September 22, 2022Treatment that combines dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may deliver the greatest improvement in cognitive and emotional symptoms of ADHD in adults, according to a new study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders. Researchers investigated the effects of tDCS and DBT alone and together, and found that the combined multimodal treatment worked best at managing ADHD symptoms.1“Optimization of the clinical effects of DBT combined with tDCS represents a potential avenue to focus on brain plasticity and enhance the therapeutic effects,” researchers said.tDCS is a non-invasive brain modulation method where weak electrical currents pass through two electrodes placed over the scalp.2 DBT is a cognitive behavioral therapy that was initially used to treat chronic suicidal behaviors and borderline personality disorder (BPD).3Study participants included 80 adults with ADHD (63 females, 17 males) aged 18-45.
They were randomly sorted into control, DBT-only, tDCS-only, and combined groups.The tDCS-only and combined groups received ten 20-minute sessions of anodal (excites neuron activity) and cathodal (inhibits or reduces neuronal activity) stimulation over 30 days. The DBT-only and combined groups received ten individual DBT therapy sessions once weekly, for 1 to 1.5 hours.The study found that DBT and tDCS used in isolation improved selective attention and response inhibition, sustained attention, and emotion regulation in adults with ADHD.
However, the DBT-only group did not reflect increased attention on the ADHD self-report scale (ASRS), while the tDCS-only group did. The tDCS-only group did not report improvements in hyperactivity on the ASRS, while
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