Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, or tDCS, is a form of non-invasive brain stimulation use to increase neural activity in some areas of the brain and reduce activity in other neural locations. It is designed to deliver electrical stimulation to directed areas of the brain using electrodes attached externally to the scalp. It has been tested and used to balance cortical excitability. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation has proven to be a valuable instrument for identifying and studying the connection between the brain and its behavior relative to cognitive, motor, and social functions and values. 

Potentially, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation will be used to modify behavior, precipitate learning, and increase task-related performances. Research on tDCS speculates that the weak electrical impulses can help increase brain function related to specific tasks and help create new neural connections. By administering electrical pulses to the frontal brain, tDCS can be used to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction.

What is Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation used as treatment for?

Primary research for tDCS has been done to show that it has great effect on mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction. More research is currently in action to further determine its efficacy in other disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, aphasia, epilepsy, chronic pain and schizophrenia. 

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation is an approved treatment in UK, Australia, EU, and Mexico for Major Depressive Disorder. In studies on a healthy population, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation has shown to be effective for modulating behavior and increasing learning abilities. The greatest benefits of tDCS have been for depression. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation can be used to increase positive moods. Active stimulation has also been shown positive responses to tDCS treatment over extended applications of medication.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS)

Are there benefits to tDCS? 

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation is non-invasive, relatively easy to administer, and sends low intensity currents which adds greater benefit to this type of neural stimulation. By placing electrodes externally, this tDCS can be administered by the professional clinicians and therapists at Hacienda Paradiso.

Research for Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation has shown its ease of use, weak electrical stimulation, and non-invasive procedure makes it an appropriate candidate for the treatment of additional disorders. 

There have been some noted minor side effects affecting the areas where electrodes have been placed, including itchiness, redness, and tingling. An additional side effect that has been documented is moderate fatigue. Most side effects disappear immediately after stimulation has ended.

Types of Stimulation

There are two types of tDCS stimulation, anodal and cathodal. Anodal stimulation acts to excite activity in targeted areas of the brain. Cathodal stimulation is an inhibitor that can be used to reduce certain neural activity.

Electrodes are placed on different parts of the scalp associated with different areas of the brain. Typically, two electrodes are placed “bihemispherically” to stimulate one part of the brain and dissuade the other area, working in parallel cortices. 

Anodal stimulation has been shown to enhance positive facial recognition and a decrease in negative aggressive behavior and may have faster reaction times. It has also been connected to executive cognitive functions and tasks, and higher-level cognitive functions. Cathodal stimulation has been noted to improve automatic learning functions of the brain by suppressing specific memory activity.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) vs Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS)

Much like tDCS, Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation uses electrical pulses to stimulate areas of the brain. Instead of using electrodes in specific areas on the scalp, tACS uses a larger electrode to send alternating electrical synapses. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation has been shown to reduce neural activity after stimulation has ended, whereas, Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation has shown results during stimulation.

tACS can also be used to treat a variety of different conditions like Alzheimer’s, depression, and schizophrenia, similar to tDCS, but further research is necessary to continue validating the stimulation’s results. 

Positive benefits in behavior modification

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation is a non-invasive option for brain stimulation that could have positive benefits in behavior modification. Current studies have shown positive improvements with minor risk for adverse side effects beyond irritation from electrode placement. The placement of electrodes will be an essential part of determining which parts of the brain will be stimulated and which disorders will be able to be treated.

As a revitalized study of an older technology, observations on Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation are being noted about the possibility of therapeutic benefits for a number of disorders. The relatively low risks make the benefits of enhanced stabilized moods, improved cognitive processes, and reduced negative neural paths even greater. While some research and applications of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation is still investigational, depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction have seen the most benefit and advancement.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health concerns or addiction, contact our friendly therapeutic team for more information on the range of affordable treatments available at Hacienda Paradiso.