Mini-review: When Neurostimulation Joins Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. On the Need of Combining Evidence-Based Treatments for Addiction Disorders

SOURCE: Neuroscience Letters. 777:136588, 2022 Apr 23.

AUTHORS: Perrotta D; Perri RL

ABSTRACT: Substance and behavioral addiction is a global health problem related to cognitive functioning and emotional responses like top-down control and craving. The present review discusses the role of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) as evidence-based treatments for addiction disorders. The discussion spans between several evidence for both therapies, also considering the difference and heterogeneity among clinical protocols. Nowadays, literature is consistent in indicating the neurostimulation of the prefrontal cortex as effective for different kinds of addiction, corroborating the evidence that they rely on a common network in the brain. Likewise, within the CBT studies it is possible to observe a wide range of interventions that are overall effective in regulating the executive functions associated with addiction disorders. Nevertheless, the integration of NIBS and CBT in addictions has been scarcely considered in literature so far. For this reason, the present article is meant to foster
empirical research in this field by highlighting the findings supporting these evidence-based interventions, both as stand-alone and integrated treatments. To this aim, psychological and neurophysiological mechanisms of NIBS and CBT in addictions are reviewed, and the rationale of their integration discussed. In particular, as evidence suggest these treatments affect top-down and bottom-up processes in different ways, with NIBS reducing craving and CBT boosting motivation and coping, we suggest their combination might better target the different components of addiction to promote abstinence.