Cranial electrotherapy stimulation for treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013 Mar;36(1):169-76. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2013.01.006.


Cranial electrotherapy stimulation is a prescriptive medical device that delivers a mild form of electrical stimulation to the brain for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It is supported by more than 40 years of research demonstrating its effectiveness in several mechanistic studies and greater than 100 clinical studies. Adverse effects are rare (<1%), mild, and self-limiting, consisting mainly of skin irritation under the electrodes and headaches. Often used as a stand-alone therapy, because results are usually seen from the first treatment, cranial electrotherapy stimulation may also be used as an adjunctive therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / adverse effects
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*