Posted on March 6, 2016
Study Shows Role For Alpha-Stim Technology In Treating PTSD
I graduated from the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program in 2013 and can testify that this is a proven technique. It’s a little weird at first, but within moments, you are calm and relaxed. This is a press release from the company that makes them and I wanted to share. In fact, I should probably be using it a bit more frequently these days.
Electromedical Products International, Inc. (EPI), a manufacturer and developer of devices that utilize electric waveforms for therapeutic purposes, announces the publication of a report, “Effects of Integrative PTSD Treatment in a Military Health Setting”, which outlines the effectiveness of the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program (Reset) in reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among active-duty military personnel.
The Reset Program, an innovative intensive outpatient behavioral health program conducted using cranial electrical stimulation (CES) with EPI’s Alpha-Stim® technology, trauma-focused behavioral health techniques and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), demonstrated significant reductions in PTSD symptoms, as well as anxiety, depression and pain, in a cohort of 764 active service members treated at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Texas. Using a verified PTSD scoring system, the Reset Program yielded an average 10-point improvement in PTSD scores from pre- to post-treatment over the 5 years of the program, with improvement as high as 14 points in the last years.
“This report shows the value of including complementary and alternative treatment approaches, including CES, in a vulnerable and at-risk population of patients. The Reset Program used CES to address the neuropsychological precursor of PTSD symptom clusters as well as the resulting symptoms of PTSD-induced stresses, providing further demonstration of the broad applications for electromedicine,” said Jerry Wesch, PhD, former Director of the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program, Fort Hood, Texas, and one of the authors of the report. “Soldiers with PTSD are complex. Most have Chronic Pain Syndrome, at least 80% have headaches and about 40% have concussion histories. CES is significantly useful in all three, plus depression and anxiety. CES (Alpha Stim) should be standard first-line care in this population.”
The program evaluation report, which was published in the November issue of Energy Psychology, highlights that as many as 28% of American soldiers develop PTSD as a result of combat stress. Traditional approaches to managing PTSD have focused on cognitive-behavior and exposure theory. However, researchers have begun to focus on more holistic intervention programs that also incorporate CAM and mind-body treatments. In the Reset Program, CES with EPI’s Alpha-Stim® technology was used to both attenuate hyperarousal—a state of psychological tension known to potentiate PTSD symptom clusters—and to reduce intrusive symptoms, such as sleep disturbance, pain, headaches, avoidance and residual post-concussion symptoms.
The Reset Program combined conventional allopathic and alternative/complementary techniques in a stepwise intervention among a large group of group of soldiers diagnosed with moderate to severe combat PTSD:
- Phase 1 involved strategies intended to reduce hyperarousal through use of CAM, CES and active self-regulation strategies, including breathing exercises, muscle relaxation and mindfulness.
- In Phase 2 patients continued with CES while adding neurofeedback training, acupuncture, massage, yoga, tai chi and Reiki practice to reduce symptoms such as sleep disturbances, pain and headaches. In addition, trauma memories were directly targeted for interventions via 1:1 therapies and group procedures.
- In the third and final Phase, patients received help in identifying triggers of traumatic stress and were trained to help them manage such instances. Trauma-focused group and individual psychotherapy continued through all Phases.
The researchers demonstrated year-over-year improvements in symptom scores with high patient satisfaction and extremely low dropout rates. Using various verified scoring algorithms, the researchers noted statistically and clinically significant improvements in measurements of PTSD symptoms (up to -14 pre- to post-treatment), depression (mean difference -9.0 pre- to post-treatment), anxiety (mean difference -6.3 pre- to post-treatment, pain (mean difference -2.4 pre- to post-treatment) and resilience (mean difference +6.8 pre- to post-treatment).
According to the report, “The Reset Program appears to have been very successful in meeting its stated goals and objectives.” The researchers noted it was difficult to identify the contributions of the individual techniques to the improvements noted, but concluded the outcomes were likely due to the holistic synergy of the program. The authors recommended ongoing studies to understand each element of the treatment protocol and its influence on addressing PTSD and its symptoms.
“The results of the Reset Program were both statistically and clinically significant, but we think the patient population provides an additional level of impact of these data,” said Tracey B. Kirsch, President, Electromedical Products International, Inc. “The care of our veterans should constitute a high priority for our healthcare system, and we are most proud of EPI’s ability to contribute to this important research.”
Alpha-Stim is a clinically proven intervention that uses a proprietary electrical waveform pattern to modulate cell signaling in the central nervous system (CNS). Studies show that electrochemical signaling in the CNS has a significant impact on pain, anxiety, depression and insomnia, among other disorders. The Alpha-Stim has been validated in over 95 independent, controlled research studies since it was first introduced in 1981, and has proven to be a safe, efficacious and cost-effective intervention for a variety of disorders originating in the CNS.