Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) to Treat Social Anciety Disorder: Case Reports and a Review of the Literature.

F. Paes, T. Baczynski, F. Novaes, T. Marinho, O. Arias-Carrión, H. Budde, A.T. Sack, J.P. Huston, L.F. Almada, M. Carta, A.C. Silva, A.E. Nardi, S. Machado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a common and debilitating anxiety disorders. However, few studies had been dedicated to the neurobiology underlying SAD until the last decade. Rates of non-responders to standard methods of treatment remain unsatisfactorily high of approximately 25%, including SAD. Advances in our understanding of SAD could lead to new treatment strategies. A potential non invasive therapeutic option is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Thus, we reported two cases of SAD treated with rTMS Methods: The bibliographical search used Pubmed/Medline, ISI Web of Knowledge and Scielo databases. The terms chosen for the search were: anxiety disorders, neuroimaging, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.In most of the studies conducted on anxiety disorders, except SAD, the right prefrontal cortex (PFC), more specifically dorsolateral PFC was stimulated, with marked results when applying high-rTMS compared with studies stimulating the opposite side. However, according to the "valence hypothesis", anxiety disorders might be characterized by an interhemispheric imbalance associated with increased right-hemispheric activity. With regard to the two cases treated with rTMS, we found a decrease in BDI, BAI and LSAS scores from baseline to follow-up.We hypothesize that the application of low-rTMS over the right medial PFC (mPFC; the main structure involved in SAD circuitry) combined with high-rTMS over the left mPFC, for at least 4 weeks on consecutive weekdays, may induce a balance in brain activity, opening an attractive therapeutic option for the treatment of SAD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-188
JournalClinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health
Early online date31 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2013

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