Electrical Stimulation, Endorphins, and the Practice of Clinical Psychology

Abstract

Recent studies have demonstrated an alternative to drug treatment for patients presenting with anxiety disorders. This new technique involves electrical stimulation of the peripheral nervous system to induce chemical changes in the brain that can support and promote healing. This method was developed in part from studies of ancient Chinese acupuncture, but it is noninvasive and does not require needles, and it does not depend on prescientific rituals or metaphysical theories. Endorphins, natural neuropeptides active in basal brain structures, act upon anxiolytic μ receptors. Solid evidence from fMRI and neurochemical studies show that a simple office procedure involving electrical stimulation can stimulate the expression of endorphins in the brain. Patients have demonstrated symptom relief from this simple adjunctive treatment with a concomitant reduction in dependency on psychotropic medications.

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Ulett, G.A., Wedding, D. Electrical Stimulation, Endorphins, and the Practice of Clinical Psychology. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings 10, 129–131 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023398206223

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  • endorphins
  • anxiety
  • pain
  • acupuncture
  • electrical stimulation