Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Controlled Trial

Jul 10, 20242 min
Author's Profile picture
Dr. Himanshu Nirvan
Mave Health, ex AIIMS ex Safdarjung
MH RI 2 - tDCS for PTSD Treatment

Author Names:

  • Mohammad Javad Ahmadizadeh, Behavioral Science Research Center, Life Style Institute, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran
  • Mehdi Rezaei, Behavioral Science Research Center, Life Style Institute, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran
  • Paul B. Fitzgerald, Epworth Centre for Innovation in Mental Health, The Epworth Clinic, Camberwell, Victoria, Australia, 3124, and Monash University Central Clinical School, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Published Date: September 24, 2019
  • Source: Brain Research Bulletin

MaveHealth Disclaimer: 

The content provided here is an interpretation of a research paper for educational purposes. It is simplified to make the findings accessible to a general audience. For detailed information, please refer to the original research paper.

Abstract: 

This study aimed to examine the efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for PTSD and its sub-symptoms. In a double-blind, controlled randomized clinical trial, 40 participants with PTSD were randomly assigned to receive either 10 tDCS sessions delivered at 2 mA to the right (cathode) and left (anode) dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) or 10 sham tDCS sessions to the same area.

The results demonstrated a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms, hyper-arousal, negative alterations in cognition and mood, as well as depressive and anxiety symptoms in the active stimulation group compared to the sham group at post-treatment and follow-up.

Key Concepts:

Procedure Highlight - Research Methodology:

  1. Participants: 40 right-handed individuals (26 females, 14 males) with PTSD, recruited from outpatient clinics at the Atieh Clinical Neuroscience Center in Tehran, Iran.
  2. Study Design: Double-blind, sham-controlled, randomized, parallel-group study.
  3. Data Collection: Participants were tested at three points: pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 30 days after the final treatment session.
  4. Analysis: Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS, comparing the active tDCS group to the sham group through multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) and mixed model analysis.

Results - Findings of Research:

  • Reduction in PTSD Symptoms: Significant reduction in PTSD symptoms, hyper-arousal, and negative alterations in cognition and mood in the active tDCS group compared to the sham group.
  • Improvement in Depression and Anxiety: Significant improvement in depressive and anxiety symptoms in the active tDCS group.
  • No Significant Difference in Avoidance Symptoms: No significant difference between active and sham tDCS groups regarding avoidance sub-symptoms at post-test and follow-up.

Discussion and Conclusion: 

The study supports the efficacy of 10 sessions of bilateral DLPFC tDCS delivered at 2 mA for the treatment of PTSD symptoms. Active tDCS showed greater improvements in PTSD severity, hyper-arousal, negative alterations in cognition and mood, as well as depressive and anxiety symptoms compared to sham tDCS.

However, there were no significant differences in avoidance sub-symptoms. These findings suggest that tDCS can be an effective alternative treatment for PTSD, though further research is needed to explore its impact on different PTSD subtypes.

Link to Original Paper: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A randomized, double-blinded, controlled trial

Copyright and License Information: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0). For more information, visit Creative Commons License.

Author's Profile picture
Dr. Himanshu Nirvan
Mave Health, ex AIIMS ex Safdarjung
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