Review of the effectiveness of transcranial magnetic stimulation for post-traumatic stress disorder

Brain Stimul. 2014 Mar-Apr;7(2):151-7. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2013.10.006. Epub 2013 Oct 31.


Background: 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.

Objective: Review effectiveness of TMS for PTSD.

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

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

Keywords: Post-traumatic stress disorder; Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; Transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome