Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience Papers in Press available online.

 
Improved executive functions and reduced craving in youths with methamphetamine addiction:Evidence from combined mindfulness treatment with transcranial direct current stimulation
Jaber Alizadehgoradel 1,*, Saeed Imani 2, Vahid Nejati 3, Marie-Anne Vanderhasselt 4,5, Behnam Molaei 6, Mohammad Ali Salehinejad 7,8, Shirin Ahmadi 9, Mina Taherifard 9
1Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine,Ardabil University of Medical Sciences, Ardabil, Iran., 2Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Faculty of Education & Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran, 3Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Faculty of Education & Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran, 4Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium, 5Department of Head and Skin, Unit of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium, 6Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine,Ardabil University of Medical Sciences, Ardabil, Iran, 7Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, Department of Psychology and Neurosciences, Dortmund, Germany, 8Ruhr-University Bochum, International Graduate School of Neuroscience, Bochum, Germany, 8Department of Psychology, Mohaghegh-Ardabili University, Ardabil, Iran, 9Department of Psychology, Mohaghegh-Ardabili University, Ardabil, Iran
Abstract
Objectives:
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)and mindfulness practices have been proposed as a potential approach to improve executive functions (EFs) and reduce craving in persons with substance use disorders. Based on the neural mechanisms of action of each of these interventions, the combination of both non-pharmacological interventions might have additive effects. In the current study, the effects of tDCS combined with mindfulness-based substance abuse treatment (MBSAT) to improve EFs and reduce craving were investigated in early abstinent methamphetamine abuse.
Method:
Eighty (adolescents aged between 18 and 21) early-abstinent methamphetamine users were randomly assigned to the research groups (tDCS group (n=20), mindfulness group (n=20), combined mindfulness-tDCS group (n=20), and sham group (n=20)). Active tDCS (1.5 mA,20 min, 12 sessions) or sham tDCS was applied over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the MBSAT protocol was used over twelve 50-min sessions.
Results:
Both in the post-test phase (immediately after the intervention) and follow-up phase (one month after the intervention), performance in most EFs tasks significantly improved in the combination group which received real tDCS+MBSAT, as compared to baseline values and sham stimulation group. Similarly, a significant reduction in craving was observed after intervention inall treatment groups, but not the sham stimulation group. Interestingly, the increase in EFs and the reduction in craving post versus pre tDCS+MBSAT intervention were correlated.
Conclusions:
Findings from the current study provide initial support for the clinical effectiveness of combination tDCS + MBSAT, possibly influencing cognitive/affective processes.
Accepted Manuscript [Submitted on 2020-07-30, Accepted on 2020-11-01]