Mellen, Ronald R., Case, Jan and Ruiz, Deanna J. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) as a treatment for reducing stress and improving prefrontal cortex functioning in victims of domestic violence. International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology Newsletter. 48(3):12-15, 2016.
The objective of this study was to determine if Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) was effective for reducing post traumatic stress and improving prefrontal cortex functioning in victims of domestic violence.
This was an open label study design.
Primary Effectiveness Endpoint
Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI)
Secondary Outcome Measures
Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF-A) including the Behavioral Regulation Index and the Metacognition Index.
Key Inclusion Criteria
The study sample included females who were victims of domestic violence and living in a shelter.
Due to the high resident turnover rate in domestic violence shelters, the protocol only required daily 20 minutes CES treatments for 5 consecutive days.
Outcome measures included the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF-A) including the Behavioral Regulation Index and the Metacognition Index.
This study included 10 females who were victims of domestic violence and living in a shelter. The average age was 45 years old and most reported either being married to or living with the abuser.
Table 1 below shows the changes in the primary and secondary measurements after 5 CES treatments.
Table 1. This table contains results from the primary and secondary study measures.
All three BSI global scales and 2 of 3 scales in the BRIEF-A found significant reductions in stress levels for the 10 sheltered residents. The 9 clinical measures of the BSI did not achieve statistical significance; however, the trend lines indicated positive changes in all nine of the clinical variables suggesting movement toward more normalized functioning in each category. Specifically, there were reductions seen in somatization, obsessive-compulsive thinking, reduced levels of depression, anxiety, hostility and improved ability to relate interpersonally. There are also reductions in phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation and psychoticism.
The study shows that CES may contribute to reductions in psychological stress experienced by victims of domestic abuse. The results from the BRIEF-A suggest improvements in global functioning within the cortical and subcortical areas of the brain that may improve victims’ abilities to think more clearly and make better decisions.