Recent studies are showing the potential of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as a safe, cost-effective treatment for alcoholism and other substance use disorders. The studies suggest that repetitive use of TMS on the frontal brain regions may lead to substantial changes in addictive behaviors.
TMS is a noninvasive method used to deliver electric field pulses to the brain. A magnetic coil is held over the scalp and the magnetic fields pass through the skull into brain tissue. How TMS causes these long-term neurophysiological changes is not fully understood. TMS is currently used for treatment-resistant depression.