University Of Tasmania

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A systematic review on the therapeutic effectiveness of non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of anxiety disorders

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 05:46 authored by Vicario, CM, Salehinejad, MA, Felmingham, K, Martino, G, Nitsche, MA
The interest in the use of non-invasive brain stimulation for enhancing neural functions and reducing symptoms in anxiety disorders is growing. Based on the DSM-V classification for anxiety disorders, we examined all available research using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for the treatment of specific phobias, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and generalized anxiety disorder. A systematic literature search conducted in PubMed and Google Scholar databases provided 26 results: 12 sham-controlled studies and 15 not sham-controlled studies. With regard to the latter sub-group of studies, 9 were case reports, and 6 open label studies. Overall, our work provides preliminary evidence that both, excitatory stimulation of the left prefrontal cortex and inhibitory stimulation of the right prefrontal cortex can reduce symptom severity in anxiety disorders. The current results are discussed in the light of a model for the treatment for anxiety disorders via non-invasive brain stimulation, which is based on up-/downregulation mechanisms and might serve as guide for future systematic investigations in the field.


Publication title

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews








School of Psychological Sciences


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Ox5 1Gb

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 Elsevier Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health