Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan
Psikiyatrist

Treatment of Cocaine Addiction with dTMS

Like other types of addiction, cocaine addiction also causes many negative effects on the person. While the use of cocaine causes vasoconstriction, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, anxiety, loss of appetite, damage in nasal passage and bleeding in nose in the short run, it leads to a anxiety disorders like depressive mood, stress, uneasiness, loss of motivation, sleep disorders, panic attacks, along with damages in bronchi and lungs, migraine-like aches, epileptic episodes, paralysis, coronary vein embolism, arrhythmia, paranoia and hallucinations in the long run.

Moreover, while it causes an increase in sexual arousal in the short term, it leads to a lack of sexual appetite and impotence after a long-term use. On the other hand, loss of job due to the decrease in the attendance to work, in addition to social effects like the problems in marriage and relationships, and financial problems also occur. The relatives of the person recognize the personality changes developing with the increased paranoia and anger.

Cocaine addiction can be effectively treated through vital regulations aimed at increasing the possibility of soberness in the long run with the treatment programs, in which the purification, pharmacological treatment and addiction therapy are used simultaneously. Purification through inpatient treatment, and purification by rehabilitation or ambulatory treatment are the methods of treatment implemented the most today. Deep TMS, however, is one of the newest methods used in the treatment of cocaine addiction.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation/excitation (TMS) stands for the magnetic field created by the electric current occurring along a coil wrapped around scalp or skull and is a harmless method capable of measuring the neural transmission, activation and inhibition in the cerebral cortex. Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) is another type of TMS and is capable of stimulating the deeper parts of the brain via electromagnetic currents.

Treatment of Cocaine Addiction with dTMS

Two studies carried out in Italy put forward that the dTMS is a promising method of treatment regarding the treatment of cocaine addiction. The method implemented in the studies included a total of 12 treatment sessions, which lasted for 4 weeks when implemented 3 times a week, in order to stimulate the prefrontal cortex bilaterally at high frequencies.

The initial study organized by Dr. Paolo Girardi and published on the Neuroscience Letters journal was carried out with 7 cocaine addicts. The treatment was implemented with the drugs, the methods of administration and doses of which were not changed and which do not provide developments in terms of recovery in the addicts, at least 1 month prior to the application of the dTMS. The desire to use cocaine was assessed through the surveys made prior to the treatment, once a week during the treatment, and 1 month following the completion of the treatment.

The findings of the study revealed that the levels of the desire to use cocaine showed a meaningful decrease compared to the measurements made in weeks 2 and 4 following the commencement of the application. Based on the result of the study and the follow-up checks, the decline in the desire to use cocaine was statistically meaningful.

The researchers reached a conclusion that the treatment was effective in reducing the desire to use cocaine and suggested that the post-treatment follow-up treatment would be able to preserve the positive results of the dTMS.

The second study carried out by Dr. Marco Diana and published on the Frontiers Psychiatry journal was implemented on 10 cocaine addicts. The addicts were divided into two treatment group realized in real and fake titles. In order to determine the amounts of cocaine use, hair samples were collected from the participants before the treatment, after each session and after 3 and 6 months that include the follow-up protocol. The amounts of use were determined based on the cocaine level observed following the hair sample analyses.

The research results showed that the amount of cocaine use by the experimental group decreased statistically compared to the pre-treatment measurements. In fact, this decrease was also observed during the follow-up sessions of the participants that took place 3 and 6 months after the treatment.

Both research groups decided that the improvements obtained in the desire to use cocaine that occurred following the treatment and in the level of consumption were encouraging, and that the dTMS showed its potential to treat cocaine addiction.

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