What to Do About Depression: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation?

by | Mar 18, 2012

“Most of the people who went into this trial had tried at least two other antidepressant treatments and got nowhere…we weren’t dealing with people who were easy to treat.”

Those are the words of Colleen Loo, MD, professor at the University of New South Wales (Australia) School of Psychiatry. She led a team of researchers from her school and the Black Dog Institute (great name – here’s why), and they’ve come up with some fascinating results.

Their study was the largest, and most definitive, on transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). And they’re telling us it’s a safe and effective treatment for depression. Fact is, post-treatment, some 50% of their participants experienced substantial relief.

What the Heck is transcranial Direct Current Stimulation?

If you’re living with depression, I think you’ll find tDCS an interesting and hopeful proposition. Simply, it’s a non-invasive form of brain stimulation that passes a weak electrical current into the front of the brain through electrodes on the scalp. The recipient remains awake and alert during the procedure.

The action of tDCS works toward facilitating changes in the functioning of neurons in the brain’s cortex. Cool thing is, the changes continue after an application session – and that’s an important component of the treatment.

Now, we’ve discussed neuroplasticity here on chipur numerous times. It’s a miraculous neural compensatory process based in this observation: “neurons that fire together, wire together.” Neuroplasticity may well be at the very foundation of tDCS’s efficacy.

Let’s sidestep some potential confusion by noting what tDCS is not

Hey, be sure to check-out those links – they’ll take you to super-informative chipur articles.

The Workings/Results of the tDCS Study

Okay, let’s get into some of the guts of the study – and results. The research team recruited 64 participants who’d not realized positive results from two previous treatments for depression. They were administered either a real or “placebo” tDCS for 20 minutes a day – for up to six weeks.

As I mentioned earlier, some 50% of the participants enjoyed big-time relief. What’s more, the benefits after six weeks were better than what was experienced at the three week mark. And that suggests tDCS treatment applied over an extended period of time brings primo results.

Oh, and how ’bout this bit of frosting on the cake? The study participants who found relief were offered weekly “booster treatments.” Some 85% showed no relapse after three months.

Here are some noteworthy comments from the infamous Dr. Loo…

Most of the people who went into this trial had tried at least two other antidepressant treatments and got nowhere. So the results are far more significant than they might initially appear – we weren’t dealing with people who were easy to treat.

These results demonstrate that multiple tDCS sessions are safe and not associated with any adverse cognitive outcomes over time.

She also states the addition of tDCS to a treatment regimen is simple and cost effective to deliver, requiring a short visit to a clinic.

By the way, the study turned up additional – unexpected – physical and mental perks. Included are improved attention and information processing, and chronic pain relief. In prepping for the article, I’d also read tDCS may work well for presentations of anxiety.

Well, more to come from Dr. Loo and team, as they’re looking into yet another tDCS trial featuring bipolarity. And they’re doing that because? Very early results from assorted clinical work suggests it’ll be a fit.

It’s a Wrap

If you’re living with depression or wondering just what to do about depression, I want chipur to be a reliable resource for you. And that’s why I search the very ends of the earth for cool stuff to bring your way.

transcranial Direct Current Stimulation sure seems like a worthy alternative for someone struggling with depression. If you weren’t aware of it, now you are – my mission accomplished.

Be sure to do some diggin’ on your end for more info on tDCS. Perhaps you can begin by checking-out transcranialbrainstimulation.com.

And while we’re on the subject of depression treatment, how ’bout a word to the wise? If you’re suffering from depression and using illegal substances to feel better, you really need to quit doing drugs and seek the help you deserve. Be sure to check-out the link, okay?

As always, I’m on your side!

Thanks to medicalnewstoday for the resource info.

More chipur articles on meds, supplements, and devices for the treatment of the mood and anxiety disorders? Tap right here.

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