Many of us have a mental model about medicine that associates feeling sick with going to the doctor and getting a medication that will make us better. Modern medicine has made some incredible discoveries in the prevention and treatment of disease – antibiotics, vaccines, organ transplants, and many others. Those discoveries occurred because scientists had a clear understanding of how those diseases developed. Psychiatry’s approach to mental health treatments, including depression, has a more troubled history.

A bottle of pills

Medications are often prescribed for depression – but they may not be the best choice.

Depression is the largest cause of disability worldwide and its burden has been increasing. At any given moment, depression affects 7% to 12% of the adult population, whereas lifetime prevalence is estimated to be between 11% and 18%. Our understanding of depression is continually growing and evolving. The current ‘biological model’ proposes that an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain results in symptoms such as loss of pleasure and interest in activities, disrupted sleep, appetite changes, and difficulty concentrating, to name a few.

The biological model of depression resulted in the development of medications that promised to ‘cure’ depression by restoring neurochemical balance in the brain. Those ‘magic pills’ have been around in varying forms for over 60 years, they but have failed to deliver on their promise.

The National Institute for Mental Health (NIH) reports that 35% of Americans do not receive treatment for depression, a finding that is consistent with the World Health Organization’s report (WHO 2012) that nearly 50% of people in similar high-income countries who suffer from mental disorders do not get treated. The reasons for not seeking treatment are multiple, but thinking a treatment would not help, or concerns about possible adverse side effects of antidepressants have been suggested.

Antidepressant drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are one treatment option for depression that has been shown to offer symptom relief in clinical trials. The average clinical response rate to antidepressants is around 50% (i.e., 50% reduction in reported symptoms). The reduction in depression symptoms reported by patients on antidepressants during the clinical trial period is seldom seen in practice. Community-based research trials have shown that inappropriate prescribing and the debilitating side effects of SSRIs mean many patients must discontinue medication, resulting in efficacy rates only slightly more effective than placebo.

A person under a blanket on a couch

The symptoms of withdrawal from SSRIs can be as bad as the depression itself.

The current USA and UK guidelines underestimate the severity and the duration of side effects associated with discontinuation of SSRIs, with significant clinical implications: 56% of people experience withdrawal effects upon attempting to quit SSRIs, with 46% of people describing them as severe and often lasting for several weeks or months. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has since changed its guidelines accordingly (Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry).

The withdrawal effects include sexual problems (72%), weight gain (65%), and adverse emotional effects, such as feeling emotionally numb (65%) and addicted (43%). Other side effects include diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, and gastrointestinal and intracranial bleeding. Antidepressants are not recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers due to the possible risks of birth defects. In the elderly, these drugs increase the risk of stroke, falls, fractures, and epileptic seizures. In children and adolescents, SSRIs carry a ‘black box’ warning as they appears to cause an increased risk of suicide and aggression.

An effective drug-free treatment for depression that is much safer, far less expensive, and has been shown to have better compliance in 39 years of real-world experience is Alpha-Stim cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES). Alpha-Stim® is an FDA cleared medical device, available by prescription, that is proven to be fast, safe, and effective at treating anxiety and depression. Alpha-Stim is not a drug; there is no risk of addiction or withdrawal; and it is safe to use in conjunction with other treatment modalities.

In a recent study of Alpha-Stim CES for depression at Liberty University, 82% of the active treatment group had a decrease of more than 50% in their depression, which was 12 times the decrease of the sham-treated placebo group.

A man uses Alpha-Stim at work

Alpha-Stim is compact and discrete – you can easily use it at home or work.

Treatment is simple: clip an electrode onto each of your earlobes, sit back, and relax while the device transmits a tiny and painless current of electricity to your brain in a modality called cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES). Alpha-Stim’s patented waveform restores balance to your brainwaves, making you feel better fast. Treatment sessions take only 20 minutes, yet results are long-lasting, often immediate, and cumulative over time. In other words, the more often you use it, the less you’ll need it.

Alpha-Stim is backed by decades of experience and more than 100 clinical research studies; patients rave about their success. It’s safe for use on people of all ages, from children to the elderly. We encourage you to try Alpha-Stim for 30 days — if you aren’t impressed by how much better you feel, you can return it.

About Alpha-Stim

Alpha-Stim® is an FDA cleared, handheld medical device that has been proven time and again to effectively treat acute, post traumatic, and chronic pain, as well as anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Alpha-Stim uses cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), delivered through a patented waveform via two earclip electrodes, to treat anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Microcurrent electrical therapy (MET) delivers pain relief directly to the source of discomfort via two handheld Smart Probes.

The safety and effectiveness of Alpha-Stim is backed by over 100 independent clinical research studies. Unlike with medications, there is no risk of addiction or lasting side effects.

Alpha-Stim is available by prescription in the United States and over-the-counter in other countries. Get started today!