Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) has demonstrated preliminary antidepressant effects and beneficial effects on cognitive function.
We investigated the feasibility and acceptability of using tDCS to enhance the effects of computer‐based CBT for treatment of MDD.
Materials and Methods
In a randomized, double‐blind, sham‐controlled study, 14 patients with MDD on stable or no pharmacotherapy received active or sham bifrontal tDCS for four weeks with concurrent CBT.
Ten participants completed the protocol. Three withdrew from the study because of lack of efficacy or dislike of the eCBT program. One was discontinued from the protocol by the investigators. Treatment was well tolerated, and most side‐effects were mild and consistent with prior tDCS research. Pooled data from both groups showed significant baseline to endpoint improvement in depression (p = 0.008). Overall percent change on the HAMD‐21 was 28.98%. The study was underpowered to detect differences in tDCS treatment groups.
Combining tDCS with computer‐based CBT is feasible for MDD. Further work is needed to evaluate potential synergistic effects of combined tDCS and CBT.
Depression, transcranial direct current stimulation, cognitive behavior therapy
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.