Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is reported to be effective treatment for anxiety, a major presenting symptom among chemically dependent patients. In this study, 40 inpatient alcohol and/or poly-drug users were given CES or sham CES in a double blind design. An additional 20 patients served as norlmla hospital routine controls. Dependent measures of anxitety were the Profile of Mood States, the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing Anxiety Scale, and the State/Trait Anxiety Index. CES-treated patients showed significantly greater improvement on all anxiety measures than did either control group. There were no differences in response between older and younger patients, or between the primary drug or alcohol users. No placebo effect was found on any of our measures. It is concluded that CES is a clinically significant addition to the treatment regimen for this patient population.