tDCS for depression therapy?
  • ViraVira August 2016
    Hello! I recently read online that it tDCS is "somewhat effective" when treating depression,but I'd like to understand it a little bit better. How would that work,biologically speaking?
    Thank you!
  • BirdhandzBirdhandz August 2016
    I'm not sure anyone really know how (maybe even IF) it works.  My understanding is it either stimulates or inhibits neuronal activity depending on the electrode placement. 

    The trick seems to be getting the electrodes in the right place.  Here's one site that shows electrode placements.

    You can search for TDCS montage and find many other examples but you can find some with the same placement to treat different things so I don't think there is anything that works for everyone.  Maybe with more precise electrode placement insuring it was actually stimulating (or inhibiting) the targeted areas it would have more consistent results.

    I am still "experimenting" to find what works for me.  My latest tests have been with the Anode (positive electrode) at position F3  (Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Position F3 ... if that means anything to you) and the Cathode (negative electrode) on my upper right arm

    I am still not convinced that the whole thing isn't just a placebo effect but that placement (for me) seems to make me feel real good.  Less depressed and it almost feels like I drank a lot of caffeine (which I quit doing) without the stomach problems.  I've only repeated this particular placement 3 times now all with the same effect.  It seems to wear off after about an hour (at least the very noticeable effects) but it is the best one (again, for me) that I have found so far.
  • ViraVira August 2016
    Thank you! A friend mentioned that such a treatment is available,but the way it was worded it seemed oddly like a scam. Where would I be able to find more information and perhaps even buy one? The session price is a little salty and I think it'd be less expensive if I bought my own.
  • BirdhandzBirdhandz August 2016
    I bought this one on ebay.

    I'm sure there are better ones available online.  I ended up making my own sponge electrodes.  They are just pieces of sponge soaked in a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and a cup of water.  I used the larger electrodes that came with the kit but placed the sponges between the electrodes and my skin.  I tried it with just the larger include electrodes both wet and dry.  Dry did nothing and wet was very painful.  I tried the included ear clip one time and I'll never do that again.  That hurt real bad.  I didn't bother trying the small electrode.

    There are plans around to build your own if you are any good with electronics and that would be a lot cheaper but it could be dangerous if you got it wrong.  I think some other members here have built their own TDCS machine or could recommend a better (more adjustable) device.  The one I got is ON or OFF and is supposed to be putting out 2mA of current which is the highest recommend power.  If/when I make my own, I will include the option to use a lower current.

    I want to build my own but the one I got seems to be working good enough until I prove to myself that it is really working.  I can tell that it is doing something because I can feel a tingling sensation, I see a brief flash of light when it is first turned on and again when it is turned off, and a slight metallic taste.  I mean I want to be sure it is actually doing me any good and not just a placebo effect before I spend the time to build a better device on my own.