The Alpha-Stim device treats the physical pain associated with trauma.
By Dr. Jeffrey Marksberry
A smartphone size device could be an instrument for providing relief from anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
The Alpha-Stim instrument renders Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation, a noninvasive prescriptive medical treatment. Typically employing electrodes 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. A survey of veterans to examine the effectiveness of CES to treat anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, insomnia, depression, pain, and headaches, 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 a 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 at Fort Hood in Texas has been using Alpha-Stim CES since 2008. Presidential Medal of Honor awardee Dakota Meyer endorsed Alpha-Stim after using it for his battle with anxiety. “It changed my life,” Meyer said. “It changed my life so much I said ‘I have to get this to other people like me.'”
The reset program at Fort Hood is an integrative program that uses a process where it treats individual and group therapy sessions, employing acupuncture, massage, yoga, Alpha-Stim, and other methods to heal 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 use 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). Alpha-Stim is the newest addition to the list.
Dr. Jeffrey Marksberry is the vice president, science and education for Electromedical Products International Inc. His company manufactures the Alpha-Stim.