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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I stumbled on this while researching the efficacy of this treatment. Full warnings of the risks are not provided by those offering TMS. I am not going to try TMS after all, and if you're considering it, you need to know this first.

 

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While I think the writer of that article was essentially correct in his assessments, I found it at the same time to be a bit naive.

The claim that psychiatric interventions—from SSRI’s to stimulants to antipsychotics to ECT to TMS—are damaging to the structural or functional integrity of the body is, in my view, not just valid; it is self-evident. Some might be very damaging, others less so.

The writer of that article seems perplexed that, although many people were “harmed” by TMS (and ECT), others were “healed” by them, so he sought to explain that difference in response by resorting to hypothesizing how different neural pathways for an electrical current to pass through the brain can make the difference between healing and destroying. But the thing that this writer fails to understand is that “feeling good” is not the same as “being in good health.” This is something that the psychiatric profession as a whole is either astonishingly naive about, or they are being intentionally deceptive.
 

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While I think the writer of that article was essentially correct in his assessments, I found it at the same time to be a bit naive.

The claim that psychiatric interventions—from SSRI’s to stimulants to antipsychotics to ECT to TMS—are damaging to the structural or functional integrity of the body is, in my view, not just valid; it is self-evident. Some might be very damaging, others less so.

The writer of that article seems perplexed that, although many people were “harmed” by TMS (and ECT), others were “healed” by them, so he sought to explain that difference in response by resorting to hypothesizing how different neural pathways for an electrical current to pass through the brain can make the difference between healing and destroying. But the thing that this writer fails to understand is that “feeling good” is not the same as “being in good health.” This is something that the psychiatric profession as a whole is either astonishingly naive about, or they are being intentionally deceptive.
I don't think I would do TMS, because of the uncertainty attached to any treatment, and any chance of having permanent damage is something I would want to postpone until I have zero other chance, or maybe I would never even do it.
But you are right, there are several problems in his article. The fact that he bases his observations on an undefined number of people, or like the observation on sciatica on only one person. This is really not reliable. Having a sciatica "without a known cause" doesn't mean that it is caused by the treatment, unless you compare to how many other people have sciatica with unknown causes who didn't take the treatment, and even then it is still one person only. Any large lack of rigorousness like that casts a lot of doubt on someone's conclusions for me. Same with the fact that he assumes people who said they went better were probably in denial. That's too easy.
But that doesn't mean he is wrong, just that what he says should be taken with caution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did 5 sessions of TMS, fucked me up. Felt way worse, but I don't think it did any permanent damage. At least I hope.
From what I've read, some people get worse before they get better, and some are just permanently damaged. Some develop temporary damage that they recover from, and some get worse and worse as time goes on, even after they stop.

TMS is a crapshoot and not worth the substantial risks it poses imo. The fact that you have to go digging for these risks is a red flag too. TMS providers actively lie about how safe the procedure is and what side-effects to expect. There's no warning that severe injuries can occur and therefore no informed consent.

Because there's no acknowledgement or study of the severe injuries, we don't know how common they are. But there is a group for the injured on Facebook with 2.4K members, which suggests they're not a super rare occurrence.

In any case, any benefits of TMS tend to be temporary and the treatment is hugely expensive. The kinds of risks it poses might make it not a great gamble anyway, but taking them for a temporary improvement makes it a much poorer one.
 

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TMS is a crapshoot and not worth the substantial risks it poses imo. The fact that you have to go digging for these risks is a red flag too. TMS providers actively lie about how safe the procedure is and what side-effects to expect. There's no warning that severe injuries can occur and therefore no informed consent.
I both agree and disagree with what you are saying here (as I do with just about everything that is written on this site, lol).

When you say that TMS providers actively lie about the risks and side effects of the procedure, you are somewhat contradicting what you said just one sentence prior. After all, the fact that you had to search far and wide to uncover the risks suggests that providers might also not be aware of the risk. Or, perhaps more likely, they consider those claims of risk to be anecdotal and not the result of rigorous scientific research, and so they ignore them.

Because psychiatry in particular, and to a lesser extent, medicine in general, has always operated under the principe that, while their treatments must be demonstrated to be effective prior to being offered to the public, their safety is assumed until rigorous scientific studies prove otherwise. This is exactly backward in my view, but it is also necessary for psychiatry in particular to be able to produce and market any of their organic treatments.

As we were developing our neuroimaging technology, psychiatric researchers began using that technology to see if they couldn’t find the cause of mental illnesses, especially schizophrenia, in the brain. And they did discover several areas of what they were then interpreting as brain damage in schizophrenics that were not present in the control participants. They had hailed these findings as definitive proof that schizophrenia is a brain disease. Until somebody came around and noticed a serious flaw in these studies: they did not control for antipsychotic drug use. Because the standard treatment for schizophrenia was (and still is, I think) to place the patient on APs after a first psychotic episode, which is often expected to take for life, so most of them had been on heavy duty meds for several years. Now, how you can call yourself a serious scientific researcher and neglect to control for such an obvious variable is beyond my comprehension, but to their credit, they acknowledged their error and performed those studies again, and could not replicate the findings of the originals. So, disappointed, they went back to the drawing board in their search for the neurological underpinnings of schizophrenia.

But those studies do suggest something else, don’t they? After all, if the relevant variable was not the diagnosis of schizophrenia, but rather AP drug use, and since they were interpreting those differences in the brain as lesions, that strongly suggests that APs cause significant brain damage, right? They never followed up on that line of inquiry.

It is very easy to claim that these interventions are not harmful to the body when you fail to perform the good science that might demonstrate that harm. While I think that your skepticism of TMS is warranted, I would encourage you (and others in this group) to apply that skepticism universally. I’m not saying don’t use these treatments, and I’m definitely not encouraging people to quit them cold turkey. Because you might assess that the inevitable damage to your body is worth it if your life improves greatly with the treatment. What I am encouraging here is that we adopt the attitude of: caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware. Do your research of course, but also try as best you can to understand the nature of your own unique problem, whatever it may be, so you can make rational and informed choices about which treatments, if any, might be likely to help ameliorate your problem and are worth your time, energy, money, or health for experimentation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I both agree and disagree with what you are saying here (as I do with just about everything that is written on this site, lol).

When you say that TMS providers actively lie about the risks and side effects of the procedure, you are somewhat contradicting what you said just one sentence prior. After all, the fact that you had to search far and wide to uncover the risks suggests that providers might also not be aware of the risk. Or, perhaps more likely, they consider those claims of risk to be anecdotal and not the result of rigorous scientific research, and so they ignore them.

Because psychiatry in particular, and to a lesser extent, medicine in general, has always operated under the principe that, while their treatments must be demonstrated to be effective prior to being offered to the public, their safety is assumed until rigorous scientific studies prove otherwise. This is exactly backward in my view, but it is also necessary for psychiatry in particular to be able to produce and market any of their organic treatments.

As we were developing our neuroimaging technology, psychiatric researchers began using that technology to see if they couldn’t find the cause of mental illnesses, especially schizophrenia, in the brain. And they did discover several areas of what they were then interpreting as brain damage in schizophrenics that were not present in the control participants. They had hailed these findings as definitive proof that schizophrenia is a brain disease. Until somebody came around and noticed a serious flaw in these studies: they did not control for antipsychotic drug use. Because the standard treatment for schizophrenia was (and still is, I think) to place the patient on APs after a first psychotic episode, which is often expected to take for life, so most of them had been on heavy duty meds for several years. Now, how you can call yourself a serious scientific researcher and neglect to control for such an obvious variable is beyond my comprehension, but to their credit, they acknowledged their error and performed those studies again, and could not replicate the findings of the originals. So, disappointed, they went back to the drawing board in their search for the neurological underpinnings of schizophrenia.

But those studies do suggest something else, don’t they? After all, if the relevant variable was not the diagnosis of schizophrenia, but rather AP drug use, and since they were interpreting those differences in the brain as lesions, that strongly suggests that APs cause significant brain damage, right? They never followed up on that line of inquiry.

It is very easy to claim that these interventions are not harmful to the body when you fail to perform the good science that might demonstrate that harm. While I think that your skepticism of TMS is warranted, I would encourage you (and others in this group) to apply that skepticism universally. I’m not saying don’t use these treatments, and I’m definitely not encouraging people to quit them cold turkey. Because you might assess that the inevitable damage to your body is worth it if your life improves greatly with the treatment. What I am encouraging here is that we adopt the attitude of: caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware. Do your research of course, but also try as best you can to understand the nature of your own unique problem, whatever it may be, so you can make rational and informed choices about which treatments, if any, might be likely to help ameliorate your problem and are worth your time, energy, money, or health for experimentation.
I didn't have to search far and wide. I clicked a google search which was automatically suggested at the bottom of my search for TMS efficacy, which was "TMS ruined my life".

The TMS Reddit forum and Facebook groups contain a fair number of accounts of injury and symptom worsening from TMS. When I spoke to a TMS provider on the phone today (having sent an online enquiry several weeks ago and then been asked to call), he denied that symptoms can get worse. He also named only two kinds of injuries, retina detachment and seizures, saying these were extremely rare (which they are). He said it was otherwise a very safe procedure. There are too many patient accounts of injuries for that to be true.
 

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I didn't have to search far and wide. I clicked a google search which was automatically suggested at the bottom of my search for TMS efficacy, which was "TMS ruined my life".

The TMS Reddit forum and Facebook groups contain a fair number of accounts of injury and symptom worsening from TMS. When I spoke to a TMS provider on the phone today (having sent an online enquiry several weeks ago and then been asked to call), he denied that symptoms can get worse. He also named only two kinds of injuries, retina detachment and seizures, saying these were extremely rare (which they are). He said it was otherwise a very safe procedure. There are too many patient accounts of injuries for that to be true.
I stand corrected on that “search far and wide” comment. But most of what I said still stands, I think. What you have presented to me are claims from people on the internet and elsewhere that they have been harmed by TMS. But most psychiatrists would probably not consider those claims to be “evidence” because they were not borne out in a scientific study, which is modern man’s version of a papal decree.

So the point of my response was to serve as a warning not to just listen to your doctor or healthcare service provider when making these decisions. Try to get a fuller picture of the issue, like you did by talking to others who have experienced both the good and the bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I stand corrected on that “search far and wide” comment. But most of what I said still stands, I think. What you have presented to me are claims from people on the internet and elsewhere that they have been harmed by TMS. But most psychiatrists would probably not consider those claims to be “evidence” because they were not borne out in a scientific study, which is modern man’s version of a papal decree.

So the point of my response was to serve as a warning not to just listen to your doctor or healthcare service provider when making these decisions. Try to get a fuller picture of the issue, like you did by talking to others who have experienced both the good and the bad.
That's of course true and a fair point, but there's still no acknowledgement of these accounts and no research being performed to determine whether TMS causes these symptoms in some clients.
 

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I think both problems do exist. On the one hand, psychiatrists can be biased, and the pharmaceutical industry as well. I can easily understand that they wouldn't want to advertise about the bad effects of their treatments, although I have no evidence that they actively alter data or that a significant fraction of them cheats around regulations.
But the opposite is also true, take lamotrigine for instance. It is a very wide spread medicine and considered relatively safe. Nasty side effects do exist but are very rare. That being said, if you google lamotrigine risks, or Steven-Johnson's syndrom, or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, you will find a lot of people who nearly died because of lamotrigine. You will find a lot of them. But people who have had problems with the medication are much more likely to talk about it on the internet then people who were helped and just moved on with their life. Just like here on the forum we hear more about people who can't recover from DPDR than about those who do, especially if they do so after a short time.
One difference between the two is maybe that in the case of lamotrigine at least they don't claim there is zero risk.
 

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I think both problems do exist. On the one hand, psychiatrists can be biased, and the pharmaceutical industry as well. I can easily understand that they wouldn't want to advertise about the bad effects of their treatments, although I have no evidence that they actively alter data or that a significant fraction of them cheats around regulations.
But the opposite is also true, take lamotrigine for instance. It is a very wide spread medicine and considered relatively safe. Nasty side effects do exist but are very rare. That being said, if you google lamotrigine risks, or Steven-Johnson's syndrom, or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, you will find a lot of people who nearly died because of lamotrigine. You will find a lot of them. But people who have had problems with the medication are much more likely to talk about it on the internet then people who were helped and just moved on with their life. Just like here on the forum we hear more about people who can't recover from DPDR than about those who do, especially if they do so after a short time.
One difference between the two is maybe that in the case of lamotrigine at least they don't claim there is zero risk.
All very good points, and yes, it’s also important to keep in mind the ancient principle that those who are satisfied with a product or service will tell one person, whereas those who are dissatisfied will tell 10 people. Although I’m sure those numbers are exponentially multiplied in the Information Age.
 
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