Jacobs Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science

First Responder Research Shows that Electrical Brain Stimulation Helps Control Anxiety, Insomnia, and Depression

Published on: 2019-07-07


This study was designed to investigate the effectiveness of Alpha-Stim® cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) in a group of 86 first responders for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, depression, and pain. The study included a nonrandomized pretest-posttest design with participants choosing to participate or not (i.e., self-selecting into participation). The independent (treatment) variable in this study was exposure to active cranial electrotherapy stimulation. Participants were instructed to use the Alpha-Stim at a comfortable current intensity level adjustable from 100-600 microamperes for 20-60 min daily. The frequency of the waveform was set by the manufacturer to be constant at 0.5 Hz. At pretest (baseline) and posttest, data on outcome measures included perceived level of discomfort specific to the following indications (a) anxiety, (b) insomnia, (c) depression, and (d) pain. The instrument used by participants for reporting their perceived level of anxiety, insomnia, depression, and pain was a downloadable smartphone app. This app used an 11-point scale expressed as values of 0-10. A value of zero (0) signified an absence of the condition and a value of ten (10) signified a very high level of discomfort of the condition as perceived by participants. The statistical analyses of the results revealed highly significant (p values<.001) for anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain. The effect size Cohen’s d values were large for all outcome measures indicating a high level of practical change from baseline to posttest, which supports the capability of Alpha-Stim CES technology in reducing anxiety, insomnia, depression and pain symptoms and the ability to monitor progress on the Alpha-Stim app.


Cranial electrotherapy stimulation; Alpha-Stim®; Anxiety; Depression; Insomnia; Pain; First responders