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Is TMS FDA-Approved for ADHD?


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Is TMS FDA-Approved for ADHD?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved mental health treatment that targets the physical source of these conditions: the brain’s electrochemistry. In TMS, a medical device is used to apply magnetic pulses to the brain areas related to mood disorders (e.g., prefrontal cortex or amygdala). Different conditions stem from irregularities in different brain regions, but TMS targets only the relevant regions without disrupting normal brain function. TMS is completely non-invasive, which means that the device does not break the skin or enter the body. Treatment typically consists of 4-8 weeks of in-office sessions, depending on the patient’s needs.

TMS devices such as the BrainsWay Deep TMS device have received FDA approval for depression, anxious depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (1,2,3). Many studies have shown TMS to be a safe and effective treatment for ADHD, especially in cases where medication has proved ineffective or intolerable. Let’s take a look at the evidence.

Are you a candidate for TMS?

What Is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition presenting with symptoms such as poor impulse control, difficulty focusing/concentrating, and hyperactivity. It is commonly detected during childhood when children become disruptive in the classroom environment. While this has created an ADHD “problem child” stereotype, many adults also live with the condition. Recent U.S. statistics report ADHD in almost 10% of children and just over 4% of adults, but the latter percentage may be due to underdiagnosis. (4,5) 

Individuals with ADHD may experience higher than normal levels of:

  • Irritability
  • Talkativeness
  • Distractibility
  • Forgetfulness
  • Frustration
  • Racing thoughts
  • Sleep disruption

These symptoms can result in daily struggles with school, work, and personal life. 

Different ADHD Treatments

Treatment for ADHD typically takes the form of behavioral therapy or prescription stimulants such Ritalin or Adderall. But these medications are not effective for everyone, and can cause intolerable side effects such as anxiety, blood pressure irregularities, and stomach problems. In fact, research suggests that traditional ADHD medication is ineffective in 30% of cases. (6)

TMS is a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical alternative to stimulant medication that has shown positive results in ADHD patients of all ages.

Are you ready to try TMS?

TMS for Children and Teenagers With ADHD

A child’s ADHD is commonly detected in a structured social setting such as school, church, or family gatherings, where his or her inattentiveness and/or hyperactivity can be disruptive. In teenagers, ADHD’s difficulty with focusing attention can introduce additional challenges at a crucial time in academic and social development. TMS can help young adults with their focus, time management, and planning skills while reducing stress and irritability. 

Although the use of TMS in pediatrics is relatively new, early trials have shown promising results in stabilizing mood disorders and relieving negative symptoms among children. TMS has been declared safe for children two years and older (7,8). Additionally, research on TMS for teenagers and young adults has shown it to be a safe and effective treatment. (9)

TMS for Adult ADHD

In patients diagnosed as children, ADHD persists into adulthood in an estimated 10-60 percent. (10) Research on TMS for adults shows very positive results, with significant improvements in ability to pay attention (11).

Where Can I Get TMS for ADHD?

TMS is gaining in popularity, and you may be able to find a clinic in your area. At Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry, we offer TMS for ADHD using the BrainsWay Deep TMS device, which has been shown to be a safe and effective ADHD treatment. (12) To make an appointment, contact us online or call (212) 731-2033.

  1. TMS Devices. Clinical TMS Society. https://www.clinicaltmssociety.org/tms/devices. Accessed March 06, 2023. 
  2. Brainsway. FDA Clears BrainsWay Deep TMS™ System for Decreasing Anxiety Symptoms in Depressed Patients. https://www.brainsway.com/news_events/fda-clears-brainsway-deep-tms-system-for-decreasing-anxiety-symptoms-in-depressed-patients/. Accessed March 06, 2023. 
  3. FDA permits marketing of transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. Updated August 17, 2018. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-permits-marketing-transcranial-magnetic-stimulation-treatment-obsessive-compulsive-disorder/. Accessed March 06, 2023. 
  4. Data and Statistics About ADHD. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated August 09, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html. Accessed March 05, 2023. 
  5. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd. Accessed March 05, 2023. 
  6. Biederman J, Spencer T, Wilens T. Evidence-based pharmacotherapy for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2004; 7(1):77-977.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14733627/. Accessed March 05, 2023. 
  7. Paul E. Croarkin, Christopher A. Wall & Jon Lee. Applications of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in child and adolescent psychiatry, International Review of Psychiatry. 2011;23:5, 445-453. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/09540261.2011.623688. Accessed March 07, 2023. 
  8. Rubio B, Boes AD, Laganiere S, Rotenberg A, Jeurissen D, Pascual-Leone A. Noninvasive Brain Stimulation in Pediatric Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Review. J Child Neurol. 2016 May;31(6):784-96. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4833526/. Accessed March 07, 2023. 
  9. Weaver L, Rostain AL, Mace W, Akhtar U, Moss E, O’Reardon JP. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adolescents and young adults: a pilot study.2012;28(2):98-103. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22551775/. Accessed March 07, 2023. 
  10. Gentile JP, Atiq R, Gillig PM. Adult ADHD: Diagnosis, Differential Diagnosis, and Medication Management. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2006 Aug;3(8):25-30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957278/. Accessed March 07, 2023. 
  11. Bloch Y, Harel EV, Aviram S, Govezensky J, Ratzoni G, Levkovitz Y. Positive effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on attention in ADHD Subjects: a randomized controlled pilot study. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Aug;11(5):755-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20521875/. Accessed March 07, 2023.
  12. Brainsway. Deep TMS is found Safe and Effective for the Treatment of ADHD. https://www.brainsway.com/knowledge-center/deep-tms-found-safe-effective-treatment-adhd/. Accessed March 05, 2023.
Dr. Woo has been seeing patients in private practice since 2002, always with the goals of combining evidence-based medicine with psychodynamic psychotherapy and collaborating with other mental health professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for his patients. He has been certified to administer TMS at his practice since 2017. His greatest clinical interests include helping patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.


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