Device: 100 Hz, 2 mS, 0.4 – 1.3 mA, electrodes from the forehead to mastoids
For this single blind study, 28 male heroin addicts, between 18 and 60 years old, undergoing methadone detoxification were selected on the basis of having severe anxiety as measured by the Hamilton Anxiety Scale and Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale, difficulties in sleeping, willingness to participate in the study for at least 2 weeks in a locked ward, and agreement not to take any tranquilizers or hypnotics while in the study. This was a self medicated withdrawal study in which methadone was given as requested by the patients as needed to control their withdrawal symptoms. The pts were then randomly divided into a CES treatment group (N = 14) who were taking 20 – 60 mg of methadone/day, a placebo group (N = 7) taking 30 to 40 mg/day, and a waiting in line control group (N = 7) taking 25 – 40 mg/day. CES or sham CES was given for 10 days, Monday through Friday, 30 minutes per day. After 6 – 8 CES treatments, methadone intake was 0 in 9 pts, with another 1 at 0 after 10 treatments. 3 were taking 10 – 15 mg after the 10 treatments. The other active pt dropped out of the study after the first treatment. The pts reported feeling restful and having a general feeling of well-being, their sleep was good and undisturbed after 3 treatments. The Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale scores also came down significantly in the CES group with 7 pts dropping from a mean of 31 before CES to 20 after 10 days (normal is 8 – 18), while the others showed a 25 – 50% reduction. Sham CES pts showed an insignificant change in the mean TMAS scores from 29 to 27. The methadone intake did not change in 4 sham CES pts, and only dropped 5 – 10 mg in the other 3. These pts were anxious and depressed, and complained of difficulty sleeping and somatic problems. The 7 controls also did not do well, TMAS scores increased in 2 cases, was the same in 1, and only decreased 1 – 2 points after 10 days in the remainder. The methadone intake was the same in 3 controls, and decreased in the other 4 after 10 days. These pts were anxious, had difficulty sleeping. HAS scores were also diminished in the CES group but not the placebo or controls. It was noted that with a higher current, the pt felt uncomfortable, but there were no skin burns.
Gomez, E. and Mikhail, A. R. Treatment of methadone withdrawal with cerebral electrotherapy (electrosleep). British Journal of Psychiatry (London). 134:111 113, 1979. Also in Gomez, E. and Mikhail, A. R Treatment of methadone withdrawal with cerebral electrotherapy (electrosleep). Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Detroit, 1974.
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