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Study says mild shock therapy can help manage anxiety and depression, but not chronic pain

Study says mild shock therapy can help manage anxiety and depression, but not chronic pain

April 09 | By Rachael

The journey of life has various milestones in the form of challenges. Everyone tries his or her best, as per the capability, to cope with them. However, not all are successful at it which eventually affects them in some form or the other. Some of the problems can be depression and feeling of anxiousness.

There are various methods to treat these conditions, but according to a recent study, an electric shock therapy of mild intensity might help people with these symptoms feel better. However, the researchers are also trying to find out whether this therapy would be beneficial for easing other conditions as well, such as chronic pain.

Known as Cranial Electrical Stimulation or CES, this therapy involves passing of a current, equivalent to that of a 9-volt battery, through electrodes on the skin to the brain. The researchers of the study, led by Dr. Paul Shekelle of the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center, conducted an analysis to determine how effectively the cranial electrical stimulation worked for pain associated with the head, joints, musculoskeletal or for conditions like fibromyalgia and insomnia. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in February 2018, examined data from 26 clinical trials. However, these trials were too concise to offer any conclusive evidence. Some patients with a variety of very painful conditions received this therapy while some others were given a dummy treatment (for a placebo effect) or asked to stick to the usual care. Even though it was mild, there was evidence of a modest benefit.

“If there is a benefit, it is probably not on average a large benefit, because when a treatment has an average benefit that is large this is usually pretty obvious even from a small number of studies or even studies of a small number of patients,” said Dr. Shekelle.

Cranial electrical stimulation appeared safe

Analyzing the outcome of the most current and largest study—with an enrolment of about 115 patients—the researchers found that shock therapy managed to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms to a considerable extent in the patients compared to usual care, which included antidepressants.

However, the study duration was of only five weeks. Hence, Dr. Shekelle was a little apprehensive about its complete acceptance. He was of the opinion that had the results lasted for over six months or a year, it could have been regarded as offering “moderate” effectiveness. In addition, if the results were consistent with a few more studies of similar size and duration, it would point toward “high quality” proof. In all, with no definite evidence of any serious side effects recorded by the review, the cranial electrical stimulation appeared safe.

Shock therapy could be an option

Amid a worsening opioid crisis, this type of therapy is gaining more popularity among doctors and patients alike. Although shock therapy could be an effective alternative to prescription painkillers—many of which are highly addictive—the researchers concluded that its evidence is still scant and might not be the best use of money as the device is expensive. Moreover, proper supervision is required during treatment.

Unlike certain drugs that cause numerous side effects, anxiety treatment should adopt other natural therapies that ensure greater benefits without causing any adverse consequences. If you or someone you know is dealing with severe anxiety or depression, and looking for help from one of the best anxiety disorder treatment centers in Texas, contact the Anxiety Treatment Help. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-487-5015 or have an anxiety online chat with one of our experts to know about the best anxiety treatment centers in Texas.

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