By Dr. Jeffrey Marksberry
The Alpha-Stim device treats physical pain associated with trauma.
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation is a noninvasive prescriptive medical treatment for anxiety, insomnia and depression. The catalyst is a smartphone size instrument called Alpha-Stim that uses electrodes typically placed on ear lobes or the scalp to send a low-level electrical current through the brain. The Department of Defense and Veterans Administration have used CES since 2005.
The manufacturers of the Alpha-Stim CES device recently conducted a survey of veterans to examine the effectiveness of CES to treat anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, insomnia, depression, pain and headaches. The survey showed more than 60 percent of veterans reported improvement, according to CES researchers. A case study at Creighton University tested CES on the PTSD symptoms in two war veterans. The patients reported significant reduction in PTSD symptoms after 28 days of treatment. There were also noticeable reductions in hyperarousal and flashbacks. The Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program located at Fort Hood in Texas has been using Alpha-Stim CES since 2008. The WCSRP is an integrative treatment that uses individual and group therapy sessions, acupuncture, massage, yoga, Alpha-Stim and other methods to treat PTSD for veterans coming home after deployment. Since PTSD is a disorder that can take many shapes with some patients suffering from anxiety, depression, anger, headaches and depression, symptoms manifest and lead to trouble with relationships and a poor quality of life. Patients are often prescribed several medications to address each symptom. Taking multiple prescriptions at the same time, however, can increase the risk of harmful side effects.
So far the most common side effects with Alpha-Stim have been skin irritation at the site of the electrode and mild headaches. Until now the safest PTSD treatments have been therapeutic exercises like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
The addition to the list would now be Alpha-Stim.
Dr. Jeffrey Marksberry is the vice president, science and education for Electromedical Products International Inc. His company manufactures the Alpha-Stim.