Tag Archives: cranial electrotherapy

Cranial Electrotherapy as alternative to drugs for depression treatment

New treatments for depression offer hope

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 7 percent of adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with depression, costing employers anywhere between $17 billion to $44 billion as a result.

Then there are those who never get diagnosed because they never seek treatment for their depression – even though there are plenty of treatments available today that have been very successful in combating its symptoms.

Some of the treatments for depression that have proven to be effective include a wide variety of therapies, ranging from talk therapy and anti-depressant medications, to meditation and walking in the park.

The key to any successful treatment, however, requires patience because it can take 4 to 6 weeks for the anti-depressants to kick in. It also takes time to tweak dosages or otherwise switch to a different-acting anti-depressant if the first one was not effective.

But good news exists for depression, as much progress has been made, not just in treating it, but in understanding the underlying dynamics that contribute to the condition.

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As a result, there are a variety of new treatments for depression that are on the horizon, including the following:

Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) – CES administers small electric pulses across a patient’s head using a portable, battery-powered device that can be used at home. Approved by the FDA, CES provides relief from symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression. It is also approved for treating chronic pain.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – TMS involves a series of brief magnetic pulses to the brain, which are administered through an electromagnetic coil adjacent to a patient’s scalp. The pulses stimulate certain circuits in the brain that are underactive depressed patients. The goal of TMS is to activate these targeted areas of the brain to alleviate depressive symptoms and restore the brain to normal functioning.

Deep brain stimulation – Unlike other brain stimulation treatments, deep brain stimulation involves the surgical placement of a battery-operated neuro-stimulator, which is used to treat a variety of neurological symptoms. The implant is similar to a pacemaker, but instead of stimulating the heart muscle, it stimulates targeted areas of the brain. It is especially effective for patients with Parkinson’s disease, but is currently being tested for its effectiveness in treating depression.

SOURCES:
1. Psych Central, Depression: New Medications On The Horizon, Tartakovsky, M., retrieved February 4, 2014.
2. National Institute of Mental Health, Introduction: Mental Health Medications
3. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, What is Depression?
4. Press Release: JayMac Pharmaceuticals Introduces EnLyte with Delta Folate: A Safe, Natural, & Complete Prescription Therapy For Depression, February 4, 2014.

Symptoms and Signs indicating you may have an Anxiety Disorder

anxiety-faceAnxiety is a common mental state expressed as uneasiness or apprehension about an uncertain future event or occurrence. Any kind of anxious behaviour incites stress reaction within your body, expressing itself with symptoms of stress. Everyone experiences anxiety to some degree in response to various kinds of stimuli and this is “normal”. But your anxiety ceases to be normal and becomes a disorder when it adversely affects normal functioning, interfering with your normal lifestyle.

Anxiety disorders are relatively common and treatable mental disorders affecting about 18 percent of the U.S. population, making them the most common mental disorders in the United States. Of these, only about one-third of those suffering from anxiety disorders seek medical help as anxiety symptoms are perceived differently by different persons.

Has your “Normal” Anxiety become a “Disorder”?

When you inadvertently start expressing certain stress symptoms and signs, it might be an indication that your anxiety might have crossed the bounds of “normal” and entered the realms of a “disorder”.

Anxiety disorders arise from the intricate interplay of various risk factors, genes, brain chemistry, personality types, and life events. They result in a complex group of anxiety disorders, each disorder with their own peculiar symptoms and signs.

Some of the common anxiety disorders are Acute Stress Disorder, Agoraphobia without history of Panic Disorder, Anxiety Disorder due to a general medical condition, Anxiety Disorder not otherwise specified, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder with or without agoraphobia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Phobia, Specific Phobia, or Substance Induced Anxiety Disorder.

So, what signs and symptoms indicate an anxiety disorder?

Actually, there is virtually no difference between symptoms and signs in ‘normal’ anxiety and anxiety ‘disorder’ except for persistence and increase in the number, type, intensity, frequency and duration of anxiety symptoms.

Although nowhere close to a complete list which includes hundreds of random symptoms, anxiety symptoms and signs commonly encountered include:

Physical Anxiety Symptoms

  1. Rapid heartbeat or palpitation
  2. Profuse sweating
  3. Choking sensation in the throat
  4. Abdominal cramps
  5. Dizziness and giddiness
  6. Increased frequency of urination and stools
  7. Burdened or difficulty in breathing
  8. Rapid shallow breathing
  9. Hot flushes or chills
  10. Sensation of lightness of head
  11. Tremors and jitteriness
  12. Muscular tension and twitches
  13. Headache or heaviness of head
  14. Unexplained tiredness and fatigue
  15. Difficulty in sleep initiation or continuation
  16. Nausea

Emotional Anxiety Symptoms

  1. Growing and persistent apprehension or fear of the unknown
  2. Feelings of dread without valid reason
  3. Problem concentrating on any task at hand
  4. Nervousness and restlessness
  5. Being irrationally irritable or edgy
  6. Difficulty in sleep
  7. Catastrophic thinking
  8. Heightened vigilance towards anything perceived as dangerous
  9. Absentmindedness
  10. Intense fear of death or doom
  11. Fear of losing one’s mind
  12. Feelings of detachment from reality

When should you seek Professional Help?

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To have some anxiety means to be human, but when anxiety symptoms preoccupy your life, interfering with your normal functioning and lifestyle, it is time to visit your doctor.

You can use the Likert Anxiety Scale to help you decide if you need professional help. To check your Likert Anxiety Scale Score, click here.

You should be particularly cautious if your work or family life is disturbed or if your anxiety is making you depressed or causing you to resort to drinking or drugs or if you feel you have other mental conditions or you feel the urge to kill yourself.

You should immediately seek professional help so that early treatment may be initiated and to prevent any untoward outcome.

Is it true that certain foods worsen anxiety and others have a calming effect?

Coping with anxiety can be a challenge and often requires making lifestyle changes. There aren’t any diet changes that can cure anxiety, but watching what you eat may help. Try these steps:

  • Eat a breakfast that includes some protein. Eating protein at breakfast can help you feel fuller longer and help keep your blood sugar steady so that you have more energy as you start your day.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are thought to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect. Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains — for example, oatmeal, quinoa, whole-grain breads and whole-grain cereals. Steer clear of foods that contain simple carbohydrates, such as sugary foods and drinks.
  • Drink plenty of water. Even mild dehydration can affect your mood.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol. The immediate effect of alcohol may be calming. But as alcohol is processed by your body, it can make you edgy. Alcohol can also interfere with sleep.
  • Limit or avoid caffeine. Avoid caffeinated beverages. They can make you feel jittery and nervous and can interfere with sleep.
  • Pay attention to food sensitivities. In some people, certain foods or food additives can cause unpleasant physical reactions. In certain people, these physical reactions may lead to shifts in mood, including irritability or anxiety.
  • Try to eat healthy, balanced meals. This is important for overall physical and mental health. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and don’t overeat. It may also help to eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, on a regular basis.
cesultra food

Changes to your diet may make some difference to your general mood or sense of well-being, but they’re not a substitute for treatment. If your anxiety is severe or interferes with your day-to-day activities or enjoyment of life, you may need counseling (psychotherapy), medication or other treatment.

Most people today veg out before a TV. Better you should do it at the kitchen table with a bowlful of greens.

You can’t be healthy without eating well. The cornerstone of that belief is “You are what you eat,” meaning your diet directly affects your total being.

Looking to buy into the concept? A good place to begin is with your veggies. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals, they promise to lower your risk for osteoporosis, stroke, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and other causes of mortality.

Wow! Bring ’em on!

CES has been shown to reduce the levels of stress hormones.

There are numerous CES studies in which CES has been shown to reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body. Usually this reduction is found to be in connection with a rebalanced relationship between stress related hormones and other hormones with which they are normally in balance in non stress states.

Read more here

Manufacturers of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) devices in the United States

There are currently three major manufacturers of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) in the United States: 1).The CES Ultra; 2). EPI, Electromedical Products International; and 3). The Fisher-Wallace Stimulator. All fall under the regulation of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The FDA considers the products of all these manufacturers to be “substantially equivalent” to each other. The agency currently allows them to make claims for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Their products vary in price as do their electrical configuration.

All are supported by a similar body of research evidence; though there is also a body of company sponsored research from Fisher Wallace and Electromedical Products International. The Meta-analysis of The Harvard School of Public Health is primarily based on the configuration in the CES Ultra. 90% of the independent research is based on that configuration as well.

The CES Ultra is manufactured by Neuro-Fitness LLC and features a single 100HZ frequency, a modified square wave, 20% duty cycle. It employs conductive rubber earclips as well as pre-gelled electrodes. Current intensity varies between the units from the three manufacturers. The CES Ultra goes from 0-1.5 5milliamperes, experienced as a gentle tingling sensation. The Alpha-stim is in the micro-amperage range, making the sensation virtually distinguishable; though there is a sensation of light-headedness that often accompanies its use. The Fisher-Wallace has a range of 1-4 mA and, of the three units, the most clearly defined and perceptible stimulation.

cesultra kit

EPI, Electromedical Products International manufactures the Alpha-Stim M and the Alpha-Stim AID. The “AID” is their basic model and features a single frequency, 0.5HZ. The “M” has three different frequencies—0.5, 1.5, and 100HZ and in addition to the indications noted above, is also indicated for chronic, acute, and post-operative pain control. Both products have incorporated a waveform unique to EMP. The primary mode of transmission is earclips with moistened felt.

The Fisher-Wallace Stimulator http://www.fisherwallace.com/ produces three biologically synchronous waveforms: 15,000 Hz, 15 Hz, and 500 Hz. The two slender electrical cables transmit current through either a small sponge that is moistened before use, or a self-adhesive patch. They are secured in place on the temples with a soft headband. Current flows between the two electrodes when the Fisher-Wallace Cranial Stimulator is turned on. In addition to the indications noted above, is also indicated for chronic, acute, and post-operative pain control.

The alpha-stim AID and the Fisher Wallace devices are the most costly, followed by the CES Ultra as the least costly.