Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does tDCS cost?
A: An average tDCS device on the market can cost around $50 to $200; while higher quality and medical grade tDCS devices can go for upwards of $400. Truly high end, excellent quality laboratory tDCS stimulators can reach into the thousands.
Q: How long does tDCS take to work?
A: A standard TDCS session may last anywhere from 5 to 40 minutes–however commonly used stimulation protocols in research publications are typically 20 to 30 minutes, applied periodically from 10 to 15 days. (References). Some studies observe positive effects a couple of days in, while some other studies observe improvements during the first session!
Q: Is tDCS FDA approved?
A: tDCS technology is currently not regulated by the FDA and is considered “investigational – which means tDCS can be purchased but not medical indications can be made by device manufacturers.
Q: What does tDCS help with?
A: tDCS has been researched for ADHD, impulse control, addiction, chronic pain, depression, and insomnia. tDCS has also been used to improve attention, mathematical ability, learning, audio perception, and creativity. New studies are also being conducted every day and subsequently new potential treatment targets are also be discovered regularly. Instructions on how to apply tDCS in order recreate some of these studies can be found here (link to montage guide).
Q: How often can you use tDCS?
A: In studies, tDCS has most commonly been used either daily, once a week, or once every other week. These treatments also last from one to two weeks, to up to 6 months. Exceptions to this pattern do exist—however the frequency of tDCS use as well as the duration is usually specific to the effect from the study you wish to recreate.
Q: What is anodal stimulation?
A: Anodal tDCS involves applying the anode (positive electrode) to the region of interest, in order to increase neuronal excitability (depolarization) at that location—subsequently making the neurons at that area of the brain more likely to fire. This type of stimulation is useful when the treatment is aiming to increase activity in certain regions of the brain.
Q: What is cathodal stimulation?
A: In contrast to anodal tDCS, cathodal tDCS involves applying the cathode (negative electrode) to the region of interest, in order to decrease neuronal excitability (hyperpolarization) at that location—subsequently suppressing the neurons at the region of interest, making those neurons less likely to fire. This type of stimulation is useful when the treatment is aiming to decrease activity in certain regions of the brain.