Review of the Effectiveness of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Ethan F. Karsen
    Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 603 650 5000x3575.
    Department of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA
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  • Bradley V. Watts
    Department of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA

    Department of Psychiatry, Veterans Affairs National Center for Patient Safety, White River Junction, Vermont, USA
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  • Paul E. Holtzheimer
    Department of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA

    Department of Surgery, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA
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Published:November 25, 2013DOI:



      Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition with significant morbidity and limited treatment options. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been shown to be an effective treatment for mental illnesses including major depressive disorder.


      Review effectiveness of TMS for PTSD.


      Literature review with descriptions of primary studies as well as meta-analysis of studies with a control group.


      Eight primary studies were identified and three studies met criteria for meta-analysis. All studies suggest effectiveness of TMS for PTSD. Additionally, right-sided may be more effective than left-sided treatment, there is no clear advantage in high versus low frequency, and the treatment is generally well tolerated. Meta-analysis shows significant effect size on PTSD symptoms that may be correlated with total number of stimulations.


      TMS for PTSD appears to be an effective and well-tolerated treatment that warrants additional study to further define treatment parameters, course, and side effects.


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