Cranial electrostimulation (CES) use in the detoxification of opiate-dependent patients
Journal/Book: Jornal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 1990; 7(3): 173-180.
Abstract: This paper reviews the scientific literature on cranial electrostimulation (CES) as a non-chemical means to alleviate opiate withdrawal symptoms. CES involves applying small amounts of electrical stimulation through electrodes applied to the skin surface over the cranium. The paper summarizes major theories (gate, endorphin, and Chinese acupuncture) which attempt to explain how CES may help alleviate drug withdrawal and craving. Two of the studies reviewed show that CES patients experienced more severe withdrawal during the early part of treatment than comparison groups of methadone patients. Other studies show that CES patients did better than methadone patients. The findings from all studies reviewed, however, were limited because of low participation rates, high dropout rates, difficulties in blinding subjects and evaluators, and the absence of standardized procedures and equipment. The evidence reviewed suggests that CES is a promising line of inquiry for continued efforts to develop nonchemical ways to detoxify opiate-dependent individuals. Improved research designs, larger sample sizes, more integrity in data collection, and improved data analysis are needed in the future.