Comparing the Efficacy of Anodal, Cathodal, and Sham Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor and Psychological Symptoms in Opioid-addicted Patients

Addiction to opioids is a serious problem and concern in any nation today.  Unfortunately, the rate of taking these drugs and addiction to them has drastically increased. This research aimed at the study of the degree of the BDNF serum level, reducing depression, stress and also studied the diminishing the craving by means of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in opioid abusing patients.


The research method was a quasi-experimental design with a pre-post test administered on three groups. The statistical population included all addicted people to opioids in Zanjan. A sample of 30 patients was selected based on the DSM-5 diagnosing criteria through available sampling and then they were randomly placed into three groups of 10 people. After all the participants knowingly filled out the consent forms before performing an intervention, they were evaluated by ELISA technique to measure the serum level of BDNF, then a desires for drugs questionnaire (DDQ), depression, anxiety and stress scale (DASS) were administered. Then, for 10 sessions of 20 minutes, tDCS for the three groups, namely Group A (L-DLPFC) anodal left/catodal right, group B( R-DLPFC) anodal right/cathodal left, and group C (sham-tDCS) were administered. After the treatment, all the participants were reevaluated and then the data were analyzed by Kolmogorov- Smirnov test, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the Bonfreoni test.


The results showed that stimulating the DLPFC led to a significant change in growing the level of BDNF (P= .031) and lowering the degree of depression (p= .018), anxiety (p= .001), stress (p= .012) and decreased the level of craving (p= .001) in opioid addicted patients. Moreover, the pair comparison indicated that group B showed a significant improvement versus group C.


The findings of this research suggest that TDCS is an effective and a complementary treatment, beside the common treatments of opioid abusing patients.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, Volume:10 Issue: 6, 2019
641 - 650  
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