderstood because people believe people with schizophrenia are dangerous, or that they don’t deserve any rights because they aren’t in the right headspace. It is often known that people who suffer from schizophrenia are scared to reach out for help because they are afraid of what people may think of them and that the treatments and help won’t work.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

There are a lot of common symptoms of schizophrenia that seem similar to psychosis, but it is only because someone can experience it while having schizophrenia. This mental illness contains symptoms such as hearing other voices in their head, being convinced that they are being followed, feeling as if they are floating and not in their own body, getting confused easily, thoughts take a long time to form, and even the thought of suicide. 


There are also positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. The positive symptoms are symptoms that add to the illness, such as psychosis and experiencing hallucinations, delusions, or even having strange or unsettling thoughts. The negative symptoms take away from the illness, such as losing interest in things someone loves, losing concentration, or even showing a lack of emotion.

schizophrenia brain
Psychosis and schizophrenia are very common, but psychosis can only appear as a result of schizophrenia. It is not an illness all in itself. Image courtesy of History Collection. 

What is TMS?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS for short, is a revolutionary non-invasive, FDA approved treatment that helps to eliminate symptoms of depression, PTSD, OCD, and other brain related issues. Instead of taking medication for these specific brain conditions, this treatment is one-of-a-kind because it doesn’t require anything but electromagnetic pulses that are distributed at the part of the brain where the issue is located to help someone have less severe symptoms, or even go into remission. 


These electromagnetic pulses stimulate the part of the brain affected to help boost someone’s mood and even regulate it. This encourages your brain to form new neural connections to be able to overcome depression, anxiety, or any type of brain related issue someone could be suffering from. Over 50 percent of patients that undergo TMS treatments go into remission and seven out of ten patients respond to the treatments and have alleviated symptoms whether it’s long term, or not.

Are There Any Side Effects to TMS Treatments?

Although TMS is a safe treatment to undergo, it does come with some side effects that range from minor to major. The good thing is that the major side effects are very rare and not many people will ever have to worry about them. TMS is a safe treatment that is worth going through with if you are qualified and if it is deemed safe for you by your doctor.


The minor side effects that are typical after having a TMS treatment are headaches, discomfort at the site of the stimulation, lightheadedness, and even tingling, or spasms in someone’s facial muscles. All of these side effects will go away after some time and doctors recommend taking over-the-counter medication if it becomes uncomfortable for you.


Some of the major side effects, which are very rare, but can still occur are seizures, mania, which is most common in patients with bipolar disorder, and even hearing loss because of improper ear protection during treatment. If you decide to undergo a TMS treatment, it is unlikely that you will experience any of these symptoms, but it is also necessary for you to undergo a physical exam and even a psychiatric evaluation by your doctor to make sure that you are qualified for TMS treatments.

tms treatment
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a revolutional, non-invasive treatment that is known for relieving symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. Image courtesy of Serenity Mental Health Centers.  

Powerful Life Changing Results on Real Psychosis Patients

There have been studies of TMS treatments working wonders on people suffering from psychosis. In a study done by researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, they wanted to know if people that suffered from psychosis would be able to experience a better life through TMS treatments and the results were positive.


Researcher Mark Palko used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the 44 brains of the psychosis patients who participated to figure out if they suffered more from positive symptoms, or negative symptoms of psychosis. Once they concluded that eleven patients suffered from negative symptoms, they decided to go through with the TMS treatments.


Some of the group received sham TMS treatments, or placebo treatments, while the other part of the group experienced the real TMS procedure twice a day over a four hour period for five consecutive days. Once the results came back, it was determined that many of the patients received positive results, such as the severity of their symptoms decreasing drastically. With relieving common symptoms of psychosis, the people during this experiment were able to show significant signs of remission.

psychosis brain
TMS has proven to help people with psychosis to be able to alleviate the symptoms of it to live a normal, and better life. Image courtesy of Psych Central. 

The Future of TMS on Psychosis

Although psychosis is a major problem among 200,000 people within the United States, there has not been enough research done on the effects of TMS on psychosis for it to be approved by the FDA. We have seen major positive impacts on the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center experiment, but not enough to count psychosis as a reason to undergo TMS treatments.


Since the FDA has only approved the use of TMS on depression, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD, with more research and experimentation on how the procedure affects people suffering from psychosis, it is believed that in no time, TMS can help not only psychosis patients, but many other people that suffer from almost any other brain related issue to go into remission, and live a long happy life. TMS has become a revolutionary treatment and has continued to help many people suffering from many different brain related conditions, and we hope to see psychosis be added to the list in the near future.


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