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Neurostimulation - tDCS

What is Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) ?

tDCS is a brain stimulation technique that uses constant, low intensity, (mostly used 1.5–3 mA) unidirectional electrical current delivered through electrodes placed on the scalp to subtly modify brain activity. The aim is to modify cortical excitability and activity in key brain areas, and it is thought to work by the depolarisation (less negative charge in cells) and hyperpolarisation (more positive charge) of cortical neurons.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive and safe brain modulation technique with promising therapeutic effects on many psychiatric disorders.

The mechanisms of cortical modulation by tDCS may involve various activities in neuronal networks such as increasing glutamine and glutamate under the stimulating electrode, effects on the μ-opioid receptor, and restoration of the defective intracortical inhibition.

TDCS transcranial electrical stimulator

FAQ answers for tDCS

tDCS needs individual setting for your brain based on wide range of variables. Your treating specialist will optimise treatment for you by exacting

  • stimulation site
  • frequency and spacing of treatment sessions
  • selecting the size of electrode,
  • selecting the number of electrodes
  • deciding stimulation intensity
  • duration and waveform

tDCS is typically applied for 20-30 minutes each session, with several sessions scheduled each week for 2-6 weeks. Your treating specialist will guide you about deciding number of sessions and frequency/week.


You are completely alert and conscious throughout the procedure.

Evidence of efficacy suggests that tDCS more suitable for individuals with non-treatment resistant depression. Further evidence came from recent randomised controlled trials of tDCS involving a placebo-control (sham stimulation) and results indicted tDCS has meaningful efficacy in treating depression, particularly depression that is not highly treatment resistant.

Your treating specialist will discuss with you anodal stimulation to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, given at a low intensity (1–2 milliampere). Generally, the duration of treatment is for 20-30 minutes, daily during the week for 2- 4 weeks

Most medication for ADHD is associated with side effects and with low efficacy so that about one third of the adults do not respond to these treatments. tDCS has promising therapeutic effects on ADHD symptoms.

Anodal tDCS seems to be more effective than cathodal in ADHD. The tDCS can improve inhibitory control and improvement of neuropsychological deficits i.e., inhibitory control (IC) and Woking Memory, (WM).

Your treating specialist will discuss appropriate sites of stimulation which could be frontal cortex, left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and/or right inferior frontal gyrus.

There are studies which indicates use of tDCS to treat auditory verbal hallucinations, negative symptoms and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia produced therapeutic gains. To date, all studies have been conducted in relatively small samples (N≤30) and therefor more studies needed in this area.  

Patients who used tDCS reported better and satisfying sleep pattern with regular treatment. Most hypnotics are habit forming or addictive. tDCS is non-invasive, non-addictive therefore emerging as a first line treatment for sleep disorders.

Neuropathic pain (NP) is one of the most common problems contributing to suffering and disability worldwide. Most patients like tDCS as a treatment modality and finds benefits with brain stimulation. Studies indicate that the analgesic benefits of tDCS can occur both during stimulation and beyond the time of stimulation.