- Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services
- November 2010 - Volume 48 · Issue 11: 37-42
More prevalent in women than men, clinical depression affects approximately 15 million American adults in a given year. Psychopharmaceutical therapy accompanied by psychotherapy and wellness interventions (e.g., nutrition, exercise, counseling) is effective in 80% of diagnosed cases. A lesser known adjunctive therapy is that of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES). The major hypothesis for the use of CES in depression is that it may reset the brain to pre-stress homeostasis levels. It is conjectured that the pulsed electrical currents emitted by cranial electrical stimulators affect changes in the limbic system, the reticular activating system, and/or the hypothalamus that result in neurotransmitter secretion and downstream hormone production. While evidence is good for applied research, basic research about the mechanisms of action for CES remains in its infancy. A review of the literature provides an overview of current research findings and implications for clinical mental health practice.
Dr. Gunther is Associate Professor, and Dr. Phillips is Professor and Associate Dean for Research, University of Tennessee College of Nursing, Knoxville, Tennessee.
The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.
Address correspondence to Mary Gunther, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee College of Nursing, 1200 Volunteer Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37996; e-mail: .firstname.lastname@example.org