Schizophrenia is a disorder of the brain that affects approximately 1% of the world’s population. Symptoms usually consist of auditory hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thoughts and behavior, and impairment of usual social and recreational activities. Most people with schizophrenia will develop symptoms for the first time in their 20’s. Men tend to have an earlier onset than women. The severity can range from mild to completely disabling. The mainstay of treatment currently involves use of antipsychotic medications in combination with psychological and social supports.
Suicide is a complication of schizophrenia in about 10% of patients, and substance abuse occurs in approximately 50%.
TMS is being successfully used to treat some of the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Auditory hallucinations have been shown to be reduced with TMS, and other symptoms such as social withdrawal have been ameliorated as well.
Facts Regarding Schizphrenia
70% of people who suffer from schizophrenia and 15% of people who suffer from mood disorders, such as mania and depression, also suffer from auditory hallucinations.
Auditory Hallucinations consist of the hearing of voices or noises although nothing tangible is in proximity to the person.
Signs include talking to oneself and pausing in between, as well as shouting at people who are not there.
Auditory hallucinations can range from noises such as bangs, whistles, claps, speech, and music. More commonly people hear the voice of one of their family members, friends, a stranger, or even God. The voices can also be thought to originate from such objects such as walls, trees, and shoes.
The subtypes of Schizophrenia are
rTMS and Auditory Hallucinations Schizophrenia
Treatment for AH is conducted on an experimental basis*
Treatment for AH Schizophrenia consists of a minimum of 10 treatment sessions.
Treatment for AH Schizophrenia is a highly targeted treatment and patients may be required to wear a swim-cap on which specific brain mapping takes place.
Slow frequency rTMS over the left temporo-parietal cortex, a region that has shown selective activation during auditory hallucinations, has demonstrated a lasting and significant improvement (Hoffman et al., 2003)
Research trials for AH Schizophrenia have been underway since 1997. At this time, Gellar et al. concluded that 60% of medicated patients with chronic schizophrenia showed some improvement after a single treatment. After two weeks of treatment 70% had moderately or markedly improved.
*At this time, TMS is not FDA-approved for the treatment of Schizophrenia