Published in Capital Doctor (U.K), Issue 17, November, 2002:
CES: Low Level Electricity for the Treatment of Depression
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is the application of very low levels of electrical current (usually <1 mA) across the head for the treatment of anxiety, depression and insomnia. It should not be confused with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which uses thousands of times the current. Unlike ECT, no significant negative side effects have been found from the use of CES in millions of patients over the past 40 years of its use in the USA.
A recent review of 24 published studies, involving thousands of patients, found that 33 different measures of depression had been studied. When the results were combined in a meta-analysis, an average improvement of 53% was found, with the distribution of the improvement found to be between 43% and 71% in 95 patients out of 100. It would be expected to be greater than 71% in half of the five exceptions, or less than 43%.
The types of patients studied in these depression studies ranged widely, and included hospitalized and outpatient psychiatric patients, drug addicts experiencing withdrawal related depression, and pain patients suffering from pain and stress related depression. CES was found to achieve significant treatment effects in all of these types of depression.
A survey of 47 physicians using the Alpha-Stim CES device revealed 89.67% of 184 depression patients experienced significant (p>.05) improvement. A separate group of 265 depression patients’ self-reports correlated well with 89.06% reporting significant improvement from Alpha-Stim.
People suffering depression as a normal concomitant to a busy and sometimes stressful life can be significantly helped with the use of CES for only 20 or 30 minutes 2 or 3 times a week, while patients presenting with clinical levels of depression usually require treatment for one hour daily for 3 weeks.
CES requires a physician’s prescription in the USA, but not in the UK.