Category Archives: Anxiety

CES Ultra is a non-drug approach to treatment of anxiety

Vagus Nerve Stimulation And Inflammation

Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation Conceptual Representation
Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation Conceptual Representation

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a medical treatment that is routinely used in the treatment of epilepsy and other neurological conditions. VNS studies are not just clinically, but also scientifically informative regarding the role of the vagus nerve in health and disease.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Device and Method

Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulator Attached to the Auricular Concha via Ear Clip
Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulator Attached to the Auricular Concha via Ear Clip

Vagus nerve stimulation works by applying electrical impulses to the vagus nerve. The stimulation of the vagus nerve can be performed in two different ways: a direct invasive stimulation, which is currently the most frequent application and an indirect transcutaneous non-invasive stimulation. Invasive VNS (iVNS) requires the surgical implantation of a small pulse generator subcutaneously in the left thoracic region. In contrast to iVNS, transcutaneous VNS (tVNS) allows for a non-invasive stimulation of the vagus nerve without any surgical procedure. Here, the stimulator is usually attached to the auricular concha via ear clips and delivers electrical impulses at the subcutaneous course of the afferent auricular branch of the vagus nerve (2).

A pilot study that examined the application of VNS in 60 patients with treatment-resistant depressive disorder showed a significant clinical improvement in 30–37% of patients and a high tolerability (3). Five years later, the stimulation of the vagus nerve for the treatment of refractory depression was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (4). Since then, the safety and efficacy of VNS in depression has been demonstrated in numerous observational studies as can be seen below. In contrast, there is no randomized, placebo-control clinical trial that reliably demonstrates antidepressant effects of VNS.

The vagus nerve represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate. It establishes one of the connections between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and sends information about the state of the inner organs to the brain via afferent fibers. In this review article, we discuss various functions of the vagus nerve which make it an attractive target in treating psychiatric and gastrointestinal disorders. There is preliminary evidence that vagus nerve stimulation is a promising add-on treatment for treatment-refractory depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and inflammatory bowel disease. Treatments that target the vagus nerve increase the vagal tone and inhibit cytokine production. Both are important mechanism of resiliency. The stimulation of vagal afferent fibers in the gut influences monoaminergic brain systems in the brain stem that play crucial roles in major psychiatric conditions, such as mood and anxiety disorders. In line, there is preliminary evidence for gut bacteria to have beneficial effect on mood and anxiety, partly by affecting the activity of the vagus nerve. Since, the vagal tone is correlated with capacity to regulate stress responses and can be influenced by breathing, its increase through meditation and yoga likely contribute to resilience and the mitigation of mood and anxiety symptoms.

VNS In Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Vagus nerve stimulation attenuates the systemic inflammatory response to endotoxin (5) and intestinal inflammation (6). The VNs also indirectly modulates immune activity of the spleen through connections with the splenic sympathetic nerve (7). In rats with colonic inflammation, the 3-hour long daily VNS for a period of 5 days led to a reduction in inflammatory markers and an improvement in symptoms of colitis (8).

Vagus nerve stimulation should be of interest in other inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, another TNF-α-mediated disease. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a study that demonstrated an improvement of symptoms in the early and late stages of the disease through 1–4 minutes of VNS daily (9). This study was also the first to show that VNS inhibits the production of TNF-α (also known as TNF-alpha) and other cytokines in humans by stimulating the inflammatory reflex, leading to an improvement of symptom severity. These data argue for an anti-inflammatory role of the vagus nerve and provide potential therapeutic applications for patients with IBDs (10, 8, 11).

Conclusion

The interaction between the gut and the brain is based on a complex system that includes not only neural but also endocrine, immune, and humoral links.

The vagus nerve is an essential part of the brain–gut axis and plays an important role in the modulation of inflammation, the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis, and the regulation of food intake, satiety, and energy homeostasis. An interaction between nutrition and the vagus nerve is well known, and vagal tone can influence food intake and weight gain.

Moreover, the vagus nerve plays an important role in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders, obesity as well as other stress-induced and inflammatory diseases.

Vagus nerve stimulation and several meditation techniques demonstrate that modulating the vagus nerve has a therapeutic effect, mainly due to its relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Extinction paired with VNS is more rapid than extinction paired with sham stimulation. As it is currently approved by the Federal FDA for depression and seizure prevention, VNS is a readily available and promising adjunct to exposure therapy for the treatment of severe anxiety disorders.

Vagus nerve stimulation is an effective anticonvulsant device and has shown in observational studies antidepressant effects in chronic treatment-resistant depression. Because the vagus nerve sends information to brain regions is important in the stress response (LC, orbitofrontal cortex, insula, hippocampus, and amygdala), this pathway might be involved in perceiving or manifesting various somatic and cognitive symptoms that characterize stress-related disorders.

Psychotropic drugs, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, have effects on both the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and consequently should be understood as modulators of the brain–gut axis.

Research investigating the interaction between nutritive factors, somatic factors, such as heart rate, psychological and pharmacological treatments, and vagal activity has the potential to lead to integrative treatment options that incorporate VNS, nutritional approaches, drugs, and psychological interventions, such as mindfulness-based approaches, which can be tailored to the needs of the individual patient.

A Final Thought About Vagus Nerve Stimulation And CES

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) has been engaging Vagus nerve stimulation for decades, through the use of ear clips to stimulate the nerve endings in the ears. Recent data from clinical studies and practical application reflect the positive results that may be gained by applying low amplitude, extremely low frequency (ELF) electric currents, through the Vagus nerve system. The CES Ultra cranial electrotherapy stimulator device incorporates both ELF and ear clip attachments, as part of its standard application to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia without medication.

Get Your Own CES Ultra for only $249

Citations

  1. Frontiers in Psychiatry – Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain–Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders (original publication)
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine – Effect of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation on major depressive disorder: A nonrandomized controlled pilot study
  3. Springer Nature – Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS™) for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Efficacy, Side Effects, and Predictors of Outcome
  4. ScienceDirect® – Safety and efficacy of Vagus Nerve Stimulation in treatment-resistant depression. A systematic review
  5. Springer Nature – Vagus nerve stimulation attenuates the systemic inflammatory response to endotoxin
  6. Springer Nature – Stimulation of the vagus nerve attenuates macrophage activation by activating the Jak2-STAT3 signaling pathway
  7. American Association for the Advancement of Science – Acetylcholine-Synthesizing T Cells Relay Neural Signals in a Vagus Nerve Circuit
  8. ScienceDirect – Anti-inflammatory effect of vagus nerve stimulation in a rat model of inflammatory bowel disease
  9. PNAS – Vagus nerve stimulation inhibits cytokine production and attenuates disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis
  10. The Physiological Society – Anti‐inflammatory properties of the vagus nerve: potential therapeutic implications of vagus nerve stimulation
  11. Clinical Medicine Insights: Gastroenterology – Bioelectrical Stimulation for the Reduction of Inflammation in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  12. CES Ultra – The Role of CES in Fighting Inflammation
  13. CES Ultra – Non-Drug Relief From Anxiety.

Last Modified: September 10, 2019

Brain Stimulation Therapies for Mental Health

Alternatives to Drugs in the Treatment of Depression

It’s estimated that around 30 percent of people with depression don’t respond to typical antidepressants. This is known as treatment-resistant depression. An important alternative which can be life-changing is brain stimulation therapy.

brain-stimulation-for-mental-health

Brain stimulation therapy involves the application of [electric] energy over specific brain regions to modulate the function of neural circuits. This can help alleviate symptoms of depression or other mental illnesses that aren’t responding to typical treatments, such as bipolar disorder. There are five main types of brain stimulation therapies used to treat mental illness: electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and magnetic seizure therapy. Let’s explore vagus nerve stimulation(VNS) and Deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)

Vagus nerve stimulation was initially developed as a treatment for the seizure disorder epilepsy, and in a happy accident, scientists discovered that it could help with depression as well. The FDA approved VNS for treatment-resistant depression in 2005.

If you’re getting this kind of therapy, doctors will surgically implant a tool called a pulse generator into the upper left portion of your chest. An electrical wire connects the pulse generator to your vagus nerve, which runs from your brain through your neck and into your chest and abdomen. From its command center in your chest, the pulse generator will send bursts of electric currents to your brain every couple of minutes. Pulse generators typically work for around 10 years before they need to be replaced.

It appears as though VNS can improve issues like severe depression by changing levels of neurotransmitters in your brain including serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, and glutamate. A 2018 study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry analyzed quality of life reports from 599 people with treatment-resistant depression, finding that those who combined VNS with other antidepressant treatments experienced significant improvements in their quality of life, even if their symptoms didn’t disappear completely. That points to an important fact about VNS: anyone receiving it will need to continue their other treatments (like taking antidepressants). Even so, it can take months to see a difference when using VNS, and the device could shift or malfunction, which may require more surgery.

VNS is not a surefire fix. Some people’s conditions get worse after they try it, not better.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS)

This started as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Then doctors realized it shows promise for easing depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, too. FDA approved deep brain stimulation for obsessive compulsive disorder, but not yet for depression.

Like VNS, deep brain stimulation uses pulse generators in the chest to send electrical pulses to the brain. Unlike VNS, which delivers stimulation in bursts, DBS involves more continuous stimulation but you should be able to customize the exact frequency with your doctor’s help.

The Problem: Both Deep brain stimulation and Vagus nerve stimulation describe costly and intrusive procedure involving an implant.

The Solution:

There is another non –intrusive, non-invasive and  way to target the vague nerve: cranial electrotherapy stimulation using CES devices. CES devices can achieve good result at fraction of the cost; and there is no need for an implant.CES therapy is simple and easy. Pre-gelled electrodes are placed in such a manner as to directly The compact size and ear clip electrodes makes it easy to use just about anywhere and under a variety of circumstances. You can your portable CES unit  at home while watching TV, doing the dishes, walking, studying, at the office while poring over a report, etc. You can do so safely, with no serious negative side-effects and at a fraction of the cost and none of the risks of a major operation.

re: > https://www.self.com/story/brain-stimulation-therapies

Anti-anxiety pills could be next U.S. drug epidemic

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

anti-anxiety-pills

Considered relatively safe and non-addictive by consumers and many doctors, Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin have been prescribed to millions of Americans for decades to calm jittery nerves and promote a good night’s sleep. But the number of people taking the sedatives and the average length of time they’re taking them have shot up since the 1990s, when doctors also started liberally prescribing opioid painkillers.

Actually anti-anxiety pills are not so safe. Due to their high potency, benzodiazepines can change the brain’s neurochemistry. Over time, the drugs build up in the user’s body. Users can develop mental and physical dependencies on the drugs as a result.

Prescriptions have increased more than 60 percent in the last two decades and overdose deaths involving them have more than quadrupled between 2002 and 2015, promptings some states to limit the number of pills a patient can be prescribed.

The growing use of anti-anxiety pills reminds some doctors of the early days of the opioid crisis. Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are a class of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for a spectrum of mental disorders and ailments. They are used to treat moderate to severe anxiety, panic attacks, epileptic seizures and even withdrawal symptoms from other central nervous system depressants like alcohol. Benzodiazepines are legal when they are prescribed. However, a black market for the drugs exists as well. On the street, benzodiazepine drugs might go by other names like tranks, downers or simply benzos.

State and federal officials are now warning that excessive prescribing of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines or “benzos” is putting more people at risk of dependence on the pills and is exacerbating the fatal overdose toll of painkillers and heroin. When taken in combination with painkillers or illicit narcotics, benzodiazepines can increase the likelihood of a fatal overdose as much as tenfold, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. On their own, the medications can cause debilitating withdrawal symptoms that last for months or years. As prescriptions for benzodiazepines have grown since the late 1990s, so have deaths, according to a study at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines quadrupled from 2002 to 2015.

Benzodiazepines are a fantastic medication to deal with and to cope with infrequent and unnatural experiences. These anxiety drugs should only be reserved for infrequent procedures like a colonoscopy, or extensive dental procedure.

We don’t need chemicals to get us through the painful events of life. This is about a 20-30 year old phenomena in the US where we feel we need to cope with life using chemicals to get us through traumatic issues. Once It becomes a coping mechanism to deal with your life, we have to question what we are doing here.

While opioids’ toxic effects are respiratory depression, benzos also depress your breathing and can be fatal. The body becomes so relaxed and euphoric from drugs like Xanax, that it doesn’t feel the need to breathe, he said. Patients end up dying from an “overdose of pleasure.” In a lot of ways benzos mimic the pharmacology of alcohol. It impairs memory, it impairs cognitive ability, and literally lowers your IQ and ability to function.

Public health officials warn that people who abruptly stop taking benzodiazepines risk seizures or even death. Opioid withdrawal will make you want to die, but typically won’t kill you. Benzo withdrawal on the other hand can create withdrawal seizures that can be life threatening.

Further statistics show:

  • 65% of North Americans take prescription medications daily, 43% take mood altering prescriptions regularly.
  • There were over 3.3 Billion prescriptions filled in America in 2002 (12 times the U.S’s population – that’s 12 prescriptions for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. that year).
  • Paxil and Zoloft (two of the more popular anti-anxiety medications) ranked 7th and 8th in the top ten prescribed medications in the US (these two medications totaled almost $5 Billion in sales in 2002).

People need to rely more on talk therapy or alternative medicine to cope with their anxiety and distress, instead of counting on a magic pill.

Cranial Electortherapy Stimulation (CES) is a safe alternative to drugs. CES is a unique and viable “bioelectric” approach which enhances the homeostasis of the biological central nervous system – the tendency for intrinsic balance within a system. Isn’t it time we examined a drug-free alternative? Cranial Electrotherapy is exactly that — an effective modality with no negative side-effect.

ref:> yellowhammernews.com/addiction-expert | health.com/anxiety | anxietycentre.com

CES Anxiety Studies

There has now been almost 40 years of experience in the U.S. of CES as a non medication treatment for anxiety.

Also noteworthy is that among the more than 2000 patients who have been involved in CES studies in the U.S there has been no significant, negative side effect reported from the use of CES. As the National Research Council reported to the FDA when asked to evaluate the safety of CES, “Review of these reports reveals that significant side effects or complications attributable to the procedure are virtually nonexistent.”

ces-table

Earlier meta-analysts completed their meta-analyses by the use of published means and standard deviations. Most authors do not report these when they publish, so that among the more than 100 CES studies published in the U.S., only 8 could be found that contained that information. Two meta-analyses were performed limited to the use of these 8 studies, one at Harvard and one at the University of Tulsa Graduate School, and both concluded that CES was unquestionably effective for the treatment of anxiety.

Very early on in the U.S. the anxiety found in the substance abstinence syndrome was treated with CES. Patients who withdraw from various addictive substances suffer intensively from anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance. Because that group has proven susceptible to cross addiction to psychoactive medications, and because they are also more resistant to the effects of most of those medications than are non-addicted patients, CES soon became a treatment of choice in both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for this group of patients.

Luckily for CES meta-analysts, there are available journals that have a history of readily publishing negative CES studies, while on occasion refusing to publish studies with positive findings. To everyone’s surprise, journal editors (or their chosen group of peer reviewers) can be biased.

A meta-analyst has succeeded if the majority of studies that are available have been identified, since it can easily be shown statistically that unless the analyst was specifically biased in the sampling procedure, the outcome would rarely be changed importantly if the remainder of the completed studies appeared in the analysis. This point will be returned to later when the standard error of the mean and the confidence limits of the effect size is discussed.

In the field of CES the analyst has an advantage in that it is a small, tightly knit field in which most researchers know what the others are doing or have published.

Ref> Dr. Ray Smith

Antidepressants and Non-drug Alternatives

A few years ago, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looked at antidepressant use in 25 countries and found something startling. In every single country the OECD looked at, antidepressant use was on the rise.

In Germany, antidepressant use had risen 46% in just four years. In Spain and Portugal, it rose about 20% during the same period. Iceland led the pack in overall use with about one in ten people taking a daily antidepressant — but that figure may underestimate the actual rate of use, since that calculation isn’t restricted to just adults.

The United States was not included in the OECD analysis (we’ve added it to the chart below), but if it had been, it would knock Iceland out of the top spot: 11% of Americans over the age of 12 take an antidepressant.

antidepressant chart

Antidepressant use is not an accurate window into rates of depression. Instead, the popularity of antidepressants in a given country is the result of a complicated mix of depression rates, stigma, wealth, health coverage, and availability of treatment.

The OECD suggests two possible reasons the rate of antidepressant consumption is on the rise in so many countries. The course of treatment lasts longer than it used to, and antidepressants are now prescribed not only for severe depression, but also for mild depression, anxiety, social phobia, and more.

Among Americans, 60% of people taking antidepressants have been taking them for at least two years; 14% have taken them for 10 years or more.

Central-nervous-system agents today constitute the fastest growing sector of the pharmaceutical market, accounting for 31% of total sales in the United States.

This trend is fraught with danger. Some people take the wrong medication; others get an old or contaminated batch, some a counterfeit; others take them in dangerous combinations with other prescriptions. Some drugs are addictive, others have devastating emotional and physical side effects. Every year a million people—3 to 5% of all hospital admissions—are admitted primarily because of a negative reaction to medications. The situation has become especially exacerbated by the medical profession’s propensity to dole out medication like candy for the slightest sign of depression, anxiety, or insomnia, helping make drugs like Prozac, Buspar, and Paxil as chic in the suburbs as crack is in the inner city. This has led to a virtual plague of legal drug addiction.

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) is a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. CES is the anti-drug—the non-pharmacological alternative—a unique and viable bio-electric approach which enhances the homeostasis of the biological central nervous system—the tendency for intrinsic balance within a system. User-friendly, it employs mild battery-powered electrical stimulation through clip-on electrodes attached to the earlobes or pre-gelled electrodes placed behind the ears. Current flow is limited so that the most the patient experiences during the process is nothing more than a slight tingling sensation. There are virtually no negative side effects. Gently adding energy back to all parts of the brain, CES helps return the user to the optimum state in effect before stressors were activated.

CES impacts most directly by reducing anxiety. This is often experienced in the course of treatment; for others, hours, or several days after. CES leaves the patient feeling both relaxed and alert. The effect differs from pharmaceutical treatments in that people report their body as feeling lighter and more relaxed and their mind, more alert and clear. Results are cumulative and lasting. For those suffering from depression and anxiety, CES means relief with none of the unpleasant side effects of prescription drugs. For those seeking nothing more than a good night’s sleep, it is an alternative to habit-forming tranquilizers. For a public increasingly concerned with the effects of stress on physical health and emotional well being, CES provides a way of addressing that stress in a safe and effective manner.

CES is a treatment modality with an ethic – that of self-regulation. Its goal, wellness—a state of proper alignment—the balanced interplay of body and mind attained through personal empowerment rather than dependency. The CES ethic believes that increased reliance on external drugs interferes with that self-regulatory process, reducing our ability to cope. That to reclaim control of our lives we have to learn how to alter that chemical composition and reorient that circuitry, not through dependency but by activating, strengthening, and effectively employing our own inner resources. CES—a treatment modality whose time has come.