A Retrospective Review of Patient Perception of Alpha Stimulation Treatment

Rickabaugh, K., Johnson, T., Martin, S., Jones, C., & Onifer, D. A retrospective review of patient perception of Alpha-Stimulation treatment. Poster presented at The Military Health System Symposium in Kissimmee, Florida. 2016; August 15-18.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is among the most common injuries seen in US military personnel. The sequelae of mTBI range from cognitive disorders such as memory loss, affective disorders including depression and anxiety, and physical complaints of sleep disorders, headaches, chronic pain, and tinnitus. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is an accepted mental health treatment and can be used to provide self-treatment at home.

The purpose of the study was to determine if CES effectively reduces self-reported symptoms in a military population of individuals under treatment for mild traumatic brain injury.

In this retrospective study of self-reported data, 49 participants who received between 5 and 10 Alpha-Stim CES treatments rated their symptoms of anxiety, depression, headache, tinnitus, and pain (other than headache) pre- and post-treatment on a scale of 0-10 (0 being no symptoms and 10 feeling they need to be hospitalized). Participants were also asked to track sleep duration and hours of symptom relief after each treatment session.

Significant improvement was found in hours slept, hours of symptom relief, and decrease in depression after each treatment. Although none of the other individual symptoms (headache, pain, tinnitus, and anxiety) were significantly altered, as a composite group, they were.


The authors concluded that Alpha-Stim CES therapy is a beneficial adjunct that can be used as a complementary therapy as part of the treatment of mTBI symptoms, including insomnia, depression, and the cluster of headache, pain, tinnitus, and anxiety. CES should be included in the integrative medicine treatment of mTBI along with standard pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy as a complementary therapy for short term relief of symptoms.